I had always believed that my hair was my best feature, and I had always taken pride in my long curly locks. Compliments from friends and strangers were just an addition to how confident I was about the long strands on my head. I didn’t really take care of it but I knew it looked good either way, and I was becoming more and more attached with every inch of it.
But let’s not forget that I am also a restless and highly impulsive woman, which explains how I ended up with one too many tattoos and piercings. I get bored pretty fast and I’m always on the lookout for the next adventure. These series of impulsive decisions and itches that I must scratch have become somewhat of a pattern in my life.
And as the story goes, I started to feel restless a few weeks ago. What can I change? What new classes can I join? Is there a language I could teach myself? And then I thought hey maybe I should cut my hair. But because I was so attached to it and because it had grown to five inches above my butt, I decided not to.
But the notion kept coming back, and I kept finding myself on Pinterest looking up short hair cuts then quickly closing the browser and thinking no, you won’t be able to pull it off! This became part of my morning routine for a good two weeks.
Then yesterday, after a coffee date with a friend who said just cut your hair! I called my hairdresser and told him to brace himself for my visit that afternoon. He was impressed and slightly shocked on how insistent I was on chopping off my hair. “Just do it. Please. Just cut it off,” I said as he held the scissor against my head. I closed my eyes and braced myself.
Snip snip snip. The hissing sounds of the scissor against my wet hair felt surprisingly liberating. Long chunks of hair fell to the white tails around me. There’s no going back, I thought. I slowly opened my eyes and minute by minute, my hair got shorter and shorter and the smile on my face grew wider and wider. I wasn’t crying or even remotely upset – a reaction that caught me off guard.
Ten minutes later, I looked like a different person. My hairdresser (may the universe bless him forever) did a wonderful job, as always. My hair was about ten inches shorter and my morale was a hundred percent higher. But I wasn’t just happy because I pulled off a new look; I was happy because I was able to let go of something that I was so attached to without fretting over it.
This was a bold move on my behalf, and I left the salon feeling elated and proud. The new reflection staring back at me symbolized change. Somehow, I felt more at ease about packing my life and moving to another continent. I felt more confident and certain that I was up for the new chapter waiting just around the corner of my life. Cutting off my long strands felt a lot like cutting off my delusions and unnecessary fears. It somehow proved to me that I am brave enough to conquer my fears.
Sure, hair is no big deal and some of you may think I am being melodramatic. But my hair was a big deal for me; my hair was a symbol of how I was so afraid to let go of what I had grown so accustomed to, a symbol of being coddled into a comfort zone that was no longer serving me.
The Buddhists believe that a man’s ego lies in their hair, which is why monks shave theirs off and keep it that way. But I think there is more to it; fear, anxieties and worries lie in our hair too. And as someone who has many fears and stresses over the small stuff, I am so glad I took the step and cut mine off. It felt cathartic, transitional and honestly, I don’t look too bad either.
So what are you most attached to? Is it the stack of untouched childhood pajamas at the back of your closet? Is it a bunch of receipts an old lover left behind? Or maybe memories of a life you miss? Now ask yourself this: what would be the worst thing to happen if you were to let these things go?
I assure you that the consequences won’t be bad at all. In fact, it might just set you free.