Does having the same hairstyle for years stifle your personal growth? Or does it make your self-identity stronger? This may seem like a trivial conversation to engage in, but I guarantee you’ve given it some thought, whether you realized it or not. Isn’t the main reason for drastic hair changes to “keep it fresh”?
I, for one have been forever asking myself to change my hairstyle that I was practically born with, just a little. The typical long hair, blunt bangs every 5 year old rocks at some point is both my style and my comfort zone. But every time I ripped a celeb hair pic from a magazine I would remind myself it wasn’t their hair I was after- it was their face. And since that wasn’t a possibility, by the time I’d get to a salon I’d have given up the search for a new hairstyle and say, “Just a trim.” Perhaps my aversion to large cuts stems from my one haircut disaster (every girl’s got one). What was supposed to be lush layers a la (pre-implosion) Amanda Bynes turned into a shag no carpet should be seen dead in. As I tried desperately to put it in a ponytail, the shortest layer wouldn’t even reach the back of my head–GASP. There went my hair bravado along with any delusions I would look good in anything besides long (NOT layered) hair and straight across bangs.
Until recently, I have toyed with not my hair length, but with my bangs, occasionally asking them to be side swept or razored (which, by the way, never do. Flyaways stink). No one could ever seem to get my hair right. Even the simple “trim, but bangs like this” caused catastrophe which left me in tears. “What is so difficult??” I’d come home and yell rhetorically at my mom. Was this the world telling me I needed to switch it up?
Hair is one of those things on our bodies we expect to transform. Not as often as manicures but more frequently than wardrobe overhauls. I have long identified myself as the girl with bangs and cheered on others if they joined the fringe benefits club. Very Audrey Hepburn indeed.
Girls with bangs were considered mysterious, stylish, alluring, wistful, sophisticated in a slightly undone way. Truthfully though, I felt more undone than any of the other adjectives. I would get upset if a piece of artwork depicted a fashionable girl with long hair but no bangs. In all seriousness, my bangs were a part of me I just couldn’t let go. Honestly, a part of it was that I couldn’t figure a way to grow them out successfully and not look dumb. And, to be really honest, I thought I had a big forehead. I know I have a big head, but it was the forehead I was concerned with. Thus, I plugged along, watching my coworkers and friends cut, extend and dye their hair to style evolution perfection.
Thinking back on my personal growth, no hairstyle seemed to impact anything really too deeply. I never associated it with growth, only terror. Although my memory never serves me well, my life wasn’t stunted as a result of my inhibition to scissors. I suppose associating hair styles with growth just wasn’t the way I measured myself. Celebrities are measured that way, sure. But that’s because we, the masses, can’t speak to their personal lives. Even the most publicized relationships have some element of intimacy we don’t know about (I hope).
My last haircut was 6 months ago. I’ve since had the courage to grow out my bangs which fall to the side, complementing my flattering side part. They no longer are my defining feature, and I like to think I have many positive attributes that can be talked up more than just my hairstyle. As for the changes in my life, none of them had to do with hair. Looking back, the big shifts were marked by much more than superficial details easily seen by all. A change in mindset, determination, friendships? All hid under my bangs on my big head. Letting go of my bangs inspired me to let go of other things as well. A self-reinvention feels invigorating when all the core components that make up who I am are saved while the specifics are left where they belong–in the past. I feel more grown up, and this hairstyle that lacks bangs doesn’t leave me nervous. Instead, I feel confident with a fresh start, hair wise.
So maybe I was wrong when I said a haircut doesn’t signify change, but that’s what you get when you speak with me–I’m always changing my mind. But my new hairstyle–along with its more mature attitude–looks like it’s here to stay.
Also by Nicole: Organized Life – How to Clean Up Your Computer