More than a haircut

In a sweaty, wave of frustration that fall had not arrived, I cut nearly 7 inches off my hair. It’s never been this short. I now live in a world where sunscreen is required on the back of my neck and ponytails are nonexistent. It was liberating. A girl walks into a hair salon and leaves a miraculous, goddess-like version of herself: I know… it’s not new concept. (See Nappily Ever After) But I’ve also left the salon a horrifying troll-version of myself. Picture “auburn” orange damaged hair on an 8th grader. Or Hollister-model itty-bitty highlights randomly spewed around the head of a college freshman. Then picture tears, puddles and puddles of them. It’s enough to wonder how I ever trusted another stylist again. 


Like counselors, we retreat to stylists looking for answers, a sense of peace and an objective reassurance about our lives. We hand over our self-confidence and hope for the best. Written out in bold words, these emotions seem trite, excessive, dramatic— but there’s something about our hair that makes it so much more than just… hair. For better or worse, our locks tell something about ourselves to the world, and better yet, allow us to tell the world whatever we want.

I’m here to tell you: cutting of your hair will give you superpowers. And here’s why:

A haircut may be a symbolic fresh start or a conscious choice to move on. Whatever the reason, it gives us a chance to take baby leaps “without looking back.” As I thought about wanting to cut my hair, I wondered how often in my life I did the things that I couldn’t go back on. In some ways, perhaps too often, but in others I saw myself stagnant, with hair to my waist, talking about the day I would just “chop it all off.” Mother Nature and fall’s inability to ever be on time, brought me the friendly reminder that no plan is certain and no timing is perfect. Bam, superpower number one.


When it came to the haircut, I watched myself relinquish control with ease. I told an absolute stranger that “I trusted them” as they lifted sharp objects to my head. It’s a parody of my life to think that this decision did not keep me up at night. I didn’t replay scenarios and outcomes, preparing for the worst. I didn’t believe that somehow priming myself for the situation would give me control of it’s outcome. I just let her cut. Oh how I could do this more often, outside of a hair salon. Superpower number 2.


But perhaps my most favorite lessons in symbolism came when she asked “how short.” She suggested cutting it a little shorter than I really wanted, to give it some room to grow out. I gave the ok and watched locks plummet to the floor. That space that this stranger had offered my hair was exactly what I needed. It was a welcomed reminder that I am always a work in progress. I am growing even when my motion feels like it’s splitting off in every direction. I am more than I was yesterday and yet I am still not quite there. Superpower number 3.


Cutting off my hair wasn’t a proclamation to the world that I’d arrived. Or that I’d moved on. It was an escape from heat and a product of boredom. Oh but it was so much more.

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Mackenzie GrantComment