Personal Column: The Hair


Strands of the hair slowly fall onto the floor. Each cut felt like it wasn’t enough.

I remembered how the long brown hair flowed down to my waist, not in the stereotypically graceful way, but in a gawky-awkward way. The lack of care for the hair was apparent, being frizzy, strands flying in different directions. I chose to ignore it every time I looked in a mirror.

The incessant feeling of hair hitting the nape of the neck was enough of a persistent and itchy reminder it was still there. It wasn’t anything against the hair personally. It would have looked lovely on someone else. It just didn’t feel right on me. 

Snip. Another part of the hair perished. It’s going to be gone now. It won’t bother me anymore. 

Every time I had looked at the mirror on top of the old dresser, the one with pastel girly flowers all over, I saw how the hair was misplaced on my head. It felt awkward.

It should have been ideal for any little girl since it was long and thick, yet, its luxuriousness bothered me more.

— Alex Samano

I would spend hours pulling the hair back attempting to see what it would look like shorter. I would try my best to make it look like a pixie cut, but even that didn’t feel short enough.

It will be short enough now. I hope. One more small section of the hair falls with another cut. 

Everyone always has something that they don’t wear or do because it doesn’t feel like themselves. Yet the pestering was constant. “Never cut it, it fits you very well,” said acquaintances with a sincere smile. After my protestations- “You look so pretty with your long hair!” 

Their words always felt wrong. Why do people care what I want to look like? Why shouldn’t I look as I want? Is this wrong? Am I wrong? 

Once I brought up the courage to ask my parents about cutting the hair, the pushback became even more apparent. “Are you sure you want to cut it that short?” But I was absolutely determined to cut it. 

Until I wasn’t so sure. 

As I sat in the sleek black hairdresser chair, I was told how much I would regret it. “If you cut your hair to your shoulders, it will be easier to grow out. What if you don’t like it short? You’ve had it long your whole life.”

As I sat in the room that was meant to make “girls like me happy,” I felt nothing but regret and doubt.

At least most of it will be gone. Another snip to shoulder length. Just looking in the clean mirror in front of the clean white wall at the hairdresser, I knew it still felt wrong. 

The hair now went down to my shoulders with a small bang over my eye reminding me that it could be shorter. While people still commented on how much they missed my hair, I felt more confident in my decision. The next time I went to the hairdresser, I would get the haircut I wanted.

I felt lighter as the strands of hair drifted to the floor. It wasn’t only the physical weight of the hair that had lifted. It felt as if I had been trapped under this oppressive weight, but now, the cuts felt more deliberate, more assured. The hairdresser knew I wouldn’t yell halfway through for her to stop. There was no regret left. 

Finally, it was all gone. I looked in the mirror once again. For the time, I saw in the mirror, I saw my true self, the image I had imagined for myself, and not the image others had imagined for me. 

Hesitantly, I ran a hand through my scalp. The shaved bit of hair felt smooth and soft. Right where it belongs.