Sunday, June 7, 2009

Taking The Plunge: (Short Hair!)

I have always been one that goes from long to short medium hair, even since high school.  My hair grows crazy fast and it seems that my hair would be back long, just as soon as I cut it.  I can recall the very first time that I took the plunge from cutting off my LONG barbie doll locks.  

It was in middle school when I explored my talents in drill-team, before becoming mascot and then cheerleader.  When I say I did it all in school, I really did.  From the aforementioned above, to basically every sport our school had to offer.  I experienced it all.  

I really enjoyed dancing and being on the drill-team squad, but I never fully felt that it was 'my spot' to be.  I always felt I was meant to be and do better, whatever that may be.  It wasn't until my last year on drill-team did I know what that would be.  You see in drill-team, unlike cheer leading, we had to 'tryout' every single week in order to perform on the field during half-time or during prep-rally's.   I pretty much would make it every week.  I was dedicated, I worked hard and I earned my position every time.  Dancing came easy to me, but not as easy as it came for many others. And I guess it wasn't even about the dancing coming easy to me, it was the memory of learning each routine and learning several routines at one time that was even harder for me. 

There was a phase when some of the girls in my school ( and cheerleaders) and some of my friends started this fad of cutting their hair short.  It was REAL short, like those cute little bowl cuts or girls.  I loved having fun, trying things new and exploring. I wasn't one of those girls that was attached to my hair, or things or even really girly girlish. 

My drill-team instructor loved my hair.  Her nickname for me was Barbie.  Another nickname I had among my parents friends and others was 'Hollywood'.  I always said I would live in Hollywood, be an actress or model.  Guess what? I have done all of that.  When I go home, I still get called Hollywood by some of my parents friends.  Its pretty funny. 

Life was pretty cool until I jumped on the band wagon and cut my hair off.  I cut it SHORT-SHORT.  I remember how free and lite my head felt.  How easy it was to get up and get ready for school the next day.  Until I walked into the gym for drill-team practice.  I remember getting responses from the girls and my drill team instructor as if I betrayed them or something.  My drill-team instructor was so furious that she gave me the meanest look.  She told me it looked awful, and that I was going to have to find away to still dress my hair up as every other girl did when performing.  Needless to say, I didn't "make" the tryouts that week for Friday nights game or prep-rally, or a couple of weeks after that.  

I felt so out casted every day going into drill-team.  However, just over in the corner, while I was supposed to be learning routines, I would find myself starring at the cheerleaders.  About three of them with short hair just like mine.  Their friends didn't get mad at them, their cheer instructor wasn't treating them any different and I thought to myself "how cool" they all looked and seemed.  I finished out my year with drill-team.  We went off to nationals and it was that trip that changed me.  My drill-team instructor came up to me and said that I needed to find away to put my VERY-SHORT hair in a french braid, with this huge bow to be attached at the bottom.  I remember getting ready to go out and perform for the nationals with tears in my eyes.  I was embarrassed because I was forced to put my very short hair in a french braid.  It wouldn't go into a french braid, so I had over 30 something bobby-pins in my hair and a can of hairspray, in attempt to make my hair appear to be in a french braid.  My head was in pain, I felt so ugly and belittled.  I will never forget that moment. 

I was raised and had it instilled in me that we do not hate anyone. For the most part I was good at being responsible of my emotions and not allowing myself to get to that level (hate) towards anyone.  However, I do recall how much I felt "hate" towards my drill team instructor and some of the drill team captains that very day. 

Of course I am over it now and I only share it with you here today, because it will tie together for the rest of my post.  

That was my last year of drill-team.  

The following summer I built up the courage to tryout as a cheerleader.  I thought "how hard can cheer leading be, I was a drill team girl?"  

It was much harder that I thought, and I didn't make the squad.  I was heartbroken, and felt lost a bit because I didn't have a plan B of what I would do if I hadn't made the squad.  I just assumed I would make it. 

This is the first time I really ever started to allow myself to feel insecure. 

I also wasn't one of those girls that gave up very easy at all.  Part of me wishes I still had that type of positive thinking and bravery today as I did then as a child. It goes to show time and time again, how we adults really can learn from children.  

Besides drill team, I was also athletic and did several sports such as volleyball, soccer, golf and track.  I figured that would be my spot this year and I would focus on my sports. 

As the school year began and we are now entering into high school as freshman, I still felt a bit left out.  I recall going to school and watching the cheerleaders practice, and the drill team rehearse and feeling like I was missing out on something.  Not missing out on anything like 'being cool' or feeling the need to hang with popular girls.  I just didn't like failing at anything, and I really loved the feeling of performing. Performing in front of people, in front of football fans at games and during competition.  It was the competitive side of me that felt dissatisfied.  

However, what was I going to do about it? The drill team and cheer squad had already been chose for the year.  My chance was over.  Over, until....

I heard the news that the cheerleaders where in need of a new mascot.  

Long story short.... I tied with a senior girl for the mascot position.  I LOVED being the Black Panther.  I loved having my freedom to perform solo as the mascot.  I loved that I could have my hair any way I wanted it and not be treated mean for it.  It was a great time.  A great time, until...... 

I heard the news that a former cheerleader had fallen and had a terrible knee injury, causing her to be out for the year.  I was asked if I would like to come to the squad and take her place.  

My half year of being a mascot was short lived and much enjoyed, but coming out from behind the mask of the black panther as a cheerleader felt even better.  I felt like I had found 'my spot'.  I quickly made new friends, found my love for cheering and getting back to performing. I cheered every year after that. 

By this time however, my hair had grown back out and was down to my the top of my shoulders and I never cut it that short again.  I was afraid to cut it short like that again.  My long hair became my security blanket.  Sure, I cut my hair, but never did I go shorter than just to the top of my shoulders. As long as I could put it in a ponytail, braid it, toss it to the left and right, I was safe.  I felt safe anyways.  

This pattern has stuck with me all my life, but of course I didn't fully get it until now, just how much I relied on my hair to make me "ME". 

I found this article today "Taking The Plunge: (Short Hair!)" and instantly felt like a part of me was exposed, and then realized that there are so many of YOU, that this article would relate to as well.  Many of you that read my blog, expressed your wish or desire to take the plunge and cut your hair off for the summer, but just can't seem to .... well, take the plunge.  

So, then the question came to mind.... are you, YOU? Or, is your hair, YOU? Do you own your hair, or does your hair own you? 

I imagine a lot of you want to believe that you own your hair, but in truth, your hair is owning you.  You allow your hair to determine how you feel about yourself.  Sexy, young, flirty or whatever.  A lot of us girls hide behind our hair.  I do.  I still do even with the short hair, but that is where this post comes in, because I wanted to share with you what I am experiencing and learning about myself, living with short hair.  

I am going to be honest here, because I know as faithful readers to this blog, you expect nothing less.  I appreciate that.  

In truth, I like my hair.  Do I love it?  At moments, yes!  What does that mean, at moments? Well, just like I did with long hair, I had moments.  I love my hair when I am dressed in an outfit that compliments my hair, my make-up on and my hair is styled.  I feel fresh, sexy, EXPOSED even.  I feel different.  But I feel different in a good way, but also in a brave way.  I do find myself adjusting my way of thinking.  You know, like telling myself to "act as if" with my new hairstyle, so that I can continue to feel like that young sex kitten, pretty girl, model girl etc.... and not fall into that "mom" feeling.  A lot of women feel that short hair belongs to the "moms" of the world. In truth that is SO not the case. In fact, what inspired me to take the plunge and cut my hair off, wasn't walking around looking at these moms with short hair, saying to myself "I want to look like that." I mean come on.  

No, it was the young cute girls I'd see out (even older women, including some moms) that rocked and owned their sexy and fun short hairstyles.  I would admire their confidence with short hair, not feeling like the were owned by their hair, but they owned their own attitude and self.  I felt such an energy looking at those girls.  I wanted "that energy" too. I felt like I was missing out on something, and I wasn't going to find out what it was, until I took the plunge and cut it off. 

Now, if you are a regular reader to this blog, you realize it took me not one, not two, but three tries to get my hair this short, and I am so glad that I did.  

I feel recharged.  I feel unstoppable.  I feel like I did in high school BEFORE that year of drill team, before I was made to feel that my hair was who made me, ME.  Before, I started to allow my hair to become my security blanket, or my curtain to hide behind.  

Every 2 to 3 years for the last 10 years, I have cut my hair off for the summer.  It's a cycle of mine.  However, I never allowed myself to go passed that cute little style of right above my shoulders until now.  Afraid, that I wouldn't be pretty enough to model if I cut it off shorter.  Or that my husband wouldn't find me as sexy.  Afraid of starting to look older or like a soccer mom, as they would call it.  But then I realized, that is NO ONES FAULT but my own.  My own fault for allowing my hair to have that much power or control on how I can feel about myself.  

My body doesn't change with short hair. My face doesn't change with short hair.  The only thing changing is my ATTITUDE and my way of thinking.  Coming out of my hiding place, my safe place, my 'hair bubble'....and I feel like cutting off those 8 to 10 inches of length in my hair, I cut off years and years of baggage and negative energy out of my life. 

My husband loves short hair.  I knew that and part of that did help me to get the courage to take the plunge. Even had he not loved short hair so much, and was one of those guys that 'preferred' long hair.  I still think I would cut it all off again.  No, I take that back. I don't think, I KNOW I would cut it off again.  You know why?  

I OWN MY HAIR and MYSELF.  No guy (or husband) or drill team instructor or modeling agent is going to take apart of me away from myself, causing me to live in fear of any kind. Instead I take on the world and my new found freedom and walk with pride and confidence with my new short hair. 

But I don't stop there....

As I said, I have to be honest, because you wouldn't expect any less. As well, I have many personal friends that are around me all the time that would be shaking their heads at me, saying she didn't express all this love for her new short hair just a couple of days ago when I saw her.  Very true!

That brings us back to the I am still 'getting adjusted' to all this short hair stuff.  I am still trying to learn the type of style that I like best on me.  Not too straight where it looks like it's stuck to my head, not too loose and curled under where I feel like I have a mushroom on my head.... I have to find my 'sweet spot' hairstyle that I like on me. 

If you read THIS article, it was mentioned that some women after taking the plunge, often find themselves adjusting their wardrobe to fit the hairstyle.  That is totally me.  If I don't have on the right wardrobe that I like with the hair... I can start to not feel 100% about my hair that day or myself confidence. Part of that letting my hair still own me.  Or, if I have been home all day with no makeup on, in my pj's, I can start to feel unattractive about myself and not want my husband to come home to look at me.  It all goes back to those 'insecurities' and if I let those insecurities creep in, I hate dislike my hair a great deal.  BUT...it's not different from being long, for I still had those same kind of days with long hair too.  It just SEEMS different because I have short hair, and it's easy to see old things come to surface from new things and then blame the new things (like a new cut) for something that has always been.... bad hair days. 

I can't pull it back in a ponytail, and I don't like wearing ball caps with short hair. I love my ball caps.  I am forced to come up with something different to make myself feel good about myself.  I can't hide behind sunglasses and long hair, or ball caps.  Instead, I change my outward thoughts and attitude about it all.  Having short hair is not really any different than long hair when your dealing with the inside of oneself.  It all begins with WHO YOU ARE and YOUR ATTITUDE.  

Besides... I like living on the edge. 

If you look at it like this "its not permanent" .... you can have a lot of fun with it.  I have even talked with some friends, and my husband, about playing with extensions.  I can have the best of BOTH worlds. I can feel like a power house women with my short sexy hair, and then when I feel more lazy or less bold, or simply just want to change it up, pop in some extensions and go with it.  I haven't gotten the extensions yet, they are pretty pricey. However, I don't leave it out as not being an option.  Right now, I really am still adjusting, loving (and hating, sometimes) my really cool, sexy and fabulous but SHORT hairstyle.  

Taking the plunge (going short).... felt so good, and still does.  

What are you going to do now? Are you going to own your hair and your attitude, or are you going to let your hair own you?  Short hair isn't for everyone...but if you are constantly thinking about cutting it, or looking at short hairstyles, and wanting to cut it off, but just can't seem to get the nerve.  Then I would say, you are dealing with some insecurities (just as I am/was/still do), and letting your hair, others and their opinions of what makes you, YOU, control your life. 

Knock it off already.... if you want to do it, DO IT!!! TAKE THE PLUNGE!  Have some fun, enjoy it and if after giving it real honest effort, and you still find that you hate it or its not for you.  Chill out.  Go get some extensions or live with it and let it grow in the meantime.  After all, do you think the celebrities with short hair wake up looking like that good all the time, or grow their hair out over night?  No, they own their hair, they change it up and they play with color, extensions or whatever they like.  All that matters.... is the attitude behind the hair. 

However, don't say I didn't warn you..... you may come addicted to the new freedom and feeling about yourself, when you come out from hiding, and start owning your hair and living your life. Never to want to grow it long again.  Or not!   


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**Love to hear what you thought about this post, and the article I attached.  As well, as any stories from you that decided to take the plunge after reading this, and how you feel about your new self.**







8 Personal Thoughts:

daniella said...

You're preaching to the choir, sister!

You know exactly how and why I cut my hair 9 months ago. I did it for the same EXACT reasons you did this time (because it litterally became my security blanket and I could "hide" behind my hair and its beauty) but as you know, I haven't owned up to my brave act. After I cut it I noticed women were a bit more open to me but I felt plain and bare and not like myself. But like you said, I was the only one to blame for it. Part of it had to do that I have a long neck and it made me feel really exposed. I even felt like I resembled a loli-pop at times! Now that it's reached my chin (about your length) and I can style it in a couple of different ways, I'm good.

The worst moment? When I went to my cousin's wedding back in January and all my relatives (like, 200 of them) were super shocked that "Daniella cut her hair! Some of my uncles even talked about it like I wasn't even in their presence saying "And that's why the Bible says 'a women's covering [her hair] is her beauty'" or however that verse goes. I was disgusted at their hurtful way of using God's word. After shooting them a dirty look, I walked off but I sure felt defeated.

And I agree, I definitely needed to dress more girly - make up, jewelry and all - in order to feel more womanly. But I guess having the body of a 12 year old boy didn't help at the time, HA! That's why I love being preggers: I get curves....and fellow women are nice to me :-) You know the drill...now I'm preaching to the choir.

Misty Rice said...

I just told Mark what your uncles said Dani, and he frowned up his face and shook his head in discuss. Saying "any man that feels the need to say that has their own issues to deal with." Saying "hair doesn't make a women beauty and he bets if you asked God, he would agree."

Then he kissed me and said "I like your covering honey."

:)

daniella said...

Thanks, girl! Tell Mark the same - that was sweet of him. We'll have to experiment with different styles when we see each other in August.

Angela said...

Misty, I saw your comment on Stacy's blog and just stopped by to say that you are beautiful! And so are your children!

Stewart Family said...

Gosh...this is all so true. I haven't ever really thought about it like that. I'm constantly seeing all these cute short styles thinking how much I would love to go for it....but then I don't. I step back and kinda start freaking out about chopping it all off. All the what if's. I most definitely need to take the plunge. I think everyone needs a change every now and then!

Great post--I really enjoyed it!

Misty said...

I know how you feel! I am the same way about going from long to short. I usually do it at opposite times of everyone else though. It seems that most people get their hair cut in the warmer months and grow it out for the colder ones. I do just the opposite. I like to let mine grow out longer in the summer so that I can wear it up in a pony tail while outside playing with my kiddos. Then, usually when school starts back, I am ready for a new shorter classier looking do'! I think your shorter cut looks great! I like it even better that the longer look. It always makes me feel so bad when people say, "Oh no! You cut your hair! I liked it better long!" My mother in law does that to me. She pitches a fit every time I cut mine and tries to make me think my husband likes it better long. He likes long hair but he also like it any way I cut it. He wants me to be in charge of my hair and he loves me and my hair any way I wear it! This was a great post with a great lesson!

GamecockQueen said...

You should post a picture from high school! Sometimes I do a Flashback Friday on my blog and post old pictures.

I also ran track in high school and had a really hard time remembering routines for dance. Supposedly "muscle memory" is supposed to help you to learn routines, but I'm still waiting on that one! LOL

Julie said...

I remember when you cut you hair way back then! The reaction you got from going with such long hair to short was shocking, and I remember the weird vibe in the classes we shared about how you looked. So if you ever thought it was just your own insecurities in school, I totally remember that and it was just mean people! Actually your experience kept me from cutting that short!
I'm glad you have found the higher ground to do what you like with your own hair! It is fun to something drastic and different, especially when you have children and start to feel invisible. I love your new doo - I loved your hair long too. That's the benefit you have of being beautiful, you could wear a garbage bag and have a rotten banana peel on your head and still look great!

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