What is this week’s blog post about?
It’s about something that’s bigger than me, or any single act of legislation. This is about a matter that should be of the highest importance to every American.
(Sorry, gotta quote Legally Blonde whenever I get the chance.)
Let me back up and just say that I love dramatic hair change scenes in movies and TV shows. Those cliche, staring in the mirror, angrily chopping off all your hair with rusty scissors as you cry scenes? I love them. I LIVE for them. I mean, I guess they’re kind of ridiculous. How can changing your hair fix anything? It can’t really, but I mean, I totally get it. You’re freaking out, things are falling apart, you’re grasping for something, anything to make you feel like you have some control. Sometimes, your hair is the only thing you have.
There’s a reason I chopped off several inches right before second semester of my sophomore year in high school. And there’s a reason I ditched my usual brown shade a year later. And there’s a reason I got a bob before I went to Stanford. And there’s a reason I dyed it purple a few weeks into my senior year. And there’s a reason I shaved half of it off two days before leaving for Yale.
When things are changing, when I don’t know what to do to express how I’m feeling, when I feel like all I want to do is be somebody else, the only thing I’ve ever been able to do is change my hair.
So second semester of sophomore year of high school, when I didn’t want to be the girl who’s mom died in September, I got the shortest haircut I’d ever had. When I didn’t want to be the shy little girl who’d been mooning over her best friend for years, I dyed it orange-red. When I wanted to leave the awkward, quiet girl who didn’t know how to make friends behind in NC, I sat down in a salon chair and told the stylist to chop it off and to give me some layers. When I came back home and realized I couldn’t figure out how to reconcile who I was now and who I wanted people to see me as, I let Mikaela take me to her stylist and I asked her to give me a daring shade of violet. And bangs.
And when I was days from leaving everything I knew behind and starting a whole new chapter of my life, I sat in a salon chair, staring at my reflection as the stylist gave me the trim I had asked for, and I knew it wasn’t enough. I could not arrive at Yale looking like the same old Allison I’d always been. It shocked me and the girl holding scissors when I caught her gaze in the mirror and said “Actually, can you shave it?” I closed my eyes when I heard the clippers buzzing. When I opened them again, my hair was gone, and I felt like the same person. But I sure did look different.
And now, I’m growing my hair out. It tickles my collar bones when it’s down, gets caught in my bra straps and tank top straps sometimes. I have brown roots separating my weird, reddish brown messy hair from my scalp. Sometimes, when it won’t stay out of my face, I have the urge to get rid of it, go back to that super cute bob I had in high school. But I know I won’t. Because I haven’t let it be in such a long time; I haven’t let it grow since middle school. I’m definitely not the person I was in middle school. But I’m also not the girl trying to escape her mother’s death, or the girl trying to shake an “are we, aren’t we?” stuck-in-limbo high school relationship, or the girl desperately waiting to get the hell out of her hometown and never look back, or the girl not knowing who she wanted people to see her as, or the girl wanting to be a different person entirely.
Who am I? I’m not entirely sure. But I know that I can’t forget what got me here, and that I don’t care what people see me as, and that changing my hair will not make me a different person. But it’s fun to pretend sometimes.
This summer, I think I want to be a beach bum with no responsibilities and no cares in the world. That, unfortunately, can’t happen. But I have an appointment with my stylist soon. I’m thinking blonde.