Many people who know me now don’t realize that I once had absurdly long hair. From childhood to adulthood, it was always long. Theoretically, I had the right to choose my hairstyle. But, for many reasons, I truly didn’t believe it. From a young age, my mother called it my trademark. I was told that my father, who is suffering from dementia, would not recognize me if I changed it. Many thought I’d be less attractive if I cut it. And of course, there were a few people who likened my hair relationship to Samson. In truth, I never felt more beautiful and free until I chose to shave it. Below is a reaction to these experiences.
Hair I have always had long hair. As a child, my mother would brush out every knot. I’d cry and move and jerk and cry some more. “You look pretty with it like this.” “Sit still.” “The sooner you stop moving, the sooner you can go play.” But, we kept it long. It was just “normal.” People recognized me by my hair: “She was a premie, and had a full head of hair!” “She’s the one with really long hair.” “That’s all real? I wish mine would grow.” So, we kept it long. It was just “normal.” Asking to cut it made others unhappy. “No one will recognize you.” “It won’t ever grow back.” “But you love your long hair!” Thus, we kept it long. It was just “normal.” I tried to grow out my bangs. I was called mean things. “You look a mess.” “You’re just trying to look like other girls.” “Why do you want to change?” We kept it long. It was just “normal.” I was tired of my hair. It was heavy, messy, and in my way. So, I shaved one side, and the other, and the back. “It’s too short.” “It’s unfeminine.” “It’s not ‘normal.’” But I chose it. I love it. And it’s me.