All Cut


I did a thing.

It was time for a haircut.

I’d put it off for as long as I could, but all the little tendrils around my hairline had grown out just long enough to form little wings over my ears and spring shaped curls along my collar that no amount of combing or wetting or slicking could convince to join the rest of my hair in braids, buns, pins or clips, and I was tired of feeling shaggy and overgrown.

Back in January I’d gotten long layers- a small change in look, but a big step for me. Up until then the only person whom I trusted with scissors near my hair had been myself- with mixed results. Now that I’d found someone whom I trusted at least enough to explain the reasoning behind various techniques, and who had successfully talked me out of dying my hair platinum blonde in a fit of New-Year-New-Me enthusiasm, I thought I might be ready to take another step forward towards a bolder look.

I longed to have the courage to do an undercut: buzzing down the hair along the sides and back, and leaving it long on top. I knew I wasn’t ready to commit to anything too deep or extreme- just a little hidden, subversive cutting that could easily be disguised for work and weddings.

I almost didn’t even dare to mention it to friends or family- I’d talked up the whole hair dyeing thing to a few people and then had felt foolish when it never materialized. So when I mentioned it to the hair lady, and she had suggested a consultation instead of just putting me on the calendar door an appointment, I felt certain that she was going to try to talk me out of it. And me, being just wise enough to pay attention to the opinion of professionals, would listen.

“Let me show you what we’d be taking off.” She clipped my hair up into a heap on the top of my head and scratched out the line of the proposed undercut with the point of a comb.

“Actually it’s not that much…” She said, after considering it. “A lot of this is damaged anyway, and you still have plenty of hair with the layers. Do you want to do it?”

I decided that it was easier to just go ahead and take the plunge. If I tried to make a second appointment I’d find plenty of excuses to procrastinate. And if nothing else I needed a trim. “Ok, let’s do it.” I said.

The stylist did the undercut first. I couldn’t remember the last time anybody has come near my head with a trimmer, and I braced myself against any strong feelings that might come bubbling up, but mostly I just felt… Relief. This was something that had been on my mind for a long time, and now I was getting to do it. I was surprised at how much that mattered to me. I loved my long hair, but I loved feeling like the hair was a part of me, rather than me being some kind of overly elaborate accessory to my hair. I didn’t have to be defined by how my hair happened to come out of my head, I could shape it and change it to fit the self that I felt like on the inside, and that was a new feeling for me.

With my hair down, it hardly looks any different.

As bold gestures go, my haircut was still pretty subtle: once the ends were trimmed and the layers adjusted, it didn’t look all that different from before. Slightly less length. Slightly more shape. If I wore my hair down, the undercut didn’t show at all, and that suited me fine for now- I could always go bolder later.

Sneaky little undercut…

But it felt good to make a change, even if it was a small one. So much of life has been in suspense lately that it felt good to make a decision and execute it all in one evening.

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~ by Gwydhar Gebien on May 8, 2019.

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