I think that perhaps one of the most brave things I have ever done was cut my hair off. It’s not an award winning accomplishment, I know.
I was not as brave as people like my mother who once battled breast cancer and was forced to watch as her beautiful brown hair began to come out in chunks. I was not as brave as her when she choose to cut her hair, and eventually to lessen the loss by shaving her head. I was not that kind of brave.
It wasn’t one of the impulsive chops where I just found out I was pregnant and my raging hormones informed me that I should do something drastic to prepare for motherhood. Although, it may have been a bit of the same time-saving drive that encouraged me to cut off the mop of black that sat on top of my scalp.
I went from long hair, to shorter hair, to having parts of a shaved head. Some people I know change their hair with every season. They change the colors to boldly broadcast their current moods, they change the length to mimic their sense of adventure, their need for variety, their interests in seeing their face appear to change shape as their hair waxes and wanes like the cycles of the moon.
For many women, I think the cutting of one’s hair can represent a sense of freedom, a fresh start, a desire for something new.
I however, did not know that cutting my hair would then entail months of watching my hair grow as slowly and painfully as I waited for the first crocuses to bloom from the dirt each spring.
I did not know that nearly shaving my head was not for the tenderhearted. I did not know that I would feel dizzy in my chair as I watched the curls which oftentimes hung like dreadlocks off my body fall to the ground. I thought that shorter hair meant easier hair.
I thought wrong. Very, very wrong. And I was reminded of that every morning as I awoke to a new battle ground of Alfalfa-like spikes from the 1955 TV series Little Rascals as I fought with hairbrushes, and creams that twisted, coiled, straightened, flattened, puffed and attempted to tame the do which rested on top of my head.
Besides learning to deal with these fly-aways, I also never knew I would have so much fun with it!
I never knew that cutting my hair would make me feel so alive, so sexually liberated as if I had launched myself backwards through time landing in the 1920s as I listened to jazz music, danced to sweet calming tunes in short skirts and began to find my spirit again.
I discovered ears I had never really taken the time to look at before, and boldly displayed the scar on my neck which told stories about my early birth.
I learned patience as I decided it was time for another change, a time for my hair to return to its original roots, a time for me to continue to grow.
I began my journey as slowly and steadily with the same amount of thought I had once put into cutting every piece of my hair. I waited, and waited, and continued to wait.
I recognized that as this process continued cutting my hair off provided every experience for me to look at what I struggled with: Why change can be difficult, why patience for things that we are excited about , and the excitement of having long hair again was not going to come quicker no matter how much I wished that it would.
As my hair falls across my shoulders again, I feel comforted in its warmth and proud that it took bravery to part with my hair. I’m glad that I attempted to break out of my comfortable shell of routine and stability a bit by choosing to change my hairdo. I have also come to terms with the fact I would never do this again, but I’m happy for the experience, for the effort of trying something new, and the knowledge that I still have work to do as I await for my hair to continue to grow.
I would advise this, however. Try something new once. Cut off your hair, jump off a cliff, do something that takes patience and time. Do something that takes bravery, the kind of bravery my mother had, the kind of courage and strength we all must embody in difficult times.
Do something that is fun, and new and spontaneous! Something that saves time like the mothers’ and fathers’ who work endlessly to support their children while trying to balance support for themselves and each other. Perhaps, for you, this does not involve cutting your hair but whatever you choose, do something that makes you smile, maybe squirm, and wrap it all up within a red, colorful hair-tie of love while you sit patiently and bask in the simplest fortune that just experiencing bring us.
Author: Anna Polovin
Editor: Katarina Tavčar