Why I Cut My Hair

Credits: Photo - Anonymous, Styling - Sarah G. Schmidt, Location - Sarah G. Schmidt's home

Credits: Photo - Anonymous, Styling - Sarah G. Schmidt, Location - Sarah G. Schmidt's home

Hair can be such a thing. It can mean a million different things depending on culture, geography, life phase, sex, gender, beliefs; it can go on and on. I get it though. In simplest terms it’s another way to share who you are, how you want to be seen, and what you value. When you actually step back and take a moment to think about it all it’s really a lot to take head on (I couldn’t resist).

For me my hair and my hairstyles have evolved. When I was a small child I wanted long, flowing hair like I saw in movies, in stories, and on my older sister. I would wrap a towel around my head Mother Theresa style and go about my day like it was real. Then there’s my whole Barbie collection that – upon looking back - must have contributed to wanting long, thick, all-the-way-down-to-my-tush hair.

For me it was not to be. Young Sarah simply did not have the natural texture nor the durability. It was one of my earliest lessons in that life isn’t fair. Dramatic declarations is not my intent, no, it truly was the slow realization that just because those around me – my sister, my cousin, Barbie – all had luscious locks, it did not mean that I could have that too. I tried. Life, of course, is not fair. I

One of my first acts of adult independence in university was hacking off my hair to a choppy Joan Jett like stylized euro mullet. I was so happy. It was glorious. It was the first time I understood the difference between a hair “cut” and a hair “style.” I wanted style in my life.

As life went on other moments triggered my desire to snip snip snip. Bad breakups, summertime whimsy, and anti-corporate pushback when I started my career are just a few instances where I let my hair do some of the talking for me. My boldest hair moment was getting rid of it all in support of an ill friend. I felt the only way I could genuinely share my pain was to join in part of hers. During my small act of support I never in my life received so many hair – or lack thereof – complements.

I’d like to think that I’m not quite like Britney Spears in the way that we you can seem to tell how she’s doing by the state of her hair. I feel like mine is somewhat more self-controlled. Yes, sometimes it’s an expression of hurt. Lot’s of times it’s rebellion. It can also be joy.

For the past few years I have went against my instinct to keep it short and I attempted to grow it out. Just to try it. It was an experiment or personal challenge type of thing. Big surprise I wasn’t really into it. On top of that patient I am not. As I was growing it out I was colouring and altering to ensure I had somewhat of a style along the way. I tried to make it work for me. This cuts into (I did it again) the growing process and stretches out the time it took to get longer. I couldn’t seem to let it be “plain” and lank as it naturally would if left untouched and in “growing out mode.” As it almost grazed my collarbone – my goal I was striving for – I was done. I bailed.

I didn’t reach my goal. I again, understood, that just because you think you want something, you couldn’t always have it. Life – and more specifically hair – doesn’t work that way. That’s why someone invented wigs, duh Sarah. Like a smack to the face – ah ha! - I realized that I was no longer growing it out for me. I was trying to reach an arbitrary goal just because. Piss on it.

In an effort to self examine for growth I now ask myself what was really behind cutting it?

Maybe it’s about tidying up and purging in this new year.

Maybe it’s getting back to a style I like.

Maybe it’s my way of rejecting some beauty standards like the #shorthairdontcare mantra claims to.

Maybe it’s me flipping the bird to our neighbour leader who values women only in service to his personal arousal via my “unfeminine” hair length.

Maybe it’s the forthcoming Chinese New Year that encourages getting yourself in order.

Maybe it’s all of that. Maybe it’s none of that. Maybe it’s just me.

And maybe, just maybe, I feel the most beautiful when I am prioritizing myself.