Okay, so it’s not so much as a rant as it is a ramble. And to tack a disclaimer on in the beginning, I just want to say I have nothing against long hair. I think it’s awesome. My bestest friend in the whole wide world, my sister, has had long hair for most of her life and it’s awesome. Her hair has turned me into a pro french braider. This ramble is about what’s right for me, and I don’t for a second think that what’s right for me has to be right for everyone. Cheers!
So on a basic level, I just don’t recognize my face in the same way when my hair is long. When I have hair, it’s hard for me to see my face outside the cultural context of feminine beauty. Advertising and marketing have done an obscenely effective job in telling women what we need to look like, even what we want to look like. Every time I decide to grow my hair out, I do it for all the wrong reasons. That is, I never decide to grow it out for me, but rather for other people and for the comfort of blending in socially. Yeah, I know, shallow. And seriously, me blending in? Lost cause much?
The point is, I have no internal drive to grow long hair. That should be enough to keep it short, you’d think, but I grow restless easily and get bored with my appearance pretty easily and like the idea of long hair and, call me shallow, but I like the idea of being standardly pretty. So once a year or so, I grow my hair out, and thus begins a longcycle of restless self-criticism. I look in the mirror and instead of seeing myself, I see a work in progress on the way to beauty.
My hair needs two more inches so it’ll have that swooshy curl that will make my face look soft and delicate.
It just needs to grow ou t the layers in the back so it’ll be in “medium length range” and I’ll look cute and sporty.
My hair is almost ready for french braids, and then I’ll look super cute and feminine.
My ego becomes so much more fragile as awareness of pretty ladies around me transforms into comparison.
My hair wil never be that long.
My hair is too wavy to lay that nicely.
My hair will never be that outrageously curly.
The comparisons expand, pointing out my weight, my jawline, my eyes, my cheeks, my skin until nothing is safe. Until I hate looking gin the mirror because I can’t see my own face beyond the buildup of expectations and comparisons and judgements. It builds and builds until one day, when one small random and inconsequential moment triggers my breaking point.
It’s not just about getting rid of my hair. It’s about getting rid of the cloud of expectations that nest in my hair, whispering in my ear about what I should look like, instead of just seeing myself for who I am. When my hair is short, I’m shockingly comfortable in my own skin. I’m happy with my body. I’m happy with my face. With no hair, there is a fence holding off all the expectations of what I should look like, how I should decorate myself, ways I should be pretty.
I get that I’m probably in the minority with this, and I think there are a million and one times a hundred women out there that feel powerful in their own skin with long hair, and just as many women who like the comfort and ease of short hair who are capable of growing their hair out without having an existential crisis about beauty. I’m not one of them, though, and I’m just glad I’ve found the best way to be comfortable with my appearance. Also? When I told David that this hairstyle felt the most right and what I would stick with? Yeah he just laughed at me and said he thinks that’ll be true up until the day I get bored with short hair. And he’s totally right.