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How Cutting Off All of My Hair was the Key to Unlocking My Confidence

Cutting off all of my hair was unexpectedly the most empowering thing I ever did. I unlocked a confidence that I didn’t know existed within me. The summer after I graduated from high school, I worked at an overnight summer camp. I felt that a new chapter of my life was beginning, and I was aching to change something about how I looked to match that. When one of my friends started giving all the summer camp staff haircuts, I noticed how good she really was.

The idea came to me at that moment, and I asked her how she felt about cutting off all my hair one day. She hadn’t done any pixie cuts yet, but I had no nerves or apprehension. I suddenly knew what I wanted, and nothing could stop me.

That night my friends and I planned to gather the supplies and meet in the Arts & Crafts room since a haircut was definitely a crafts activity. Our supplies consisted of large craft scissors, a towel, my Venus razor, and shaving cream. The next thing I knew, my hair was covering the floor and my neck was being shaved. Apparently, that’s something you do with short hair. When I finally got to look in the mirror, I was in shock. This may sound vain, but I fell in love with myself at that moment.

I never realized how much maintenance hair can take. As a teenager, I would straighten my hair nearly every day. Suddenly having barely any hair, I didn’t even brush it anymore. I could run my fingers through the front of it in the morning and would be ready to go out. My shower time was cut in half, and the only product I would use in my hair was a pinch of shampoo. While I couldn’t style my hair with curling irons and updos anymore, I had fun accessorizing with hair clips and hats. 

Call me crazy, but after my friend chopped it all off, I continued to trim my hair on my own to maintain it. This time I bought hair cutting scissors from the drugstore and used an electric razor for my neck to touch it up every few weeks. I’m not a professional by any means, but I had a lot of fun cutting it and reminded myself that it’s just hair and it will grow back.

At this time in my life, I struggled to shift from being a teenager in high school to a young adult about to start university. My self-esteem was extremely low, and I would often sink into myself. Unexpectedly, a new acceptance of my physical appearance came with this pixie cut. I felt beautiful, and I was proud of myself for doing something new and spontaneous. It gave me a new sense of security, and I started to put myself out there and open myself up to new experiences. 

I initially worried having short hair would make me less desirable than I felt I already was. My style was very girly and I thought that such short hair would make me look boyish or like an old woman. Perhaps my internalized male gaze had me convinced that short hair didn’t look flattering on women. 

I couldn’t have been more wrong. When approached romantically, little by little, I stopped shying away. I knew that I stood out because of my hair, which empowered me. I also started to recognize all of my inner beauty, and it radiated from me. The way I styled my hair didn’t change the value of who I was as a person. If anything, I felt more like a woman than ever before. When I looked at myself, I saw that I was growing into a strong and fierce woman. 

After maintaining my pixie cut for one whole year, I felt ready for a change once again. I’ve been growing it out ever since—rather slowly, might I add. I’m really pleased with where my hair is now, and I will continue to carry that confidence with me no matter how long my hair is. While I’m not sure what my next hairdo will be, I know without a doubt that there will be another pixie cut in my future.

Mara is a third-year student at York University's Glendon Campus in the International Studies Program. As an avid reader herself, she is delighted to be writing with Her Campus York U to motivate and empower the community. In her spare time, Mara enjoys doing yoga and playing the piano.
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