Time for a change: this time hair

                   Before and after

Remember how I mentioned two posts back that fall is my season of transformation?

Today I got my hair cut. And holy crap, do I feel like a new woman.

In addition to needing a cut pretty badly.

I feel like a stereotype, as a dame dedicating a blog post to talk about her hair. After all, if we took movies and magazines from our formative years at face value, then most women do nothing but worry about hair, weight and age.

But if most of us are honest – women and men – on the hair issue, I doubt there’s anyone who hasn’t stressed or felt self-conscious about something hair-related.

Curly or wavy-haired women want straight hair. Straight-haired women want some curl or texture so the hair isn’t so limp. I can’t tell you how many women I’ve met with thick hair talk about how long it takes to dry and general management struggles. And their thin-haired counterparts deal with the occasional frustration that the hair breaks and snaps so easily, so good luck if they’re aspiring to be Rapunzel.

I fall into the thin, fine category. Growing up, with the exception of the year I cut my hair off (author’s note: don’t leave kids alone with Friskers scissors), my hair was always long, falling anywhere between shoulder length or to the middle of my back. The fact that it was so thin and fine really meant all I could do wash and dry it.

Then in seventh grade I decided to sleep with my hair in braids, thinking I’d get waves in the morning. It worked for the girls in Seventeen, right?

Yeah, no. I had straight hair until I got to mid-shaft, where the hair then frizzed out like a broom. Mom finally put a stop to the braids, since it looked that bad.

All the while I was insanely jealous of the popular, pretty girls who had beautiful, bouncy ringlets. The guy I had a  major crush on proclaimed a becurled cheerleader two years ahead of us was the most beautiful girl in our school. He and I were friendly and I knew he’d never give me a second glance. Nor did I have the cojones to actually talk to him.

So my genius idea to get his attention? An at-home box perm, which my mom okay’ed and did in our kitchen.

I do not recommend doing any hair treatments like this at home. I cried that night.

I got the perm in June, and school didn’t start until late August. So I had root growth and a flat top to go with those ridiculous ringlets. My school picture was painful that year, and eventually I wound up getting my hair bobbed to get most of the perm cut out, with a vow to never change my hair like that again, especially for a boy.

Oh, yeah, the boy? Unbeknownst to me, he moved to live with his dad in Indianapolis over the summer.

I’ll fast forward high school – mostly because it’s more of me being self-conscious about my texture, as well as crying my senior year when I got my hair cut to shoulder length and my mom told me I “looked like the lead singer from Nickelback now” – and go straight to college.

My freshman year I discovered velcro rollers, and every morning after washing and drying my hair I put those rollers in for about an hour (very early rising in order to do this.) I loved the body and the big hair look, and actually got a lot of compliments over the “perfect” hair. This was also the year I was getting all over blonde highlights and started going to the tanning bed religiously. It wasn’t long before I turned into Nancy Gribble. Minus the long-term extramarital affairs, of course.

Then came my sophomore year of college, over spring break. Turns out curling and straightening and using too many heavy products on fine, thin hair can do some damage. And I found that the guy I had my first real crush on – and who led me on – ghosted me for another girl.

That was my first adult heartbreak. Generally speaking I wasn’t having a good experience with the opposite sex, and all I heard was that these guys just looovvvved long hair. Long hair, long hair, longy long long hair.

So over Spring Break, I went home, scheduled an appointment, and decided to do something radical for me, and give these guys (and general social pressure) a big “F**k you!”

I got my first bob, a shaggy cut with a thick side swept bang. And I felt so alive and freer after that.

For the rest of college and throughout my first two postgrad jobs I kept several variations of a bob. Eventually I wanted a change and in 2016 I grew my hair down to the middle of the back.

Which brings us all to today. My hair is still thin and fine. It’s getting drier with age, and I’ve had to accept the super long hair does not communicate femininity quite like I thought it would on me. If anything, I look like a leftover teenager, a woman clinging to any semblance at youth at the expense of her dignity. Which is not a look a woman nearing 30 should be sporting.

In all frankness, I’ve been battling anxious and depressive thoughts on and off over the last two years, and I don’t want anything in my life that contributes to the dead weight feeling. Initially I struggled with the thought of cutting my hair that much. But then I decided that changing some things up is necessary to get that mojo back and feel like me again.

As soon as I felt those first sections of hair in the back falling, there was an immediate emotional lift. I looked up for Adrienne (my stylist) to cut the sides and front. Watching the five or six inches come off each side gave me confirmation I made the right call with getting back to my long bob.

I’m not saying a haircut is the magical cure-all, but the freeness of having that dead length off gave me the peace I haven’t felt in a while. And I’m not going back on that not-so-hard-fought victory.

The long bob is back and here to stay!

Wishing you all well and many good hair days!

Alli

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