Day TwentyTwo: A Hairrowing Evolution

A year and a half ago I was looking in the mirror and admiring my hair. It was long, thick and shiny. I ran my hands through it and thought, wow, my hair is the prettiest thing about me. If I lost my hair one day due to disease, I would be devastated. I would be so ugly!

My hair at it's longest right after Peace Corps.

My hair at it’s longest right after Peace Corps.

Decided to get a little crazy in 2011 and get bangs.

As these thoughts swirled around in my head, I was convicted of the wrongness of my thoughts. Had my hair become an idol? In Beyond Opinion, Danielle DuRant writes, “Whenever we deem a particular relationship or goal an absolute necessity—I must have this—we are in danger idolatry. According to Martin Luther, whatever your heart clings to and relies upon, that is your God.”[1]

I had a relationship with my hair and in my mind, that relationship was a necessity. I started to ponder how I could change this reality. I came to the conclusion that I needed to cut all my hair off. The next time I got my hair cut, I asked my stylist, Lee, what he thought of me cutting off all my hair.  Lee pushed his hands through my hair and said I could rock it but he’d like to go about it in a gradual manner. Next time I came in, he said, he would cut off half my hair bringing it up to my shoulders. With his fingers he pointed to where he would cut it. As I looked in the mirror and contemplated my hair that short, my heart started to beat a little faster. My face turned beat red, I started to sweat and my breath came in quick gasps. Lee started laughing and said, “You are definitely not ready for a pixie cut yet.” Whoa, no kidding. Who knew I would have such a physical reaction to something as inconsequential as hair?

After about two months of mulling it over, I did go back. This time I took my mom for support and held her hand as my beautiful, long locks were chopped off. Ten inches were removed and my hair fell right above my shoulders.

After having 10 inches cut off

Over the next year, I went increasingly shorter. Each time I entered the salon, my heart would beat a little faster.

Progressively shorter through the summer of 2012.

When I finally got my hair cut above my ears, my friend Emily was there to document the transformation. I got home and I cried. No more ponytails or pigtails. No more braids. I didn’t know how to style it. I felt like a boy. I felt ugly, just like I’d feared.

Getting it all chopped off for the first time

Getting it all chopped off for the first time

It’s been 10 months since that day that I cried in front of the mirror, clutching at my nearly non-existent tresses. Yesterday I had my hair cut again, probably the last real cut I will have for the next 3 years. It is shorter than it’s ever been. As Lee snipped away at hair that I’d let grow for four months, I felt no trepidation. My heart stayed at a steady rhythm, in time with the clipping of the shears. And I thought, I’ve arrived where I hoped to be all the months ago. My hair does not define me. Long or short, I can still feel beautiful.

Feeling beautiful with my short hair.

Feeling beautiful with my short hair.

[1] DuRant, Danielle. “Idolatry, Denial, and Self-Deception: Hearts on Pilgrimage Through the Valleys.” Beyond Opinion. Ed. Ravi Zacharias. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2007. 279.

Categories: 30 Day Challenge, Pre-Departure | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

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