I like to talk a big game through this blog about being strong and independent. But sometimes people have weak moments, especially after years of being worn down. About two months ago I made a decision to begin growing my hair out, and I’m not entirely sure that my decision was my own. Now, to a lot of you, I’m sure you’re rolling your eyes, or just generally confused. Why does it matter that she’s growing her hair out? There are other more important issues for this girl to be dealing with! I’ve had my hair as a pixie cut since I was 13 years old, I’m turning 23 in November this year. So I’ve had my hair short for a VERY long time, and during that time reactions to my hair have not always been positive. To be blunt, most of the time they’ve been downright nasty.
When I was in high school, I had the misfortune of having a really awful group of friends. I met them when I was in year 8, so about 14 years old. One of the first jokes about me was to call me ‘Potter’ after ‘Harry Potter’, as I had his hair and wore glasses. This carried on throughout my high school life, and pretty much is the reason I freaking hate ‘Harry Potter’ to this day. On top of that I would daily get snide remarks about my hair, pretty gross comments like ‘you’d never be able to get a boyfriend because all the guys will think you’re one of them. Maybe you should try to get a girlfriend instead’. Thinking back on it now, I realise that it was just high school girl bitchiness, but at the time, being a vulnerable teenager, it really screwed with my self-esteem. I would spend hours trying to work out what to wear, whatever I chose would be commented on. Jeans and a t-shirt? ‘You look like a man!’ A dress? ‘You look like a man in a dress!’.
When I got to university I was lucky enough to surround myself with people who didn’t think like that. I also had the opportunity to distance myself from my high school group. For a while, my self-doubt went away. But still I would see and hear comments. A friend said to me “my boyfriend would dump me if I had hair like yours!” and just those back-handed “I’m sure you’d look so pretty with long hair!” In a fluster I would google search ‘what do you think of girls with short hair’, and would come up with very striking results. Some comments said they didn’t care either way, but others were awful to read saying that it was gross. Reading internet strangers comments about my hairstyle certainly didn’t help. But still I persisted, when I turned 21 I even made the bold choice to bleach my hair, and had super short blonde hair for a time.
But since the beginning of the year, I’ve felt weary. When I moved to Melbourne and met some new people, a few of them started on about the same bs that my high school friends did. And it really hit me at my core. I began to think of ridiculous things – would I have more friends if I had long hair? Would I have a boyfriend if I had long hair? Would I have a better life if I had long hair? So I gave up, I stopped going to the hairdressers, bought some products and let it grow. And at times I am excited about how my hair will look in a few months. I’m excited to bleach it again when it’s longer, and be able to dress up as more characters. But I also feel like I’m betraying myself, my short hair has been such a massive part of my identity. Almost like a badge of honour saying ‘that’s right! I’m going against the norm’ – what do I have if I don’t have that?
About a week ago I saw one of my Melbourne friends. I had only known her for one semester but every time we met up she told me I would look better with long hair, and I looked like a boy. She gave me a hug and looked at my hair.
“Wow! What’s happened to your hair?” She exclaimed.
“I’m growing it out” I replied, almost pathetically desperate for her approval.
“Why are you doing that? You shouldn’t do that! Your hair is your thing, and it looks so good!”
Just goes to show you can’t make anyone else happy, so at least I gotta try to make myself happy. Now the choices before me are to cut it or let it grow. Putting aside everything that has happened with my hair in the last 10 years, and my disappointment for almost caving into peer pressure, I think I will explore where my hair journey will take me. If I don’t like it, it’s easy to cut it all off again 🙂
But one thing I have learnt is that it’s damn hard finding pictures of anime girls with short hair >_> !