As some of you may know, I recently cut a lot of hair off. Like, a lot. It was part necessity, part serendipity, and part my own desire to do something that scared me. My hair is now the shortest it’s pretty much ever been, discounting my baby years. And I absolutely love it.
Like most girls, I have an emotional attachment to my hair. It’s the physical feature I get complimented on the most. It’s impossibly thick, dark, and wavy, sometimes bordering on curly. People have often told me they wish they had my hair. Despite it’s value, I have never shied away from experimenting with my hair. I’ve done highlights, it’s been purple. red, green, blue, and blonde-ish. I’ve attempted to cut my own hair a few times (to the exasperation of the hairdresser I ultimately I had to visit to repair my handiwork). I even let my best friend give me bangs when I was 14 (again, not my best idea). But the shortest it’s ever been was when I donated my hair when I was about 8 or 9, but even then it touched my shoulders.
So for the first time, I let the hairstylist cut it off. I even have a neat little “V” of hair at the nape of my neck, just like a boy. I can’t put it in a ponytail.
There’s something deliciously freeing in getting rid of what society views as one of your most desirable attributes. It’s like a giant middle finger to the face of beauty. Especially as a desi girl, where long, thick hair is a hallmark of beauty, it seems particularly taboo. And without my hair framing it, there’s a bit more focus on my face. My round nose and big cheeks and imperfect skin. My slightly uneven but wholly unremarkably brown eyes. My absolutely, without a doubt, flawless eyebrows.
Cutting my hair off reminded me that there are a lot of other things to love about myself. That “flattering” is a construct. That even after 2 decades of inhabiting this body, I can still look in the mirror and surprise myself.