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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.

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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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