In college I cut my hair. It was au revoir to my shoulder length locks as I embraced an edgier short hair style. Almost a decade later and my hair fluctuates from Mia Farrow's circa Rosemary's Baby to hipster faux hawk.
My favorite conversation with any hair stylist is their take on long-haired ladies facing the chopping block for the first time and how this hyper-symbolic act is so often equated with women facing their femininity, sexuality, and identity. I've had more than one stylist tell me the dread they feel anytime a woman with long hair comes in and asks to have it cut. Too often it ends in tears and angry words, apparently.
However, I've now been wondering if I have started to equate intellectuality, politics, and gender neutrality with shorn hair. How much does my hair corroborate my own identity? Looking in a mirror I can't envision myself with long hair. It's intangible. After ten years, who can blame me? But the short hair I once found playful and political doesn't seem to suit me anymore either.
This year I'm going to face a different chopping block and grow my hair out. I'm prepping myself for the practical long and tedious periods of awkward hair. (Hats are popular, right?) But I'm less prepared for the plodding mental and emotional transition to a hair length that is often culturally identified as more feminine, more womanly.