For some reason, hair tends to be an emotional thing for many people. It can be a way to show your identity or to hide it or to enhance it. It can be a symbol of accomplishment if you’ve managed to finally grow it out. It can be a sign of independence. It can be a symbol of finally letting go and moving on.
My chop story is kind of the latter.
The Decision to Cut My Hair
As some of you know (and for those who didn’t, you do now!), I’ve accepted a teaching job to teach 10th grade English. I’ve always wanted to teach, and I knew that I would get here eventually. Now, that being said, one of the first things my prospective employer(s) commented on while in the interviews was how young I looked and made a point to ask how I would maintain authority in the classroom with a bunch of kidos who would notice that I looked like them. Up until this moment, I never really thought that looking young (thank you, skin care routine!) could potentially derail the job that I wanted before I even began.
Ok, maybe that’s a little dramatic. However, I started thinking about how I wanted to present myself to the younger generations. I’ve already accepted the fact that I’m going to be the quirky teacher who will relish dressing up as the literary characters we will be reading about, and the crazy enthusiast who will not drop the topic of good books and the necessity to be well-read, even if it’s just for pleasure. Don’t even get me started on my spirit week/day costume ideas.
I had all of these ideas of my teacher self, but there was one problem. All of my visions were me with short hair. Considering that I hadn’t actually cut my hair to above my shoulder since I was 13, this would have been a shock to me if I hadn’t already envisioned it for myself. The only thing I had to do was chop it off.
I got up early one Sunday morning, grabbed my hair scissors (I hardly ever let any one else cut my hair because of past horrible experiences), sectioned my hair into two low ponytails with the hair-ties a little longer than the length that I was going for (ALWAYS cut longer for the first cut, you can always go shorter), positioned the hair choppers at my hair, and promptly froze. I was suddenly turned into a stone statue, the scissors in position mere millimeters away from my hair, and my body unable to move.
It wasn’t an apprehension about cutting my hair; I had already tackled and gotten over that when I chopped my waist length hair to my shoulder blades. I stood in the mirror, my statue self, and realized that I wasn’t prepared to cut my hair, because this was the same hair I’d had throughout all of last year’s ordeal. The last time I had cut my hair was in October, before the tumultuous storm called life decided to roll in.
So, I trimmed my split ends, got dressed for church, went to church, and found myself in the bathroom halfway through service wiping my eyes with paper towels and my mom coming to the rescue. I told her in sobbing laughter that I couldn’t bring myself to cut my hair.
She wrapped me in one of the wonderful momma hugs only moms can give and looked at me and said the words that released me:
Oh, girl! You have permission to cut your hair!
Don’t get me wrong; I wasn’t looking for permission to chop my hair off, I just needed to know that it was okay that I wanted to and that it was okay with the world if I did. I just needed reassurance.
The Big Chop
So, when I got home, I sectioned off my hair again, grabbed my scissors, and chopped off about half the length of my hair (and my husband helped fix up the back parts that I couldn’t reach). And I can honestly say that I have zero regrets about it. No qualms. No shoula-woulda-coulda’s.
I chopped off my hair into the short cut I had been dreaming of. Is this me letting go and moving on? Yes and no. I’ll never let go of my sister. Ever. She’s always going to be with me in my thoughts and heart. However, I feel that this was a necessary step to emerge from the war-shaken me that endured the storm and managed to float to shore on broken pieces of ship mast. Letting go? Never. Moving on? In a way… I’m ladybugging on.