Coco Chanel once famously said, “a woman who cuts her hair is about to change her life.” While that phrase may not be completely true in all cases, it is undeniable that our identity is tied to our hair, whether we are aware of it or not. When I was fifteen, I impulsively cut my hair the shortest it had ever been – a pixie. It was difficult for me to grow my hair out afterwards because I could not endure even a month without cutting it again. For a while, I was stuck in a perpetual cycle of cutting it, loving it, regretting it, hating it, and then, impulsively, cutting it again.
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It took significant willpower, but four years later, my hair was finally long again. Four years later, I knew even better all the various qualities that I was deficient in, but the difference was that I no longer took the time to agonize over them. Four years later, I could truthfully say I was happy – a significant difference from the fifteen-year-old girl who constantly chopped off her hair as if to, unsuccessfully, erase herself over and over again. A haircut, as it turns out, is not always the guarantee of the change you need.
Hair can say a lot more than we would expect about someone. It can define not only how we are viewed by others, but also how we view ourselves. We may cut our hair after a significant change in our lives because a new haircut can feel like a reset button. A fresh start, an act of rebellion or symbol of self-empowerment. But we may also let it grow out to retain a part of ourselves that we find vital.