And now? I try to explain why haircuts are so dramatic for me. (And also reconcile the fact that my hair is probably the number three blogged about topic on this website second only to children and pregnancy.)
When I was in my twenties I would go to the hairdresser at a moment's notice. Depending on how the wind was blowing I would have it chopped off, dyed nearly black, bleached platinum blonde, added bangs or layers … it went on for years like this. Finally, when I was in graduate school and was too poor to keep pouring every spare dollar onto my hair, I started growing it out and would blend away the growing-out permanent color with a box of temporary haircolor from the drugstore and restricted myself to "trims only." It took two years, but at the end of the road I had healthy, straight, shoulder-length hair in my natural golden brown (with blonde highlights! Thanks Mother Nature!) color. Just in time for my wedding day, too!
Over the next few years my hair varied in length between my shoulders and mid-back, but I never touched the color or messed with the style too much. The worst of it were episodes of Random Bangs and then the growing-out phase. I found a stylist I was comfortable with and was happy to limit my upkeep to regular trims.
Fast forward four-and-a-half years. I am a new mother just starting to come out of a newborn fog. After living in California for a year I had yet to find a hairdresser I liked and so I'd been geting my hair trimmed at random places like Fantastic Sams. My hair suddenly starts falling out by the handful. I have bald spots at the temples, my eyebrows are inexplicably disappearing, I'm a giant blob of a woman and WOAH. I bought a box of temporary haircolor after so many years in the hopes that it would somehow "fill in" the gaps. I considered Rogaine. I finally went to Dr. Google and figured out what was happening to my head. I got my butt on Hair Thursday (here and here) right before it blew the heck up and even ended up on Nightline and Rachael Ray. And then? I booked an appointment with a friend's hairdresser. A "real" hairdresser.
And she gave me the worst haircut of my adult life. Let's not talk about it other than to say that at that moment? I needed a good haircut. And she royally screwed it up to the point that when I came home my husband – who is a kind and ALWAYS complementary man in terms of my hair and is also A BOY and never even notices my hair unless something DRASTIC is going on – said "Woah, Baby you got jacked up." Yes, dear. Yes indeed I did. To the tune of sixty bucks (!!!).
After that? I gave up on haircuts for a while. An embarrassingly Long While. My hair lived in a pile on top of my head and it was fine … for a while. One day I suddenly woke up with a wild, massive head of hair that I no longer recognized. Where do I even begin? The inch of new growth that came in to replace the fine, straight hair that was lost was not only brunette, it was also coarser and of all things WAVY. This post by Amalah about pregnancy hair, post-partum hair loss, regrowth, etc. sums the frustration up well.
Finally, after months of waffling, wishing, and hoping, I did what any Resourceful American Mommyblogger would do: I went straight to the top and drove myself 45 minutes to Whoorl's hairdresser, the fabulous Tera. And because she is a total genius with the hair SHE FIXED ME. So I did it again when I was pregnant with Elijah. BLISS! I had all these grand plans about getting my hair done every three months like a Normal Person but then I had another baby and HA HA we all know how that goes. Getting to see Tera (who is worth the trip) was just too hard. I could never justify taking an entire day just to get my hair done. (Even though it's allowed and healthy and justified and all that. I KNOW.)
And so yeah, I got my hair trimmed one time at Fantastic Sams but somehow that lady messed up A Trim … there were mismatched pieces hanging out everywhere that I snipped here and there with a pair of shears I bought at Target. And then another day I took to my "bangs area" with a pair of kitchen scissors in an attempt to hide my (post-partum!) receding hairline.
Over the past few weeks my obsession with my hair has reached new heights. It even started looking crappy back in a braid or ponytail, the sheer weight of it was starting to hurt my head, I was getting it caught on stuff and tangled up in it and the long, ridiculous strands of hair everywhere were just getting Stupid. It took forever to dry and I never did anything with it. I saw Maggie and she cut off all her hair and looks AMAZING! The last straw was when I found myself in my in-laws' bathroom, armed with four kinds of product, a hair dryer and a straightener, basically BEGGING my hair to look presentable for a dinner out with other adults. As I flipped my head over and tried to get my hair bone dry so the work I was doing with the flat iron would stick, I somehow got my hair tangled up in the fan on the back of the hair dryer. I got what I could out and stood there helplessly looking at was was now a HOLE in my helplessly-mangled-anyway hair.
That was when I decided that it was time FOR REAL to at long last say goodbye to my hair. It was time for the constant mental battle to be over. It was time for me to stop asking my husband if he'd still be attracted to me if my longer-than-long hair was gone. It was time for me to stop worrying that I'd somehow look fatter (yeah! That's rational!) if I cut my hair off and suddenly had nothing to hide behind. I asked a friend with cute hair for her local hairdresser's information. I looked him up on Yelp and read nine million (all good!) reviews. I booked it. I showed up with photos I'd printed out of Long Bobs. And – as I instructed – he whacked it all off (and did an amazing job. I really like him! And it doesn't hurt that his shop is set up literally 2.5 minutes from my front door!).
I don't have a single regret. It was time to let go and move on.
Now that I've tended to my hair I can move on and tend to the things that actually need tending.
Like? My son's hair.