But wow, despite all of the positive reactions that these girls get in their "transformations," the initial love for the new styles doesn't always last. It's pretty much been proven that when a girl radically changes her hairstyle, the way she is treated does, in fact, change. Usually, it's not for the better. This, obviously, is stupid because the individual herself does not change with a new hairstyle... beyond changes in confidence and self-esteem, which can be overwhelmingly positive!
But it's not only hair to many of us females. Hair is often a huge part of our identity. I remember when I was younger my bangs were cut way too short. I did not feel like myself. It took me a few days and a lot of heckling by my peers before I realized, wow, I'm still me, right? Duh.
The problem is that people have become so superficial. But hey, it's really fun to change up your hair. Long hair can get super boring. I've only ever experienced "long" hair as being a bit of an overgrown bob that brushed my shoulders. So, I can't imagine having flowing hair down my back. My hair also doesn't grow well that way. It would become a massive big tangle hanging over my shoulders before it ever did that!
Thus, most of my life I've kept it short, not really pixie-short, but messy short. This has often made me not as attractive to a lot of guys - who have often treated me as one of the boys and not a girl to date. But oh wow, in junior high when I started wearing it in a bob, the eyes started glancing at me. And in high school when I let it get a bit unruly and long, I started getting compliments on how great my hair looked from boys and girls alike.
This made no sense to me. I'd rather look tidy and cute than have this mass of hair hiding my beautiful cheekbones and jawline! Fortunately, I had hair long enough for braids and ponytails, so I got the "best of both worlds" when it came to that.
In college, I said screw it and cut my hair into a pixie. This is where I became confused, because all of a sudden it seemed like only girls were attracted to me. Not that I minded it. They were beautiful girls, most of whom preferred me to guys. Unfortunately, these relationships rarely lasted.
(Apparently, college for some of them was just about experimenting with your sexual orientation. There is no "experimenting" - you are what you are, and I happen to be attracted to people of both genders. This is who I am. But, moving on...)
I really tend to like guys with longer hair and girls with shorter hair. It sounds backwards but that's just what I like! Fortunately, I ended up finding people after college that were quite happy with how I was. I went back to the bob for quite a while through my post-college days but was careful that it didn't get too long. I got plenty of flirting, believe me, from girls and guys.
Then one hot summer I went to a really short pixie, while keeping my bangs fairly long. People hated it. Suddenly I was just not pretty anymore, and even my female boss treated me differently.
I hated my job as a clerk and I was never really appreciated by those that were in charge of what I was paid. I wasn't being given a proper opportunity to advance. So, my suddenly completely different treatment based on what I decided to do with my hair was the last straw. The stress of it all almost gave me a heart attack and put me into a nearly catatonic state at work. Realizing that I was no good to anyone like that, I quit.
To them, it wasn't only hair, it was my identity. And it hurt me for a long time. I started wearing wigs after I quit, wearing make-up, trying to re-acquire some sort of femininity that I'd apparently "lost." I had lots of really awful and emotionally abusive relationships where people just tried to feed off of my securities, girls and boys.
Then I met someone absolutely incredible who was like: wow, you are so smart and amazing. I started just being myself again and recently chopped up my bob because I was sick of it. The reaction? My new partner couldn't stop kissing me.
That's when I got sick...
Without getting too much into it, I came down with a very rare form of cancer. Long story short, the chemotherapy made my hair fall out and I was bald. I hated it. Absolutely hated it. But the reactions from others were not what I expected at all...
My partner, obviously, was very supportive. But people were telling me how beautiful I looked without hair. It was weird and it's still weird to me. But it gave me a much needed boost to my self-esteem. I was on my death-bed for some time... but I'm still here. My hair has never been quite the same, though.
But I'm here.
So yeah, it's not just hair if you treat it like it's a vital organ. But it is just hair. After having lost it all, I realize that more than ever. I love playing with it, don't get me wrong. Changing your hair is fun and awesome, and can be a major confidence and self-esteem boost for when you really need one. But don't ever let anyone tell you that you're not feminine anymore... and men, when you cut your hair, it doesn't change who you are at all, either.
Don't let anyone tell you what to do with your hair, ever. If they do, they're just trying to steal away your individuality. In that case, it's not only hair. It's about keeping true to who you are!
And even if it's gone, you're still you. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise!
What are your #HairGoals? Whatever they are, go for them! Be you and never be afraid to express yourself!
~ Phoenix <3