my life · self love

So What if my Hair DOES Define Me?

So, three days before my fifteenth birthday, I shaved my head. I remember the event because I was sitting in my living room, my mum hadn’t yet come home from work and my hairdresser, Becky, was terrified.

I, on the other hand, was buzzing with excitement. I had spent a good six months or so telling everyone I knew to get a ‘buzz cut’ whenever they said that they needed a hair cut. The answer came out as a reflex, and sometimes still does. But they’d always laughed and said no, and then say “Why don’t you get a buzz cut?” 

So I did. And, naturally, I didn’t tell anyone. I never tell anyone when I change my hair, because I love seeing the reaction I get– I love witnessing the way people react to the more outlandish things that I’ve done to myself. So, there I was, egging on my hairdresser who wanted to check and check again that I was really sure that I wanted to do this.

Of course, I wanted to do this. It’s only hair. It’ll grow back.

So, in the space of twenty minutes and for about twenty-five quid, I went from left to right.

Now, this was a time when there was no Imperator Furiosa, no Eleven, and no Negasonic Teenage Warhead. This was a time when– in between calling me ‘bog brush’–  my dad said that I was a ‘feminist ninja’ and my sister with her long dyed hair was a ‘Disney princess’. I’ve never quite confessed this out loud, but my feelings were hurt.

Even then, I was a passionate advocate for equal rights, and this wasn’t a bad thing, even though most people still threw around the term ‘feminazi’. But couldn’t I be a feminist and a princess at the same time?

I realize, now, that obviously, I can be both. But, if necessary, I can now also be Imperator Furiosa– who if you don’t know, is probably the second love of my life.

But, in the approximately eight months and three years, I’ve changed my hair a lot. 

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I don’t know why I change my hair so often. I’m just impatient. Perhaps it’s because I’m still looking to figure out who I am, and changing my hair helps me do that. Maybe I shouldn’t over think it and just be more grateful because I have very understanding parents, who allow me to experiment with my body and hair because they recognise that it is just that– mine.

Maybe I just love torturing myself with bleach and hair dye and clippers.

Speaking of clippers, my hair transformation then brings me to last night.

(Sorry Freddie)

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I got the urge, again. On Friday night I asked my friend Cat if she’d shave my whole head, as though I were fifteen all over again. It was motivated somewhere between boredom and knowing that if I were to cut my hair, I could make it all healthy again. I’ve been around girls with long hair for long enough that I know there’s no point clinging on to split ends so you can maintain a  ‘mermaid’ status.

On Saturday morning, however, I got very nervous. Cat came around anyway, and we ate pizza and we drank some vodka and we decided ‘what the hell’ and we just shaved the half of my head, as pictured above. When we were finished, Cat turned around and said to me “You look like you could fuck someone up. I love it.” 

But that got me thinking. Because I’ve been threatening to shave my head again since about September, and I’ve always been met with the same response (and, coincidentally, always from boys);

“No, don’t do that, I don’t think it’ll look nice.” 

And perhaps it’s not kind of me to say this but, quite honestly, I don’t care what you think. There, I said it. Out loud. I do not cut my hair and look the way I do for other people. I never have, and I don’t intend to start. Even as a friend last night tried to say  “oh, it’s just because I think you look nice now, with this hair”, which is fair enough. Even though the hair is pretty dead, I do look nice. But I also think that I would look good with no hair. Which really, is all that matters.

Which is not to say that you should only ever act in your own interest. I do value what other people think of me, and I have listened to professional opinions and I do take what other people say into consideration. After all, I would never have even thought about going near clippers if I hadn’t  text my mum first. Even though I knew she wasn’t keen on the idea of her youngest daughter going bald again, she didn’t explicitly tell me that until after I said to her that I wasn’t going to go through with it.

But what I suppose I ought to say is, I don’t care about your opinion, unless I ask for it– and when you’re confronted with 6-8 teenage boys telling you not to do something because then none of them would find you pretty if you did, it’s sort of hard not to go and immediately do it. Bless them, they weren’t trying to offend, but it was pretty patronizing.

So I guess the purpose of this post was to rant a little, but I’m not sorry.  What’s the point of having a blog if you don’t write about yourself?

It was also to document my tiny ‘glo-up’ because where I’ve been through such noticeable changes, it’s fun to look at.

Hair to me, it seems, is more than just what I put on my head. It’s a mindset, it’s a style. I use it to make myself into the person that I want to be. What you can’t tell, in the slideshow above, is that in the first picture of me with brown hair after the blue, I had been crying for twenty minutes because I didn’t feel like I was me. That was the only time I had ever cried over a style change because I was unhappy with it. I cried a lot when I dyed my hair silver, but that’s because 40% bleach really burns.

My hair does define who I am. It’s a conscious choice that I make, and thus it’s a part of me. I may never fully shave my head again, but if I did, I don’t care if it makes me ‘look like a lesbian’ or if you don’t think it’s ‘pretty’ or if you think it’ll make me ‘look like a man’. It’s not your hair I’m cutting. If you don’t have anything nice or constructive to say, don’t say anything at all.

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