Life Goes On, Hair Grows Back

Like Mulan who cut her hair and ran off to fight a war in her father’s place, drastic hair changes usually accompany drastic life changes. Maybe not all of us leave home to fight the Huns, but when something in life goes wrong (or right!), we turn to our hair as a form of expression. Whether those hair transformations end up brilliant or mortifying, they’re markers of influential moments in our lives.

I’ve had a long love-hate relationship with my hair. At the lowest point in our relationship, this is how I would describe it… It’s straight, but randomly flips at the ends to look like those bobs from the 1950s. It’s incredibly frizzy in the humid DC summers, yet somehow stays flat on my head. It won’t stay in curls that have been hairsprayed until stiff and falls out of braids that were carefully woven to look their best. But I was scared of trying out a different hairstyle because I worried that I wouldn’t look good and my current hairstyle was my hair at its best.

This all changed in tenth grade. Ninth grade had been a rough year. I was insecure about my self-image and how others saw me. With a lot of help from others, I slowly started to have more confidence in who I was as a person. And with this confidence, I cut and shaved my shoulder length hair to a short pixie cut with bangs. I rocked that pixie cut and felt like a weight had gone off my shoulders (literally and figuratively).

Looking back, I’m proud of my younger self for going through with a big decision like that and not caring about others’ assumptions and opinions. Of course, I got a bit tired of the style towards the start of senior year, since there’s only so many ways to style that little hair. I got highlights at one point (on which I had mixed feelings) and decided I was done with my pixie cut.  And thus began the growing out stage.

I’m not sure how many of you have grown out a pixie cut. It’s a painful process. I’m embarrassed to say that at one point in this process, I had a mullet. It was long enough for a tiny ponytail, but not much else could be done with it.  It was an awkward time in hair growth that matched the excitement and anxiety that came with college applications and thoughts of the future.

Now that I’m in college, I’m ready for more hair changes. I’ve just started the process of getting ombre hair. I’m thinking my natural black to a grey with lavender hints. What I didn’t know going into this (which may be obvious to some) is that black hair doesn’t automatically turn into the gorgeous picture I’d shown the stylist in one sitting. Instead, my hair lightened to a light brown. I’ll have to wait six weeks to sit in the salon chair once more with foil in my hair. Like anything in life, it takes time. For now, my hair is again in an in-between stage, but I’m at peace with where I am and excited as to where I’m headed.

For those of you who have been contemplating a hair change, don’t be afraid to take that step forward! Even if it takes forever to grow after a cut or to change color or to become healthy again, it’s always there with you when you’re ready for your next Mulan moment.