I made the decision to decision to get a significant portion of my hair cut off. It was an impulse one, if anything. I scheduled the appointment almost immediately after the thought came into my head, and found myself in the salon nearly 12 hours later. The day that I made the appointment, I had an anxiety attack. Thinking about cutting off so much of my hair scared me in a way I didn't even understand, and suddenly, my head felt fuzzy, my vision became blurred, and I needed water. My toes curled up while I tried to make the episode pass, confused on why something as minuscule as a haircut could cause such a reaction.

Hair plays a very big role in the lives of many women. There are millions of ways that the media puts women into a mold and spits out a singular idea of beauty, and a common aspect in this criteria is long, shiny hair, which can be one of the most easily attainable traits in the ridiculous standard image of a beautiful women that we see on billboards and in commercials everywhere. Being skinny is hard, being tall is impossible, having perfect boobs is expensive, but hair grows on almost everyone's head and extensions or wigs can be bought at a reasonable price. For many, it's the only piece we have in the puzzle of a perfect woman, so we hold onto it for dear life and are willing to spend time and money to get the perfect hair. A wrong cut or color can lead to a breakdown, because our security blanket has been temporarily ripped away from us. To a man, the decision to walk into a classroom either naked with a great new haircut or fully clothed with a butchered set of locks might be a no brainer. To a woman, it might take a minute or two to determine which is the lesser of two evils.

Also used as a form of expression, a new haircut or color can be a metaphorical middle finger to the world and, at the same time, represent healing. Drastic color changes or bangs often come after a breakup, divorce, bad semester, the list can go on. If you see a woman with brand new, dramatically different hair, it's almost always safe to assume that something has happened. It's the secret way of telling people that you don't want to talk about it. It's a distraction from whatever is going on and something else to talk to people about besides the hardships you may have recently experienced.

For me, the reason to change my hair was a little mix of all of the above. I was tired of having a stupid safety blanket on and no longer wanted something to hide behind. I spent to much time on my hair. It got in the way of my attendance, my feelings, my life. Everything was about my hair, and I was so sick of it, so for the time being, it's gone. I need to face reality through a lens that isn't halfway covered with old, bleached summer hair. Things also aren't going the way I want in my life, and I can't really put my finger on why that is. I was meeting more dead ends than I carried on my head, and the frustration was driving me crazy. Dwelling on the past, feeling nostalgic for things I knew I would never get back, and spending sleepless nights trying to figure out what I was doing with my life was getting old. I needed a change, and I needed one now, and the quickest solution was saying goodbye to the long hair that I had been so fond of for years.

When I run my fingers through my hair, I am still surprised by the lack of length. Many thoughts ran through my mind in the beginning. Will boys think I'm pretty without my long hair? Does this make me less appealing to others? What will people think when they see me for the first time? And then I realized that I really shouldn't give a fuck, and stupid thoughts like this were the exact reason that I cut my hair in the first place. It's time to take ahold of my life again and find some inner self worth. The world is beautiful, and I should not be scared, but until I am once again filled with my own self love, I will keep my hair at a length that will prevent me from hiding from it.

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