I cut off 18 inches of hair in September. Yes, it’s just hair. But there was a lot of it! It’s possible only certain men and women (those who’ve had really long hair and cut it all off) understand the kind of impact this has on your life. As we grow up, we become comfortable looking a certain way, acting a certain way and thinking of ourselves a certain way. And although some people may call it shallow, our appearance is the first thing the world sees in the morning, and it becomes an important part of anyone’s identity. I was a woman with long, and I mean really long, hair.
Chopping it all off was a threat I had made many times over the course of about ten years. Everybody had an opinion on what my decision should be. Men, for the most part, disfavored the idea of short hair. And that is why I was shocked one evening in September when I threatened yet again to cut off all my hair and my boyfriend enthusiastically urged me to go for it. “Celebrities change their hair all the time! Hair grows back! You’ll look great with short hair! You only live once!” Points taken.
Two days later, I was sitting in a new salon with a wonderful hairstylist. He pulled all of my hair back into a ponytail and snip! All of my hair fell to the ground. My heart was beating fast, and I could feel cold, uncomfortable sweat under my arms. He handed me my limp ponytail and it looked like a dead squirrel. What have I done?! Everyone likes my hair, it was beautiful…WHAT HAVE I DONE?! I was now someone with short, and I mean really short, hair.
There were many lessons I found in this whole experience. My friends would timidly say to me, “You know…I kind of like it….better.” When I looked in the mirror, I liked what I saw too. It just worked. Now I think to myself: “what else am I comfortable with, even happy with, that could be even better? What exactly am I missing out on??” Making such a drastic change to my appearance has made me bolder, more confident in my decisions, more curious, and much faster than my boyfriend getting ready for work in the mornings.
I’ve blogged before about the enormous benefits of a little discomfort in your professional life, and it is just as applicable in your personal life. Pushing a little beyond your comfort zone brings amazing, unexpected rewards. It keeps you limber, it keeps you curious, and it makes you grow. My hair and I clearly have lots of growing to do.