I cut my own hair. Many people cut their own hair, even before Covid mobilized everyone’s inner hairdresser. But there’s more.
Over the past few years, I was having a particularly hard time with aging. I was approaching 50. I had been fortunate enough for most of my adult life to never be consumed by aging, even when I got pregnant at 41 and was referred to as a geriatric pregnancy. I realize now that I never had an issue with it because I looked very young. Dang that is shallow.
I had trimmed my own bangs for many years. Mostly because my hair grew like a Chia Pet growth dramatization and I either didn’t have the means to get a haircut every month or simply enjoyed having long hair. I have good hair. It is a physical feature that I have been grateful for. I do not mention the Kardashians in any other context but to say that I had “Kardashian hair.” I need to find a non-reality family with good hair to use as an example.
My hair meant more to me than it should have. I went to the same hairdresser for 15 years. For half of that time, I would either drive six hours in my Mini Cooper – from San Francisco to Long Beach – to get my hair cut, or I would fly. Of course my family was in Southern California but sometimes the hair was reason number one, and they knew it. Sure, my hairdresser gave me a few bad cuts over the years, but I was too vain and afraid to try someone new. (Ok, so I tried at least one or two new people over the years, but I always returned to Michelle.) Did I mention that she and I didn’t even really have chemistry? It may have been my longest co-dependent relationship ever.
So we moved to NY eight years ago with an eight month old and a hijacker in my womb, and yes, I even made a few trips after that to California to see my family AND get my hair cut with Michelle. I can’t even blame the shortbread cookies bathed in white chocolate with the salon logo on them as these were introduced towards the end of my relationship with her. Oh man. They were good.
I have spent these past 8 years getting bad haircut after bad haircut, and in recent years, the bad haircuts have been paired with depression and an existential crisis. I realize now that the problem wasn’t the haircuts, it was the head. No matter how close the stylist got to my old look or the look I was going for, I was no longer the old me. That being said, I did finally find someone that cut my hair well, and just like reality tv, she decided to leave her profession as a hairdresser to become a full-time medium. You can’t make this stuff up.
I tried the gal that she recommended at her old salon. Nope. She would not be “the one” and come to think of it, my hairdresser should have known that.
A decent amount of time passed, and I was becoming more impatient with the hair issue and became obsessed with the idea of lopping about 6” off my hair. A bob. What? A bob? One doesn’t usually equate a bob with a midlife crisis.
But folks, when I imagined myself with this nearly blunt bob that sat right above my shoulder blades, I felt like a superhero. Full disclosure, about 5 years ago, before the aging time bomb had been activated, I had dabbled in a blunt bob, and I felt fabulous, sexy and strong. But alas, I had convinced myself that young = long hair and that if you have nice hair, you have an obligation to the universe (and Mattel) to keep it long.
So back to my daily fantasy of lopping my hair off. I hate it when people say, “a little voice inside me whispered,” so I won’t say that. A large voice inside me shouted, “Cut your fucking hair off and ye shall be free!” Meanwhile, other people have been doing this for years, and we called them “eccentric.”
This chopping hair seed continued to germinate. I flipped through all of the hairdressers in the Westchester area that I had sampled over the past eight years that could be up to the task, including the one who did it “that one time.” They would most likely charge me upwards of $100. Guys, when did haircuts cost more than therapy? When I say “upwards of $100,” I mean like $200! (I know, a haircut can sometimes create a similar effect to therapy, but?)
So one night, not at band camp, I became obsessed and began watching YouTube tutorials on giving oneself a bob. I watched them over and over and took mental notes. I even watched one woman screw her own hair up. She said “oops” and turned magenta. I wonder why she shared the video. Was it a drunk upload, or was she a genius? Seeing this lady give herself a terrible bob made me take it more seriously – it could have ended up like a Splendor in the Grass moment at midnight. (I just Googled that scene and instead found another where a teenage Natalie Wood was in the bathtub, seemingly drunk, and screaming at her mother. Intense.)
I have many ideas at night and some are fueled by alcohol. Most of these ideas don’t make it til mornin’. Some do. I am writing this, aren’t I? I knew, that night, that I was going to wake up the next day and cut my own hair. I can’t recall whether or not my kids were home, but the story sounds better when I say that I told the kids I was going to cut my own hair and they should watch a show and then… I emerged, 23 minutes later, “fabulous.”
“Ok, so she cut her own hair, for the love of God, what is the point?”
By cutting my hair, I have released myself of my attachment to my old self and sort of fully stepped into this next phase of my life. It was like stepping through the triangle hole in Land of the Lost, but instead of finding Sleestaks and giant carrots, I found me.
Nope, not done.
Since I cut my hair, I have felt more attractive than I have in the past five years, but most importantly, more confident and clear about who I am and who I want to continue to be. Of course the haircut didn’t do it, silly. I did.
Some of you (Aja) are probably disappointed and wondering if I am going to start wearing beige loafers and guiding bird-watching tours. I don’t know how to explain it, but while I don’t feel young again, I feel more alive than ever. (I do love a good bird-identifying app and don’t get me started on my love affair with native weeds.)
I wasn’t going to end this by writing “What is your bob?” but, what is? I won’t tell you that my haircut erased my intermittent depression, existential crisis and anxiety, (click here to read what I am doing about those.) but like armor or really cool Wonder Woman bangles, the “Bob” made me feel more bad-ass and less afraid of what is next.
I wish that the me now could have chatted with the me of my 20’s and 30’s. I would have advised myself to give less shits about my hair and more about my soul. Also, please notice the white hair that is going “twoing” out of the top of my head in the photo because I am welcoming my silver with open arms!
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