Deciding to Cut My Hair Short
Last summer, I decided to cry getting a bob haircut. I had never cut my hair that short before and I thought it would be great for traveling to India and living in general.
Especially as someone with a chronic illness that produces a lot of pain and lack of energy, I thought that a lower maintenance hair style and cut would help make some daily practices easier.
I often come home tired at the end of the day and it’s hard for me to have the energy to shower on a normal day. Having to deal with washing and drying my hair makes it just that more exhausting.
By cutting my thick hair, I thought that showers would be shorter, it would be easier to dry my hair, and as a result it would be easier to work out in the evening.
Additionally, it would be easier to brush and get ready in the morning. I would never have to put it up or worry about more complicated hairstyles. I have thick, wavy, and opinionated hair. It does what it wants and I am often just along for the ride.
What Having Short Hair Was Like
At first it worked great. I worked out just a little bit more. I felt more able to wash my hair, as well as the rest of me, every day in India.
I would return back to my hostel each evening, damp from humidity and sweat–sticky, gross—in desperate need of a cool shower. I was able to take quick showers and still rinse out the heat of the day. My hair would dry before bed.
It was lovely. I felt free and unencumbered.
I didn’t love that I couldn’t put my hair up, but it was short enough that it still didn’t weigh my neck down.
I also didn’t love the way I looked. I felt that it made my round face look rounder. But it was a change. It was easier.
The feeling was so nice that I kept the haircut when I came back to the US. In fact, I got it trimmed. Yet, when I sat down in the chair and I asked for a trim, I got a few inches cut off instead.
I was not happy with the much shorter look. I found it even less flattering than the shorter cut I’d had. I could barely even tug some of the front pieces behind my ears. I was vexed. And demoralized.
I decided to grow my hair out long enough to be able to pull it back. It’s taken me this long to reach that milestone.
What I Learned From Cutting My Hair Short and Then Really Short
Although haircuts and styles might seem frivolous, in this past year I’ve learned a few things from my experiment:
First: It’s rare that there are ever truly easy or simple fixes for something as complex as chronic illness. I can work to make my life incrementally easier and better, but there are tradeoffs involved in making changes.
Second: Sometimes these tradeoffs aren’t worth it. I don’t need the little bit of energy and time saved with shorter hair as much as I need to be able to put my hair up. But even more, it’s important to my self-esteem and self-confidence to have a hair style that I find flattering.
Third: It was worth the experiment to learn how I feel with shorter hair. Maybe I would have felt better overall with shorter hair. I might have liked the way I look even more than my longer haircuts. It might have been a great change. Just because it wasn’t, doesn’t mean I shouldn’t experiment. I’ll keep experimenting in case maybe I will find better ways of doing things.
Fourth: Even though I’m growing my hair out longer, I’m not growing it out all the way. I like my hair shoulder length. And by knowing just that bit more about myself also contributes to my self-esteem and self-confidence. Knowing what I like about myself is part of liking myself and taking care of myself. Making decisions that make me feel lovelier is in some ways just as important as making decisions that make me feel stronger and healthier.
So although I don’t plan to cut my hair short again, this experiment was successful—successful as I define it.