I chopped off all my hair during the summer after my 21st birthday. It was June, it was hot, and having to blow-dry my ultra long mane was making me sweat right out of the shower. Without much planning I drove to a mini mall near my school and told a random hairdresser to give me a pixie cut. She chopped away, and I could feel myself getting lighter as she worked. When she was done, she spun me around to the mirror, and I will never forget the look on my face. What emerged underneath all of that thick hair was a straight afro; a blunt, untamable poof. I went home, put a bandana on my head, and left it there for three months.
After that haircut I woke up every morning praying that my afro was all a dream. I felt exposed – with no hair to hide behind, there was just me. I became more self-conscious about my body. I was downright sad about the whole situation. So after such a horrible experience, why would I even consider a pixie cut again?
The short answer is that I just felt it was time. Like many of the paths I’ve taken in life, I just had a feeling that I needed to do this. I also felt like having my long hair, and all the time and money I spent on it, was expected of me as an American woman, which I wanted nothing to do with. So the idea of trying the pixie again popped into my head, and I just couldn’t get it out. I pored over pictures on Pinterest for 6 weeks. I consulted the Cash for Cuts stylist (who I trust more than the strip mall lady). I heightened my consciousness of women with short hair, paying close attention to the nuances of different cuts. I wanted to make sure that I wouldn’t regret it this time. My hair was beautiful, don’t get me wrong, and quite a few friends who I consulted about the drastic change begged me not to do it. But when my husband finally had enough of my obsession and begged me to make an appointment, I took the leap.
So I made the appointment, and two days before my 32nd birthday, I said “goodbye” to my security blanket one more time. The process from mid-back length hair to cropped pixie took just under two hours. I confided in my hairdresser that I was worried about being self-conscious again, remembering how exposed I felt after my first botched pixie. I hoped that this time would be different – and was it ever.
As my hair fell to the floor I felt a weight being lifted, literally and figuratively. As predicted I was exposed, but not in the way I had anticipated. My blue eyes popped, my full lips took center stage. I had been drowning in all that hair, and I hadn’t realized it. At barely five feet tall, my new haircut made me feel like its namesake, like a pixie. I felt so bold, so empowered. I had been using all that hair as a shield, but it turns out I didn’t need one. I walked home that day with no regrets, no afro, and my chin held high. All my bandanas remained in a drawer, right where they belong.