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Seer of ghosts & weaver of stories

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Adventures in Cutting My Hair

As you all know, I've either a) desperately wanted or b) had short hair for a very long time now. The first time a significant amount of it came off, I was 3 years old and decided I wanted it chin-length because it was incredibly annoying, so I sat myself down on the front steps and started to cut it with a pair of Crayola safety scissors (I was caught less than a third of the way into the job, alas, but I was rather pleased that this necessitated my mother taking me to a salon to have the rest of it chopped to the same length). The second time, I must've been in second grade: I let some gum fall in my hair on purpose while I was lying on the floor watching TV so that, again, you guessed it, it would have to be cut up to about chin-length. At the time, it was permed, so that was all right; it mostly did its own unruly thing, and I liked that. If only I'd been born with curly hair.

In those early years, I don't think I was quite brave enough to ask if all of it could go; I was afraid I'd be told no, and maybe I was even afraid that I'd be mocked at school. Still, finally, when I was in fourth grade, something finally clicked, and I was assertive enough to insist that I wanted it taken up much shorter than my chin. I seem to recall it was just above my ears, a cute sort of bowl-ish cut, and I daresay it made me look even more like a boy than I already did (I developed, shall we say, much later than all of my female friends did on all fronts, significantly so). I was very pleased with this arrangement; what I learned then was this: the shorter my hair got, the more I felt like myself.

I didn't get around to my first dramatic pixie-cut until I was in tenth grade; my maternal grandfather had just passed away, and I turned up to the funeral looking pale, stern, and androgynous in a long dark-green dress. For the next few years, it waffled between shoulder-length and chin-length until, finally, in my sophomore year of college, I went for a rather drastic and feathery pixie cut that changed my definition of short forever, and, since then, it's been many other shades of even shorter. I had a bewildered stylist take clippers to it for the first time in October of 2006, and I'd end up having it shorn back to about a 3 or a 4 setting every few months as and when needed. Or whenever I felt like it.

January 1, 2012: time for something drastic. We clippered and then Bicced it at midnight:

I have to tell you, this stage is awesome. But it feels so weird to the touch!

By January 7, it looked like this (my hair grows pretty fast):

I'm in love with how it looks at this stage, no lie. I was very comfortable.

And now, we've got this, with which I'm not too terribly pleased:

In my book, this is already too long. It now results in annoying bed-head.

Still, this project has turned into something even more bizarre: not cutting my hair for a year. The terms allow for minor shape-ups and modifications if it looks hideous, but nothing to drastically detract from the length. I'm game if only because I know that may hair grows freakishly fast, and it would amuse me to know how much I can grow in a year. In the meantime, I have the feeling I'm going to spend a lot of time feeling less like myself.

ETA: The stress of this UK trip so far has prompted me to buzz it back to as it appears in the second photo. I couldn't deal with having hair that I felt looked funny while I'm packing up and saying (temporary) goodbyes to people. I'd rather have my confidence as armor.

I loved the shaved look!

Just when I thought there was nothing easier than how short I'd been keeping my hair for ages, there's THIS. The growing-it-out-for-shits-and-giggles experiment is going to be rather annoying. Part of me wonders if I'll even be able to stick with it :-P

Interesting project. It'll be cool to see how long it gets in that time. My hair is pretty slow growing and it's so curly that I often don't realize how long it really is. I generally get it cut twice a year, once it reaches critical mess and I find myself just pulling it up all the time. This really makes me consider the importance people place on their hair and how it's tied to one's sense of self...

The only way I've ever liked my appearance with longer hair was when I had it permed at the same time and it was just...fly-away wild, I loved the look. Most people with curly hair say it's a pain in the arse, but I thought it was amazing that I could let it do whatever it wanted, and I still loved the way it looked! That's why I say I could've really got on with being born curly-haired.

Wow, you have a good head for that! *boggles* I could never do it, though: my hair is almost four feet long and hasn't been cut in ten years.

I have a friend who's doing a similar thing, though. She shaved her head before starting grad school and isn't going to cut it until she finishes.

Two major trials at once: she must be a strong one indeed.

I think you rock the shaved head look so well! ♥ I also think, though, that your experiment sounds interesting! I'm curious to see how long your hair will grow in that span of time. I'll definitely stay tuned. :D

I'm just hoping I can keep it manageable in the awkward interim stages.

I've said it before, but I think it looks AWESOME!
All stages, actually. I think you have the type of face that you can wear pretty much any length/style.

I think the experiment sounds interesting! (Though I will worry about you. Don't make me come to PA/MA/the UK with clippers!) Does this mean we'll get semi-engulf pictures of the progress? :)

Yes, semi-regular pictures are all part of the plan *hugs*

ajodasso Expand
You look very comfortable in your skin (and have a beautifully shaved head;)

I have hair long enough to sit on, though it was fairly short when I was younger. I didn't feel like myself until I was able to grown it out.

I hope the intermediate stages of your experiment don't drive you to distraction

Mine was never long enough to sit on; I think the longest it ever got was just past my shoulders, but that's when I was a very young girl!

I hope this doesn't come off as intrusive, but I am kind of wondering why - I mean, why grow it out long if you feel most like yourself when it's short? I can imagine lots of reasons, like just being curious if any other length *also* feels like you; I'm just curious what reason is yours.

My problem is that I look and feel best when my hair is either very short (only slightly longer than your last photo) or down past my shoulders. Once every several years I get tired of it long and do a drastic cut; that's lots of fun, but as you can imagine, growing it out when I get tired of short hair is not so much fun. Once it's long enough for gravity to make it hang down it's all right, but before than it curls into a 1950s-mom-shampoo-and-set look I hate.

I admit the experiment is driven by curiosity: when I was younger, my face was a bit fuller, and that's part of what I think made me perpetually look like I was twelve when I had longer hair :-P I've slimmed a little since then, and I wonder if I'll carry off longer hair a bit more satisfactorily (by my own standards) then I did when I was younger. I'm one of those people who gets bored easily, so I hope this will be as much of a change as anything else I've done with my hair in recent years :)

Good luck! I'm another short hair convert - I had waist-length hair for most of my childhood (because of ballet), then this hideous bob cut in high school and for the last two years I've had my boy hair and it's great. I'm not sure I could do shaved though - partly because I'd be afraid of ingrown hair and also because I'm pretty sure I'd look like I had cancer, as I'm already mistaken for being someone rather ill. I make up for it with very hairy animals though, which confuses my long-haired sister ("But if you hate dealing with your own hair, why do you like grooming the Persians so much?" is a question I am still unsure of the answer to, but plenty of other women with Persians have very short hair so it's not a rare thing...).

I took ballet for years, too, but never had my hair much past my shoulders during that time. As for cats, I prefer shorthairs, Siamese in particular :)

As others have said, this will be an intriguing experiment as much for your sense of self as for the effect of your image on others as your hair grows.

I suspect those that know you will fall into two vocal camps, either encouraging you to grow it or to cut it, with a quiet third group who really know you and won't care either way because it's your choice. Peer pressure onslaught cometh :D Strangers will just deal with it because they won't know any different. It would be fascinating to read your account of how others treat you during the year.

Btw, having met you, I am aware that the short cut suits your face and slight body but you've piqued my curiosity and I wonder how you'll look with longer hair. A monthly photo would be interesting :)

I hope The Boy hasn't cut his hair!

Honestly, if I get to the point where I absolutely can't stand it, I suspect I'll jettison the project and hit the reset button. But I'm at least committed to giving it a try, as the experiment is my idea; nobody else put the idea into my head. Of course, James is intrigued if only because he has never seen me with longer hair except in pictures! Oddly enough, he recently did have me cut his hair - it's just past his chin at the moment, which is short by his standards! But no, he'd never cut it all off; long hair is for him what short hair is for me.

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Other people rub my head when I shave it, James and our friend Sean in particular; I consider it one of the perks of doing so. I love the way it feels!

I know the feeling. I shaved my hair off entirely (to the same extent as yours) in November; I'm now doing the whole "how long can I go without cutting it?" and it's getting to the point where every morning when I wake up, it's sticking up all over the place. It's about an inch and a half long, maybe two inches by this point.

But if you are able to grow it out, it's totally worth it. I've done it before. Although it leaves you with a weird mullet thing where the back obviously grows seemingly faster and longer than the rest.

But I've gotta say, we both look awesome with shaved heads. Thank god we don't have weird-shaped domes!

I fear the mullet stage, I really do, and I'm wondering what the best approach is to managing it when it arrives!

That we do *fistbump*

*laughs* Yeah, I'm doing the year from shaved too. Just wait until you get to the point where you get out of bed and it is all standing STRAIGHT UP and you look like a hedgehog!

I remember you'd only just shaved it when I saw you back in October, so, yeah, I imagine it's got on to a thoroughly annoying place by now!

I'm not quite to hedgehog levels of bed-head yet, but I'm dreading it :-P

ajodasso Expand
You look GREAT with the shave! I've considered shaving my head before - I, too, have habitually had very short hair - but for some strange reason, I decided to grow it out a bit again instead. I'm going for an angular Anime Bob this time.

Oh, that should be cute!

firynze Expand
ajodasso Expand
You look wonderful! Very elegant look for you.

And so, so easy. I do wonder if I'll make it through the year...