“Are you sure? Like, sure?” The girl behind me asks, giving me a look filled with questions and uncertainty. Not a good sign when that same person is holding a very sharp instrument right next to your head.

“Yep. Let’s do it.”

She tentatively moves toward me, then takes a step back. “Wait. Maybe we should just go half way? Then, if you like it, we can do more later.”

I hold in my sigh because I know it’s not her fault.

I was big into mitigating risk too. In my previous “life.”

But not now. Not anymore.

And especially not with this.

The girl with the scissors eyeballs me in the mirror, probably trying to gauge if I’m the type of person who will have a breakdown if this haircut doesn’t work out. If I was helping someone who walked into a hair salon and demanded that their waist-length locks be chopped almost to the scalp, I would hesitate too.

We’re both scared about what might happen.

Somehow, it seems perfect. This stranger is now my partner-in-crime as we zigzag down this one-way road.

And after the first chop, there’s no turning back.

But I started on that road months ago, when I fired my job, sold everything, and (while scared shitless) the great wander began.

In light of that, what’s a little hair?

Besides, I’ve wanted this. Oh, how I’ve wanted to look in the mirror and see a woman who was designed by me. (more on that in a second…)

I make eye contact with my hair stylist, whom I just met moments ago in the town I happen to be in at the time. “Be brave, woman,” I tell her. I tell myself. “And let’s chop all this hair off.”

And off it goes…

Finally. Cleanly. Simply.

Nothing like the changes I’m trying to make in my own messy life.

This change is clean, razor-edged and straight.

As I sit there, watching the years fall to the floor, part of me feels a longing for those discarded strands. But another part of me is so glad to see them go.

In my previous job, my previous life, I had to look very “professional,” since my main clients were older male business owners.

Which I suspect means: Don’t act or dress like a threat. Always offer coffee and a smile. PS. mohawk-style short hair is definitely not allowed.

I had lived there for so many years but, after the last lock fell,

… I wanted to start dancing around the hair salon, arms-spread-wide Julie-Andrews-style, singing and laughing and kissing all the babies

… and tossing in a few “fuck that”s for good measure.

Safe… what’s that all about anyway?

I read a quote once where the writer said that people who look the most non-conformist, non-fit-in-y (my words) usually have found a life where it doesn’t matter if they are judged by appearances or not.

It seemed like a lofty idea to apply to the fact that I’d just always wanted a faux-hawk.

… But felt like I could never have it, because they wouldn’t approve.  It just wouldn’t be appropriate.

TRUTH-TRANSLATE MOMENT: It would not be safe.

And, geez, I liked safe. Its a cozy place to be…

Right up until the moment it’s not, when the warm blanket tries to smother you.

Staring in the mirror, after all the hair was gone, my stylist says, “What do you think? This must be a big change for you.”

It is but it isn’t. This change looks right. More right than the other me who was trying to “look right.”

Which makes me wonder, it is my hair that’s changed or is it me?

Maybe I’m finally adapting the outer to reflect the inner instead of the other way around, instead of taping myself in with all the outside stuff. Like if I stick this label here, everyone will think that I am who I pretend to be. Who I’m supposed to be.

Maybe the tape is losing its stickiness.

As I get ready to leave, new haircut fluffed toward the sky, my stylist says, “Hey, we can donate your hair, since it was so long. Which is such a nice thing about all this.”

I smile at her. She’s still unsure.

I am too.

We’re all trying to figure this thing out. This messy, twisty rat’s-nest.

But today feels like a triumph.

I don’t need other reason for my choice to be okay.

Today I released years of weight in a snip-snip. And finally got the haircut I’ve wanted, smiles and professionalism be damned.

Life is too short to have boring hair.

A philosophy I should probably start applying to many things…

… there may be a streak of purple in my future (come along with me and we’ll see). Whatever happens, I’m sure I’ll continue to scare a hair stylist or two.

Which is a good thing.

It’s okay to be scared. I think it may be fate’s way of hinting that we’re finally moving in the right direction.

Love you always,
— Olivia —


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