Question: What will happen if I chop off my hair?
Hypothesis: Well, I'll probably look like a man...but you never know.
Test: Still mustering up the courage...
A little sneak peek of the college visit post to come!
Well friends, it's officially been a year since I've gotten my hair permed. I think it's rather odd that I remember the exact date...hey, when you can't have anniversaries with a non-existent boyfriend, you have anniversaries with your ever-changing hairstyles!
...I'm beginning to scare myself, so I'll stop there.
But really. This was kind of a big deal for me last year since I'd had the same short, flippy haircut for ages. It caught my eye back in 5th grade, so I had sported the bouncy crop for five years. That's almost a third of my entire life!
As much as I don't want to admit it, I guess I don't like change. After my lovely aunt in China had done her magic, I stole glances at my reflection in passing car windows, store windows, and finally stared the mirror in the bathroom after I had showered.
I stared. And stared. And stared.
Who is that girl with the curly hair?
It was so strange. I couldn't accept that it was now part of me. After sixteen years of stick-straight hair, chemicals, heat, and time had made it curly. (On a scientific note, perms work because the chemicals reduce and re-oxidize the natural disulfide bonds so the resulting sulfide bonds conform to the shape of the curlers.)
But it slowly grew on me (ha, unintentional pun!). Several fiascoes with being unable to scrub the banana out of my hair that I had so very rationally decided to mash in (hey, it was in a magazine!) occurred in the meantime, but I came to accept the new curly-haired girl as, well, me.
This was also when I ditched my signature flower. Well, part of it was that my dad's mom told me it made me stick out too much in China. I was faced with the decision of acting against the very ideals that made me who I was or seeming like a disrespectful ingrate. The flower was my symbolic way of announcing my individuality after struggling with conformity in middle school; it was so much more than a hair accessory. But I complied and stowed it away for the rest of the trip.
However, when I arrived back in the US, I kept my once-treasured flower on my desk instead of in my hair.
Part of it was that it didn't look right with curly hair. Yes, I'll admit there were frivolous reasons. But the other part? It was no longer enough to be just “the girl with the flower.” I wanted more; I didn’t want a simple item to define my complex identity. My experience in China had made me so conscious of my roots. Simply put, I’m too American to be Chinese in China, but in America, I’m too Chinese to be American. Where is my home? Where do I truly belong? And by that point, I also no longer wore it because I truly wanted to; I wore it because people expected to see it. Like all things, time had caused its magic to fade.
So I faced the world without my old friend, the loud flower with sandy colored petals and golden-colored jewels. The one that I had stumbled upon in a random store, my best one-dollar purchase that would reshape my life.
I let my hair grow out, something I once adamantly refused to do. "Why don't you grow your hair out?" My friends would ask. I dodged their questions, answering, "Oh, I'm just too impatient."
I didn't cut it short for an entire year, except to trim my own bangs. I could finally put it up to run--I was no longer that girl madly running with her hair in a poof behind her. I could finally braid it and experiment with fun hairstyles. I could finally create my own updo for prom.
Well, it's been an entire year now. Maybe slightly more, now that I think about the time difference (I'm just too particular haha). Now I have the strange desire to chop off my hair and get a pixie cut--I've always wanted one but I'm still afraid I'd look like a man. Some people pull off the short crop quite well, but it's a gambler's chance taking the risk without knowing if I'm one of those people...
Who is that man, running the girls' race? They would ask at cross country and track races.
Or even worse: I would look like an old lady. People already mistake me for my younger brother's mother. Many are incredulous that I am still in high school. One cashier even asked if my mother and I were sisters (she, of course, beamed brightly, but I was absolutely mortified). But I'm just good old seventeen.
Is this next?
This is one of those things that you'll never know until you try.
I've more or less decided that I'm going to grow my hair out until it's long enough to donate to Pantene Beautiful lengths. The problem is where to go from there. Maybe I'll grow it out super long so I can still have medium-length hair after I chop it. Or maybe I'll chop at as soon as my shortest layer reaches eight inches and get a pixie cut.
Could I pull it off? Do I want to go through all the trouble of growing my hair out again after an entire year? Could I stand having to go through that awkward in-between stage of growing out a pixie? Will I look old? Will I look like a man? Do I even want to do this?
Test: undecided--tentatively set for when my hair is long enough to donate.
Conclusion: we'll see wherever this crazy, beautiful life takes me.