Death Locks: My Struggle With Hair

I was scouring my mind today, trying to remember the last time that I did something with my hair. I’m not talking about going to the hairdresser, which I still do rarely and usually just go for a wash and trim. I’m referring to actually spending time sculpting my brunette hair into perfection. It took me a while to remember, but I’ve certainly pinpointed the date as being my college’s Spring Fling this year when I, wonder of wonders, put my hair into a messy bun and applied a bit of hairspray. A little nostalgic, sure, but I was more than okay with that because it was my choice this time around.


I guess I should begin by saying that I have boring hair. It’s not too long, but not short by any stretch of the imagination unless you’re comparing me to Rapunzel. Its only treatment is getting washed almost every day with the same shampoo/conditioner mix that my elder brother and father use and then blow-dried unless I don’t have the time or I’m simply too tired. It curls every which way, rogue strands that my family and friends lovingly call “whispies,” defying gravity until it looks like I’ve become an anime character. It gets brushed once or twice a day in a futile attempt to tame it and, when it’s not behaving, I simply throw it into a ponytail, a small braid, or, if I’m at home, a messy, messy bun.


But it doesn’t matter because, quite honestly, I’m proud of my hair because, for the first time in forever, I can do what I want with it. I have freedom to do what I want.


You see, for almost the entirety of my life before reaching high school, I had basically the same haircut: long hair with the occasional bangs when I hadn’t even reached double digits yet. I didn’t mind, really, until I began to do ballet (a shocker, I know) and realized that I wasn’t allowed to cut my hair. It always had to be long enough to fit into the perfect bun, every stray strand pinned, clipped, gelled, or hairsprayed until it clung to my head and felt like a helmet beneath my fingers. I began to resent it and as my interest in dance deteriorated, so did my ability to simply not care about my hair. I didn’t realize what I had until I’d lost it in a sea of leotards, tights, and a billion other buns as slicked back and perfect as mine.


Then I quit ballet (for many reasons, but let’s not get into that now). It was like a weight being lifted off my shoulders because I could breathe again. The first thing I did after informing my family and friends was insist that I go to the same hairdresser I’ve been seeing since I was just a kid. She asked what I wanted. I told her to cut it, please. Not a trim, not just a smidge, but a legitimate change.


I walked out of the salon with my long brown hair hacked off to about the middle of my neck feeling more free than I had in ages, only partially due to the fact that I could have sworn that she’d cut off a few pounds worth of hair. It didn’t look gorgeous or anything, and I didn’t keep it that short for very long, but it was me being me and that was fantastic.


Since then, I’ve dabbled in hairstyles, but not majorly. My freshman year of high school, I gave my bangs a diagonal “emo” cut but I soon grew sick of that getting in my eyes and let them grow out again. The length has varied over the years, never shorter than that initial cut, but I was pleased that I had the option to cut it all off if I ever had the urge. It’s layered now, either short or long in length depending on my mood when I visit the same salon as always, and I couldn’t be more pleased with it.


I don’t spend ages on my hair every day, curling or straightening it until it would make a stylist weep with envy. I also don’t disregard it until it gets mistaken for a bird’s nest of tats and tangles. I don’t hack it all off, I don’t grow it insanely long, I don’t dye it, and I only occasionally put product in it.


And I’m more than fine with that because it’s my hair and I can do with it what I please. I don’t do anything with it because that’s my choice and, God, do I love having that freedom.


What do you think, readers? Have you ever had fun with your hairstyles? Made a drastic change or two? Made a mistake with a haircut you’d like to forget? Are as lazy and bland as I am with my hair? Talk, tell, because it’s all fine. It’s your hair. Do whatever you want with it as long as it makes you happy.

Raine Palmer About Raine Palmer

Filed in: Hair, Real Talk
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