That Time I Decided to Chop Off all my Hair [Confessions of a Twenty-Something]

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My hair has become this “thing” about me. It’s the physical attribute that I’m most complimented on. I never really cared about my hair or what I did with it for years, but the more attention people paid to it, the more I started to pay attention to it. It’s always been very long and thick. I will admit that it’s one of my favorite physical characteristics. It gives me confidence, but somewhere along the way, it has a large become part of who I am as a person. I tend to it. I take good care of it. If I get more than a small trim, I cry. It’s not just hair anymore. It’s suddenly become part of my identity, and I don’t like it.

This realization is why I’m making the decision to cut it all off.

I want to, like, really cut my hair. Before I got a few inches off this past weekend, my hair was the longest it has ever been in my life. When I bent my head back, the ends passed my butt. I could have been mistaken for a Duggar daughter. It was time to do something about my mane. So, I went to the hair salon last week, to cut off the dead ends so that it could grow even more. You see, Confessions readers, I have a plan.

The first part of my plan is to grow out my hair as long as I possibly can by summertime. The second part of the plan is to then chop it all off (immediately followed by crying and tinges of regret). The third part of the plan is to donate all of it to an organization that uses people’s hair for wigs to give to cancer patients.

This is something that I have wanted to do for many years, but I could never actually gain the courage to go through with it because of how attached I am to my locks. Some people might not get why I am making such a big deal out of getting a stupid haircut, but I get upset when I think a trim is too short. Yup, I get emotional about my hair. I fully realize how shallow and petty this all sounds, but we all like looking nice, right? We all like loving ourselves, but trust me, I know how hard that can be sometimes. So because my hair gives me that extra self esteem boost when I’m not feeling so great, I’ve never wanted to change it.

My hair has been my “thing,” but why? Why has it become such a large part of who I am? I am not okay with this. So it’s time for a change. I don’t want my hair to define me anymore.

Why do we allow material things — outside aspects on who we are on the inside — define who we are? Why is my hair my identifier? It’s just my hair! If I cut it or dyed it or shaved it all off and went bald, would it really change who I was as a person? I didn’t like the fact that when people thought of me and who I was, there was a high chance that they thought of my physical attributes rather than who I was inside.

Why do we lose a sense of who we are when we begin to date someone new? Why are some women considered “cold and bitter” because they are work-obsessed? Why does appearance, profession, and a relationship status define who we are as people? Why is hair such a huge deal for me? It’s just hair! There is so much more to me than my damn hair. No one wants to be known as “the girl who is obsessed with her job” or “so-in-so’s girlfriend” or “the girl with the hair.” We don’t want those labels. We have names. We have personalities. We have identities.

What about our faith? Our morals? Our character? Those should be our qualifiers — our identifiers.

Sometimes we allow who we are on the inside to be overshadowed by what we do or what we look like. Instead of being identified by our passions and dreams, we’re identified by our jobs, our boyfriends, or our physical attributes. These things to take over because sometimes it’s easier and more comfortable to let others see us for what’s on the surface rather than for what’s buried deep down. It’s safer than letting someone see who we are deep down. Deep Down is a dark scary place that we don’t let many people go. It’s too real of a place for some people. So we let other things take center stage.

I’m a freelance writer. I’m a girlfriend. I’m a daughter and a sister. I’m the girl who had open-heart surgery. I’m a girl with long, thick auburn hair. But truthfully, I’m so much more than that.

I’m a friend you can call at 2 AM without any complaints. I’m the girl who cries during every episode of Long Island Medium. I’m the girl that gave up coffee for Lent and, though would never break it, thinks about breaking it every single day. I love deeply. I’m loyal like a Labrador. I’m stubborn and moody and indecisive. I want to travel the world. I want to be a mom. I want to touch someone’s life. I want to make a difference.

We’re all unique people. We all feel deeply and have personalities that make us who we are. We all have ambitions and hopes and families that have helped shaped us into who we are today. In our twenties, we’re constantly trying new things, dating new people, reading books, taking classes and changing careers because we’re trying to see what fits. We’re trying to figure out who we are.

To be perfectly honest, I’m not sure that I know who I am yet, but I do know that I am more than my hair, which is why it’s got to go. So maybe it’s time for you to proverbially cut your hair. It’s time to come out from under the outer facade of who we want people to think we are and shine for what we are on the inside. Once we learn to accept our true identity, others will follow too. And it’s okay if you’re nowhere near that yet! These things take time! Your journey and process you go through to find out who you are is actually part of what ultimately makes you who you are. So let go of the surfaces that shadow the real you, and shine on you crazy diamonds.

Katie recently finished her undergrad at North Central College in Naperville, Illinois. She enjoys wasting hours on Facebook and tweeting things no one cares about. When asked the question, “Do you do marathons?” She promptly responds, “Of course! Which show?” Follow her @KatieGarrity! Or read her personal blog where she talks incessantly about Ryan Gosling and hummus here!

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