Culture Magazine

Goodbye Long Hair (Whether You Like It Or Not)

By Englishwifeindianlife

I went through a phase during my teenage years where I dyed my hair black, red, then pink, followed by platinum blonde. Full fringes, side fridges, highlights, lowlights, layers and even a disaster of a perm for a while. When I turned twenty, I made the decision to stop messing with my hair and let it grow, keeping it natural. I wanted to have beautiful long hair.

Goodbye Long Hair (Whether You Like It or Not)

Seven years later and my hair grew down to my waist. When I was pregnant, the huge surge of oestrogen gave it a vitality boost. Yes, it looked fabulous (especially in photographs). Just like most things in life, it didn't last. Once I gave birth, the hormones exited my body as well and a lot of my hair fell out. Not only did I lose a lot of hair, I didn't have much time to sit in front of the mirror and brush it anymore.

It's been a year since I became a mother, and I am slowly emerging from the baby fog which surrounds new mums. I became aware that while I was happily getting lost in those big brown baby eyes, I had neglected myself. My Sonshine isn't entirely dependent on me anymore, he is nursing less and wanting to play with others more. This gave me some time to notice, I have run on close to empty for a while now.

I rebooted my skin care regime, started an online course and made the effort to do a bit of exercise in the morning. I felt so much fresher, but still got so frustrated every time I had to tackle my tangles. This is when I realised my hair was dragging me down, physically and emotionally.

This is undoubtedly the happiest phase of my life so far (and I am so grateful for that!). I looked back and realised my hair was like a security blanket. Swept across my face through anxiety, uncertainty, depression and insecurity. I grew it because I wanted people to think I was beautiful.

I don't feel like that anymore.

I posted on my social media that I was considering having my hair cut and asked if anyone had regretted cutting their long hair. Several ingenious readers suggested I donate my hair to a charity who made wigs for cancer patients, as it would be hard to have regrets after giving your hair to such a great cause.

This hadn't even occurred to me, what a wonderful idea!

In India, hair is sometimes cut for religious reasons. The most notable example being the mundan ceremony during the first or third year of a baby's life. It is believed to purify the child of their past life's negativity, the hair is then offered to God. While it's common to see children with shaved heads, the majority of women in Nagpur (the small traditional city where I live) have very long hair.

I sent my 40cm plait to the Little Princess Trust, a charity who makes wigs for children going through cancer treatment. I ended up cutting off a lot more hair than I had ever imagined so I could donate a good amount.

A weight was lifted and I immediately fell in love with how fresh my hair made me feel. My drastic change of hairstyle reflects how much I have grown in the last seven years. I always knew shorter hair would suit my face shape, but I didn't have the confidence to cut it until now.

I feel more beautiful now, my new style has given me a huge confidence boost.

Goodbye Long Hair (Whether You Like It or Not)

When I posted the photo, plait in hand, and I said how great I felt. I felt like I was walking on air for several hours after. The majority of the comments I received were so supportive and kind (I am really lucky that lovely people stumbled across my page, thank you!)!

I was really shocked though, not by my sudden lack of hair but by how many men sent me angry emojis, cries of horror, told me that I have really upset them and even hurt them.

I didn't know there were men emotionally invested in my hair, which makes me even happier I gave it away!

Incase you were wondering, because a few people have asked, my husband loves my new hairstyle.

Across the centuries and the globe, long hair has been considered a symbol of beauty and femininity. The conventual idea of beauty society imposes on us isn't for everyone, and hey, I live a pretty unconventional life. I believe we shouldn't attempt to define beauty, we all have it in our own way.

Long hair is beautiful, short hair is beautiful and pixie cuts are beautiful. It all depends on how your hair makes you feel!

I cut away something which symbolised my unhappy self, I cut away that insecurity and fear. You could say I have cut away some of the negativity of my past. The hair I grew to help me feel beautiful will now go on and hopefully put a smile on the face of a Little Princess.

Cutting my hair has been an eye-opening and liberating experience (for so many reasons, no need to spend 20 minutes a day brushing it for starters)!

***

Tell me about your hairstyle history!

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