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How Cutting My Hair Has Given Me The Confidence I Never Knew I Needed

Ever since I could remember, I’ve always had long hair. 

When I was younger, I was obsessed with looking like a Disney princess with long shiny hair. Yet even after I grew out of my princess obsession phase, I still kept my long hair. Flash forward to middle school and early high school, I still really liked my hair and it was always one of my favorite things about myself. I loved being able to style it however I wanted. However, in my junior year of high school, I suddenly really wanted a change. I wasn’t sure if it was because long hair wasn’t practical for me or if I just didn’t like the look of it anymore. A woman looks at her reflection in the mirror. Photo by Jessica Ticozzelli from Pexels

But, despite me wanting to change it, I didn’t end up doing anything for almost three years. On the one hand, I was super indecisive about the decision and was scared to make too drastic of a change. My long hair was something that has been so normal and common to me, and I was afraid that I would feel or look different without it. It sounds really weird to say it but having long hair was such a significant part of my identity that I couldn’t imagine myself without it. On the other hand, everyone around me, like my close friends and family, told me not to cut it. Growing up in Southeast Asia for most of my life, girls were seen to be more attractive and feminine when they had long straight hair. Being surrounded by this stereotype for such a long time really had an impact on how I viewed beauty expectations that I set for myself. 

Yet, when quarantine hit in early March, I took the extra time to re-evaluate different things in my life and how I viewed myself. Specifically, after a tumultuous year during my senior year in high school, I wanted to take the time to develop some healthy habits. So, I started exercising regularly and eating clean. Not only that, but I also tried to focus on my mental health by picking up meditation, yoga and bullet journalling. Going on this health and wellness journey made me rethink a lot of my current life choices and the idea about cutting my hair came into mind again.

I don’t know exactly what gave me the sudden confidence boost to make the decision but in the spur of the moment, I finally decided to cut my long hair short. 

mirror selfie Original photo by Anya Sastrena

At this point, my hair was extremely long and was basically touching my waist. I cut almost 10 inches of it. While this may not sound like a significant change, since I still had relatively long hair, it made a lot of changes for me and my confidence. Even though some people liked my longer hair better and were even shocked by my drastic decision, I wasn’t really bothered by it. I loved the way I looked and it felt really refreshing to not have my confidence in my physical appearance completely dependent on my hair. I felt so much more confident in myself and in my decisions since I was no longer hiding behind my long hair. At the same time, I learned that change is good and even necessary at times. It can be so easy to feel stuck and trapped in something that feels so familiar, but growth happens when there is change. 

Now, a few months after that eventful day, I am now ready to make other changes that I’ve always been wanting to do, but never had the courage to. Maybe I’ll learn a new language. Maybe I’ll challenge myself to a month-long fitness challenge. Either way, I’m really excited to see where this newfound confidence takes me in the future.