We’ve all done it, or that’s everyone else said. The infamous bad haircut everyone talked of had seemed to happened to everyone except me, until now.
You spend weeks on Pinterest researching your new ‘do. Photos of Selena Gomez and Tumblr girls, who you imagine yourself somehow becoming once you get your hair done, are scattered on your boards.
The photos are all ready, you just need that last bit of motivation to get you into the salon, then it happens.
For me, it was the end of a short-lived romance in the awful stage of “talking.” We texted our farewells and then the next day I was making the appointment for my makeover.
I was confident this haircut was going to be the beginning of a “new” me. The transition wasn’t meant to be drastic. My hair was three or four inches below my shoulders and I wanted a wavy-layered bob just above my shoulders.
Waltzing into the salon, I hand my hair over to the hairdresser and hope for the best.
When Tragedy Strikes
While cutting my hair, the stylist asks why I want such a big change, I’m not sure what to say and probably muttered something along the lines of “oh, just looking for something different.”
He cuts, and cuts, and cuts.
After the blow-dry and style, I was left with a wavy, layered bob. Exactly what I wanted, right? I thought so.
The next day I’m loving my new style. It wasn’t until I washed my hair and it air-dried that I realized I didn’t get the layers I was going for. As I gazed in the mirror, this was all that I could see:
I fought back tears and quickly booked another appointment to get layers added, making the fatal error of choosing whoever could take me on a Sunday afternoon. The stylist I found didn’t have a single booking for the entire day.
In retrospect, that should’ve indicated he wasn’t the best choice.
The hairdresser heard my complaints and began cutting my hair. A lot of it. His layering “method” was something I hadn’t seen before and probably never will again because I’m convinced it’s not an actual method.
My hair dried and it was a flippy, choppy, half-straight mess. I lied, said I loved it, and went and cried (again) in my car.
The first few days with this haircut were awful. I never realized how much value I put on my appearance and especially my hair. Mirrors became my worst enemy, avoiding them because of ramped hatred towards how I looked.
My awareness of everyone else’s haircuts around me grew, and I was especially jealous of the girls with gorgeous flowing locks.
I kept re-assuring myself that this was ridiculous, I was mourning my hair. There are people out there with much greater problems than a haircut. I have much bigger problems than a haircut!
Then, it became apparent it was so much more than just my hair.
Coming to Terms
I’ve always believed in not stressing over things you can’t change. As much as I would’ve liked to, I can’t will my hair to grow. Even after buying the hair-growth shampoos and biotin supplements, I’d still have to wait.
After straightening my hair, I was able to find a style I could bear, but was still wildly self-conscious. Was I really letting how I looked control my life this way?
I never thought that I cared that much about these things, but on a subconscious level, we all do to some extent. I realized that it wasn’t my fault that I felt this much pressure to maintain what society deems a feminine image.
A bad haircut taught me much more than I bargained for, and ultimately, I’m glad it happened.
Think of the most important people in your life, those that you love and love you most. What comes to mind? Their hair, weight, or any physical attributes? I didn’t think so.
As the cliche goes, “it’s what on the inside that counts,” but it’s harder to take this to heart than it is to merely say it.
On a larger level, society tells us the root of our value as women is based upon how we look. That’s an undeniable fact. As much as we convince ourselves that we don’t subscribe to these societal beliefs, they still remain within us, even if it’s just a minuscule amount.
I was forced to confront the harsh truth that I put a significant amount of my own worth on my appearance. Justifying other actions or parts of my day with the, “well, at least I look nice.”
This haircut made me realize that I was selling myself short. Without a facade I deemed pretty enough to hide behind, I felt exposed and unaccepted. But in reality, the only person who wasn’t accepting me was myself.
We, as women, are born into a life of performance whether we like it or not. We’re taught we don’t exist for ourselves, but for how other people perceive us. Once, however, we give up on performing in this show, we set ourselves free.
For me, it was this horrible haircut. I was forced to come to terms with the fact that no one who mattered in my life cared about my hair.
My happiness only takes root in myself. I have the ability to choose what defines me, and I no longer want it to be my appearance.
Hair grows back, but the ways in which you seize the moment are fleeting and have deeper repercussions on your quality of life.
Do you want to look back and think of all the things you didn’t do because your hair was a bit messy, you didn’t have makeup on, or you felt a little pudgy?
The way you exist now is through divine intervention. Cultivate love for yourself on the inside and watch your life and reflection transform accordingly.
Our perception of this life, and the extent to which we enjoy it, has nothing to do with any exterior attributes of our own, but of the contents of our mind and soul.
Through learning to love life without consideration of such silly societal expectations, you will begin loving yourself that much more, and others as well.
Also published on Medium.