I Cut My Hair AND I'm Still Alive

My hair is gone.

Or rather, most of my hair is gone. This is, hands down, the shortest my hair has been in my entire, post-toddler life. Actually, I think I may have been born with more hair on my head than what I have now.

Just kidding. It's not that short. I'd take a picture of it but I'm still sort of getting used to it myself and I don't know if I'm ready to share it with the world yet. I'll say unequivocally though, I love it.

The whole process of cutting my hair was so... so something. I guess I could say it was a truly spiritual experience. It was having to let go of the world and all the idle fancies and vain imaginings that the world puts on you. Putting aside all the messages that we get told every day. It was a final step in letting go of the subconscious, you are not fly unless you look like one of those dumb girls on The Hills, mentality.

It wasn't easy though. Yesterday afternoon I arrived at the salon a whole half hour early. But I didn't go in. Nope, I sat in the car wondering:

1) Am I only cutting my hair because I'm having some sort of mid-thirties crisis?
2) Is this what a panic attack feels like?
3) What if I come out looking so crazy that the only alternative is to get a weave?

Fortunately, my sister called and gave me a little talk that consisted of, "You can do it! You can get your (awesomely shaped) behind out of the car and go inside. Don't worry, Eric won't let you walk out of there looking jacked up."

She was right and so I took the plunge, went inside and said, like any normal, non-freaking out person, "My name is Liz and I have a 3:30 appointment to see Eric."

Eric used to occasionally do my hair probably 15 years ago. I say occasionally because even though he's probably hands down one of the best stylists I've come across, I never had any money 15 years ago and wasn't as vigilant about taking care of my hair. My sister also goes to him sometimes and she always walks away from his chair looking fabulous. When I decided on Monday morning (while on the rowing machine at the gym) that I was through with my two textures of hair, I couldn't think of anyone else other than Eric that I'd trust to chop it off.

The minute I saw him, I felt so reassured that it was going to be alright. One, no one with eyebrows that fabulous would ever let me walk away looking jacked up. Two, our families go way back and three, I trust him.

We re-bonded over Depeche Mode fandom and having the same favorite Madonna song, Burnin' Up.

Plus, there's the fact that Eric's not into being in any box, any category, any definition of whatever. I like people like that. I like people who aren't all, "If you cut your hair and go natural you're just trying to be rebellious." I'm just wondering, what the hell am I supposedly rebelling from? This is what freakin' grows out of my head! What the heck is rebellious about saying no to cancer causing chemicals? What the heck is rebellious about natural black hair? Why does my nappy hair have to be a damn political statement?

Anyway, I wish I had more time than I do right now to write about this, and maybe I will at some point, but it's an odd feeling to see years of your life being cut away and falling to the floor around you. I say years because my hair grows pretty slowly so when it's halfway down your back when it's straight, that's definitely quite a few years of accumulation. It just felt so incredibly freeing to let it go. It felt like letting go of the past, letting go of preconceived notions of who I have to be or what anyone else thinks I should be or look like.

This is it, and if you don't like it, well... I'll pray for you. I really will.


Anonymous said…
Ok, I'm all goose bumpy and have tears in my eyes.


What's the hubby think? Do we get to see a picture??

Oh God! Congratulations!
the joy said…
Congrats! I'm sure you look adorable. And you're right, your hair isn't a political statement. But now that you don't have any chem in it, people will think it is. My boyfriend's mom was talking to some guy who used to know me in hs and she said to him, "you must be talking about someone else. Joy never dated a white guy, she has an afro!" :/
Anonymous said…
Glad you took the plunge, Liz. How have you been lately?
Mamita Umita said…
What did I tell you?! It is a totally freeing experiance. I can't wait to see what you look like. Here's to the new version of you!
Lola Gets said…
Yeaaaa! Whooo-hoooo! I cant wait to see pics!

I hate my hair right now. Both color and cut. I have no idea where to go for a decent cut, though, so thatll have to wait.

Ian Lidster said…
I also want to see a photo, and I know I'll love it.
Meanwhile, there is an award for you. Please go to my blog and pick it up.
Unknown said…
I must admit I was up bright and early checking to see if you were ok.
So glad you like it and it went well!!! Letting go, freeing you! How awesome! I'm sure its the bomb ~ good for you!
So glad you did it.... As I said in previous comments, "It's just hair". :)

People will now comment and say how "brave" you are to "wear your hair like that". I get those comments all day long.
1969 said…
Anonymous said…
In the words of India- I am not my hair. Enjoy your new freedom.
Jameil said…
i'm glad you took the plunge & i can't wait to see it!! " I guess I could say it was a truly spiritual experience." YES!! i told you you would love it!! wheee!!
Can't wait to see photos!

I received those "you're so brave" comments too. People are crazy. How is it brave to wear what is growing out of my head?
Sundry said…
This drumroll is becoming excruciating, but I'm glad you're getting in some quality time with your new do before introducing it to the world.

I tell you, my only real hair opinion is that I think it's a shame when little girls have long hair. It's either too well groomed, meaning that they are spending too much time fussing with it or having it fussed with, or it's a mess and you know there are some tearful tangle moments ahead.

I had short or medium hair growing up. I remember one girl crying and crying in 6th grade because she got her hair cut (to her shoulders!) She said her mom didn't have to spend as much time brushing it and it made her sad. It becomes too much a part of identity. And a hindrance to being a free little playful child.

You've gotten me thinking about the politics of hair. (You so often get me thinking!) I'm growing mine out so that I can pull it back when I'm at the gym and not come out looking like a freak. It's actually easier now that it's about shoulder length.

But I remember my mom--who has never been a gossip or picker--critizing a woman at our church who was in her forties and wearing her hair this length. I'm still not sure why, but it just wasn't done.

I tell myself it's okay, but sometimes I wonder if I'm making myself look foolish instead of sporty. Well, I expect I'm destined to look foolish now and again because I am not going to take aging lying down.

Oh gosh, Liz. I hope you don't mind my rambling. It's just a tribute to what your words bring out in your readers.
Lisa Johnson said…
I used to love that song too. I was a big Madonna wannabe back in the day. Somehow that video seemed more exciting back then though....

"What the heck is rebellious about natural black hair? Why does my nappy hair have to be a damn political statement?"

I love these sentences here. You've captured the dilemma or one of the dilemmas that we as black women so often struggle with. I often wonder about this. Why MUST it be a political statement? All we are doing is not putting chemicals in our hair. Why is that wrong? Why is the hair that grows out of my head a "statement?" It's just hair!

What if Michelle Obama is the First Lady and decides that she doesn't want to relax her hair anymore? Should that be wrong? If she wants to grow out her natural hair that should be completely acceptable. Using less chemicals on our boddies is healthier and better for the environment. Okay, I'm stopping myself now. ; )
Nerd Girl said…
Beautifully written. Interesting that you had some of the same thoughts I did when I snipped off the last of my relaxer and decided to lock - I wasn't being political, wasn't making a statement, I was fully embracing myself.

I'm sure you look great, and I can't wait to see pics. Well, technically, I guess I can and will :)
Jen said…
I'm glad it was a relatively good experience. I'd love to see photos when you're ready!
Anonymous said…
Go on, give us a peek - you know you want to! Good for you taking the plunge and saying screw fashion and convention. I saw so many black women with artificially coiffed hair (or wigs) in the States, it was ridiculous.
Liz Dwyer said…
Picture posted! And my husband...He's a little freaked out. He hasn't even seen a picture yet, but he said he imagines it's like how when he cut off his dreds a few years ago and shaved his head bald. I cried when he walked through the door after that.

The Joy,
Oh yes, I'm now Miss "Fight the Power". It's ridiculous. I made sure to blast the Depeche Mode extra loud today.

This has to be the longest "vacation" I've ever been on so that's been good. Alot of food for thought as far as writing material. But I've had spotty internet access and not as much time to read blogs. I guess that's a good thing though!

I wish you could see it in person. It is such a freeing experience! Hugs to you and hoping you come to LA soon.

It is hard to find someone decent to cut your hair. Really, really hard. Good luck with it.

Posted one a bit ago. And, you can see the other ones I posted on my facebook account. I'll come over and check out my award. So sweet of you.

LOL! My parents don't have wireless so if someone else is online in the morning, I'm out of luck. Drives me crazy but it is what it is!

I got the "brave" comment a couple of times today. Yesterday I supposedly resembled Angela Davis. It's ridiculous.

LOL! I get the point! Pictures are posted!

I'm doing my best to enjoy it! It's really so different from how I've had my hair my whole life, but it's a good thing. Infinitely good! :)

It was totally spiritual. It was such a big thing for me to be detached from it and just let it go. Yay!

Yep, but in our world, it sure is considered a brave thing. I says a lot about our mentality.

I do not mind your long comments at all. You're not rambling, you're sharing! And I thought your hair was lovely when I saw you. Sometimes people say, "It's just hair!" and although that's true, to say that is also sort of a political statement.

I feel like I wrote about what will happen if Michelle Obama gets into the white house and then stops straightening her hair. I wish!

Nerd Girl,
Not too long of a wait! I posted one picture just now. It's not a super close up photo, but it's what we I'm working with every day now.

It was a wonderful experience. Definitely so. Glad I did it.

Fake hair is the defiitely
in rage in Chicagoland. Moreso than LA, that's for sure.
Tafari said…
I am happy that I just read this or I would have left feeling empty. You go still!

Anonymous said…
I am being forced by the fire academy to shave my head. I just found this out today and have been torn up about it. My hair is down to almost the small of my back. It has become such a part of my identity. I am so scared to let go of it that I have even thought of not going into the academy. I was looking online for words of encouragement when I found this site. Please, can you give me any words to help me to let go of what means so much to me? dawnsolinski@yahoo.com
I'm so glad you took the plunge!

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