I have not had a real professional hair cut in many years; at least 15 or more. Most of the time my hair is either in braids, or pulled back in a ponytail or hair clip when straightened (which came down to my collarbone) or in a big puff when in its curly, natural state. I’m not totally sure why but I felt this strange level of comfort in doing the same thing over and over again. My hairstyle, much like my clothing style, was nothing special, just very plain, comfortable and convenient. Not very pretty, just “there”. For a long time I wanted to change my hair, but was not sure how and was afraid of making a mistake, so I did not make a move at all. At most, all I’d ever get is a wash and set, but nothing more than that.
I promised myself that when I lost 100 lbs, that I would finally take the plunge…and when that time came I was still dragging my feet. I started a new job about two months ago and met someone on the job with a really cute haircut; I asked where she got it done and decided to force myself to call her hairstylist. I didn’t give myself time to think about it, just made myself call to make an appointment and go.
On Friday Feb 2, I sat down in Keisha Pough’s chair at Salon Lofts in Brookhaven. She advised me that my hair was pretty damaged (some of which I’m sure is due to the effects of weight loss surgery) and needed a drastic cut…and after some back and forth, I finally agreed. She draped the cape over me, and proceeded to whip out her scissors. With every snip of her scissors and every lock of hair that fell to the floor, I felt more and more sick to my stomach. When she was done, she spun me around to where I could see myself in the mirror, and I was in shock. Immediately I thought, “WHAT HAVE I DONE?!?!” I didn’t even look like the same person; I didn’t recognize myself in the mirror. Obviously the shock was pretty loud on my face, because even Keisha was pretty concerned I might have an episode of panic. It was the shortest my hair has ever been, and a pretty radical change from what I was used to.
I’ve had that reaction alot in the past year – this feeling of not recognizing myself. Comparing old pictures of pre-surgery me to new pics of me being 100+ lbs lighter. Putting on new clothes, and understanding that the old me I’m used to seeing in the mirror wearing something “decent” is not the slimmer person I now see in the mirror with the figure-flattering pencil skirt and high heels. On the surface, you’d think this type of change would a good thing – and it is – but it’s also a little uneasy when you’ve been one way your whole life and now you’re suddenly different. Even more uneasy when other people take notice. I didn’t tell my fiancé ahead of time that I was going to cut my hair. When I came home that evening from the salon, he was happily surprised and started snapping pics for Facebook, and I’m not really a fan of taking pics. We went out to dinner, and some people (guys) around me were staring, which I’m still trying to get used to.
Keisha did a fantastic job, I just needed some time to take it all in. It’s been a month now, and I really do like it. When my hair gets a little stronger, I’m going to experiment with some color, maybe adding in some ombre or balayage highlights. In the meantime, I’m just going to enjoy the new me.
PS – To help me decide on a style and get more comfortable with the idea of cutting my hair, I used the app African American Women Hair Styles. I highly recommend checking it out. You upload a clear pic of yourself, and then get to see what different styles look like on you. Below are a few of the styles I tried on; I can’t lie, I’m really into the funky blond pixie and the fiery red look. Test it out yourself and have fun!