Bad Hair Day?

I have a confession to make: I just cut my own hair.

I’m not sure yet how it turned out because it is early in the morning and I cut it just after getting out of the shower and then I came in here to meditate and I haven’t seen it since it dried. But I suspect it will be imperfect.

And that’s okay.

It took a lot to get to the point where I was desperate enough to cut my own hair.

Haircuts tend to be traumatic for me, I’m not sure why. It may go back to when I was a child and my mother cut my hair. Maybe it comes from my junior high days, when I would spend hours in front of the mirror giving myself curling iron hickies to try to achieve the perfect Farah flip. Or it may be from when I was a teenager: I had really long hair that I loved, and when I went to the salon one day, the stylist pointed out that the boy who sat behind me in class had stuck gum in the back of my hair and she had to take it all off. Or maybe it was when I first moved to NYC and my mom’s friend took me to her (overpriced midtown) stylist and, unbeknownst to me, told him to cut “all that horrible pink out of her hair” leaving me with a disgusting mop. Even as an adult, I went to get my hair cut one day and, when the stylist said, “Voila!” I said “Keep Cutting” and kept repeating it until I finally gave up and left without tipping her.

For the last, I don’t know, ten years maybe, I’ve seen the same stylist every five weeks and gotten the same cut, with variations in color, and paid through the nose for it and been perfectly happy. And I do mean, perfectly – when I left the salon, I felt beautiful every time, in a halo that lasted until I got home and my husband refused to acknowledge my haircut. He likes long hair, I like short hair. Too bad for him.

The last time I saw my stylist was the weekend before they locked down NYC. It’s been almost 9 months since I’ve gotten a haircut.

At first it was a challenge, could I do something different with my hair, keep it going? And it worked, off and on, but for the last month, it’s just been too heavy, the bangs are too long, the shape that worked well at shorter lengths is too limp now. And it’s too short to put up.

I’d like to walk down to Soho, see my stylist, but my foot is still not up to it and Covid is on the rise and I’m not taking the subway or bus. For a moment this summer, I thought about walking down, but my foot really wasn’t up to it then and my husband is super-cautious about Covid. Then I thought about wetting my hair and popping into the hair salon down the block from my apartment building. But I trust my regular salon to be following protocols and I don’t trust these places. If only I could meet my stylist on the roof of her salon or in a park somewhere…

Meanwhile, my hair kept getting longer.

So, yesterday, I checked out some online videos on how to cut your own hair at home, picked up a pair of sheers on my lunchtime walk, and made a decision. This morning, I got up, showered so my hair would be wet (too long now to wet in the sink), and began cutting.

In my head was a memory from high school: stumbling into the bathroom in the morning to get dressed for school and finding my sister and her best friend, standing in front of the mirror, teasing their short hair and then – snip-snip – cutting off any pieces that offended them, casually, confidently, unobsessively. That sister is no rocket-scientist. If she could do this, I could.

As I said, I haven’t seen the results yet. My next blog could be all about learning to live with misery.

Or it could be about taking risks and learning to live with imperfection.

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