So, I bit the bullet. I did the deed. I committed myself, no turning back. I cut my hair off. Yes, I cut my long hair into a short pixie haircut. I shed 10+ inches of thick brown locks that will be donated to Locks of Love. It was hot. It was heavy. It was a nuisance, and I thought my reasoning for shedding the locks was as simple as that. But in the week that followed this sudden change, I found myself surprised by the deep emotional and spiritual turmoil that would come with it. Here I was, a woman, a heterosexual woman, who had made a flippant and sudden decision to shed her hair. Prior to this, I believed I was a woman whose identity was secure apart from the style of haircut I wore. I was a woman, apart from style, fashion, and makeup. Boy… was I wrong about myself.
There is nothing more sobering than to see in yourself what you most despise; to be surprised by hidden beliefs you were certain you did not hold. The loss of my locks dawned a nasty and ugly side of my personal insecurities, and almost immediately, I began to question whether my husband would now find me attractive. Was I feminine enough? Was I still beautiful to him? Did I look too manly to turn the heads of other men and to arouse jealously amongst my peers? Would people suspect I was a lesbian? What was wrong with that? Why did that bother me when I have (or so I thought) come to peace with questions of sexuality? Would people recognize me? The questions went on and on, and I found myself in a pit of self despair, wallowing in self-pity, remorse, and sheer horror at the absurdity of some of my questions. This had seemed like such a good idea yesterday.
The week pressed on, as time usually does, and my waxing and waning affections for my newly shorn locks began to annoy me. What the hell did it matter if suddenly I looked more masculine? And why did I give a shit if other women were jealous of me? I was the same person today as yesterday and the day before that. I had not changed. Only my hair had changed. How had I gotten so wrapped up in the cultural norms of femininity and sexuality and not even realized it? It had taken a drastic haircut to expose my hidden insecurities and prejudices, along with my long adopted cultural expectations.
I was (and still am) in new territory, redefining for myself what it meant to be me… what it meant to be a woman. I am still shedding long adopted beliefs about womanhood that are simply wrong… and it’s not easy. But it is freeing. And with each day that passes, and I look in the mirror, I see something new that is beautiful. I see myself… inside my eyes. The hidden self that I long to set free… unencumbered by the weight of cultural, religious, and societal expectations, and free to be who I was created to be. I have a long journey ahead of me, and this is just one small step… but it looks to be one hell of a ride.