I used to believe all of my power was held in my hair. I wore it like a tangled, blonde crown. The only thing I knew how to do was to let it grow, and I did that, until it hung to my hips. On days it became greasy, I would suffocate it with dry shampoo. When I forgot my brush, I would stuff all of my hair into a careless bun and tuck it underneath a hat.
I look at my life like how I look at a movie, everything means something, every scene is placed and made because each and every detail is supposed to further the plot, and in this case, the plot of life.
This haircut means something. It signals my becoming of age, maybe. Or the fact that I’m an incoming freshman at a university with a student population of ten times my entire hometown. It’s the symbolic meaning for women to cut off their crown and prove they’re still a queen, that she doesn’t need to show her status in order to gain the respect that comes with it.
I’m caught in this strange transformation stage, where I’m stuck, frozen between the months of high school graduation and the beginning of college. As much as I don’t want to leave the safety of my tiny town, I know I’m facing something greater.
Cutting my hair feels like the seconds between jumping off a bridge into the cold creek water below, the adrenaline of even thinking of free falling ten-feet turning me giddy. As the scissors cut off my braided hair, I felt hands prickling at my bare spine, pushing me into the air, thrusting me into a ‘no-turn backs’, forcing me to face what every coming-of-age girl must.
It’s dumb, I know. To think of my hair like this, to hold my braid in my hand, limp and tinted copper, and to wonder if this is the only thing that’s going to change in my life. And, I know it isn’t. I know that what I’m becoming is the woman that I’ve been raised to be.
I cut off my hair, and I finally recognized myself in the mirror.