December 12, 2009

365 Project: Day 57

A woman's hair really has a lot of significance to her. You don't realize how much of your personal security lies in your hair until you decide to cut it all off. My entire life I've gotten compliments on my hair. The unusual color, the texture, the thickness. I've even had complete strangers come up and touch my hair without even asking, which is really strange to me. I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror today and it struck me how long my hair has gotten and I also noticed how pleased I was because of that.

I've almost always kept my hair long. There have been a few times in my life that I decided to cut it short. The first time I was 4 or 5. My mother had a very short haircut and I wanted my hair to look like hers. When I came home to show my dad, he told me I looked like a boy. But I don't remember that particularly bothering me. Then, when I was 12 or 13, I had my hair cut short to look like a picture I had seen in a magazine. Once I saw myself in the mirror I was devastated. Although I wear my hair straight, it is naturally curly. I hadn't taken this into account when choosing this particular look and I cried for days. My mother even took me to have my hair straightened to see if that would help. It didn't. When I started high school I had an A-line haircut. It was completely shaved in the back and underneath. My sister used to help me shave my head with the dog's clippers. It sounds terrible the way I'm describing it, but everyone seemed to really like it and I did too.

All of the times I have cut my hair in the past, were simply because I wanted a change. I think when I chopped my hair off a few years ago, it was for a different reason. I was at a point in my life where I was trying to figure a lot of things out. I was completely lost and I felt out of control. I didn't know what to do with myself. I needed to take control of something in my life. My hair had to go. I walked into the salon and told the woman I wanted it cut just above my shoulders. I left pleased. But it wasn't enough. Two weeks later I went back and had her take the rest of it off. All of my hair was about 2 inches long. Now, I was even more pleased. Looking back, I see that it wasn't about a haircut, it was about rebellion, control, disguise, change, independence, and becoming someone else.

When I was in Texas just recently my grandmother was looking at me. She told me she was glad that my hair was growing long again. Her exact words were, "You just didn't look like Sara with your hair short like that." She's not the only person to tell me this. By changing my looks so drastically, I had become unrecognizable to the people who knew me best. They knew something was off. I think subconsciously that's why I did it. I was at a point in my life where I didn't know who I was. Even I didn't recognize myself. So I changed my looks to match the way I was feeling inside. It was like I had to clear the slate and start over from the beginning.

I kept my hair short for a couple of years after that. I wasn't ready to let go of that control. Over the past year or so, I've finally started to let my hair grow back. It was over this last year that I could feel a change in myself. I was growing stronger. I was figuring out what I wanted from my life and how to accomplish those goals. A woman typically cuts her hair about every 6 weeks. Now, my hair has not been cut in 7 months. I can't bring myself to cut it. Its almost like the longer it grows, the more I change back into the person I lost. I was so pleased when I noticed my hair in the mirror because with every day that goes by, I'm slowly starting to recognize the person looking back at me.

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