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Springtime is traditionally filled with new beginnings and a chance to start fresh. There’s the growth of new leaves and shedding of old fur. Memories of the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic are barely out of the rearview mirror, and I think I speak for the majority of people when I say that I am more than ready for this spring, and the rest of the year, to go much differently.

Whenever I feel overwhelmed with the state of my life, I find some kind of change tends to help push me forward and approach things differently. Throughout 2020, I dyed my hair several times and it was a lot of fun. Coloring my hair has always been something I enjoyed and a great way to express myself. The downside is that it can be very damaging, especially because my dark hair requires bleaching in order for colors to show up. As the blue hair dye from winter break started to fade and I contemplated my next color, I stumbled upon a new idea. I should just cut my hair. Now, I don’t mean to frame this idea as something new or radical, but it felt like a big step. I’d kept my hair long for a few years now and had really grown into loving it. Did I really want to chop it short?

I consulted friends and family. The main consensus was “it’s just hair, it’ll grow back.” I felt a little silly having such an internal debate over this decision and decided to just go for it. Part of my fear stemmed from the idea that if I cut my hair, I wouldn’t like the way I looked anymore. But giving my hair, especially hair strands populated by dried out, over-bleached ends, that much power over my self-image felt wrong. I didn’t want that burden on myself. I texted my hair stylist and the appointment was set. Strangely enough, any nervousness I had about cutting my hair seemed to disappear after that and got replaced by excitement. 

I remember coming across the idea that hair can hold negative energy. I’m still not sure exactly how much I buy into that idea, but I do know hair has played a huge role in society all over the world for ages. Even with my own hair, learning how to properly care for and maintain my coarse, thick, wavy hair has been a process. I’ve been through a lot in the past year and so has my hair. I think something inside of me knew it was probably time to let go. Maybe it was my imagination but after that haircut I felt like a weight had been lifted from me. I felt freer. 

I can safely say that I am really glad I decided to do it. I still like having long hair, but life is simultaneously long enough to enjoy both styles and too short not to.

Shivani Reddy

Cincinnati '23

Medical Science major graduating from UC with the class '23
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