Three months ago, I made the kind of radical decision that doesn’t seemingly impede my health or my future, but somehow stays with me for life.
I took one too many looks at my long, flowing, wavy brown hair and decided it must go. All of it must go, like a final closeout sale of sorts.
It felt good, more like a new beginning, a fresh start before my final year of undergraduate coursework began.
My mom said she was surprised. She loved the pixie cut, yes, but wasn’t expecting it. My aunt felt just the opposite. And she told my mom this.
I hadn’t thought of it like that, had only been sick of the flat curls and wisps that never tamed in that too-hot, too-humid summer air.
Perhaps if I had lived in Arizona, a state known for its arid deserts, I would not have done it at all. I would not be writing this at all, let alone with two feet of hair hanging down my back.
But that’s not the case, and as with most big changes, there is always the question of what succeeds them. This is a change with plenty of questions, most of them yet unanswered for me.
There is a moment of dread when I stand in line at a home football game entrance gate, student ID in the hands of a ticket staff member. I watch the one, two, three takes, the tilt of the head, narrowing of the eyebrows, scrunching of the lips, and then, only when I can no longer bear it, the screech of my own irritated voice above this sea of drunken noise.
“I got a haircut,” I tell him, as if this alone might convince him everything he needs to know about me as a human being.
For instance, I have never used a fake ID. I am not even sure where to go to get one. Now, at 21, it’s irrelevant.
The same thing happened at a bar three lights down from my best friend’s house.
There is always this question of what else I’ve lost, besides my hair, in this decision.
I wonder if I’ve lost that air of innocence that seems to float along next to me, clinging to the old me like lint on the black leggings I’m wearing today. Or that playful quality that magazine personality tests are quick to associate with wavy locks.
I am not a blonde, have never been, and perhaps I’m losing two battles at once: the curly-haired girls are more spontaneous, blondes have more fun battles.
Sometimes, I want to stand in front of a group of classmates who don’t know me, the Before me, and make sure they knew I still laugh like a thirteen year old at all the wrong moments and will never be able to use the phrase “stuck up” to describe myself in the About Me section of my Facebook account.
I still walk this world like the girl with long, wavy brown hair who trips over her own bright turquoise and lime green paisley rain boots. Trust me, she has gone nowhere.