The Cut

I have always been the girl with long hair.

Well, not entirely true, I was famously bald until about age two, a mere peach fuzz covering my round head like an adorable Golem or (less kindly) a pink beach ball. However, ever since then I made it my mission to have long hair.

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My long hair has meant many things to me, it has made me an individual, it has made me feel beautiful and it has made me feel myself. Whether damaged and sun-bleached to long and lanky it has been tightly woven in my identity both to myself and others. I feel like this is a common thread amongst many. We grow our hair into beach waves to show our bohemian fun side, we shop and bleach it to show our urban edginess. Some even put harsh bangs across their forehead on purpose. I don’t know what that’s about, but it who am I to judge?

My look also, over time, became tied to one of my greatest loves. Angel, my big, blonde and beautiful Labrador, who died a couple of months ago. I was there to see her go and I find it very hard to write about her without tears rolling down my face. Angel deserves many things, and I will one day write her a full tribute, but at the moment I still don’t feel able to do that.

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Angel was absolutely mad many things  to me but her wonderful white blonde coat also made her my canine doppleganger. I felt attached to her by our shared characteristics and general look. In short, my dog was my style icon. Though her death didn’t come as a shock, I still felt loss and I still feel grief. She was a force for good in this world, she had a heart that loved everyone (mostly sticks/branches of trees/small saplings) and, when a light that bright and beautiful goes out, it becomes our responsibility to step up and to try and shine as she did. It became apparent I had to do something to demonstrate my love of her and to give her death purpose, to hopefully make someones life better like she did for me everyday.

Thus, I decided to finally act on a lifelong desire to donate my hair to The Little Princess Trust, a charity that specialises in creating wigs for children and young adults who has lost their hair as a result of illness. It seemed fitting. I could help someone by giving them back some of their identity and also, demonstrate the loss of my own without my dog. I would also fingers crossed, suddenly look like Jennifer Lawrence.

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Talking to different people about cutting my hair showed a range of different things. The first was that I really had been using my hair as a key identifier, which I wouldn’t recommend to anyone. If one of your characteristics on a survey is ‘blonde’ it has become time to rethink your character. The other is that, really, no body cares what you look like. Your hair/skin/body may be something that you agonise over on the daily, but really, no one else gives a damn (and why should they?).

The day came and I nervously waited for the bell to chime 5:30 for me to get my haircut. I was, of course late and my haircut was nearly cancelled. As I had spent the whole day psyching myself up for the appointment I was willing to wait. I remember the sound of the scissors as the stylist gently sheered off my Aslans main and gently placed Simpsons called tresses before me. I mix my metaphors, you know what I mean.

The truth is I felt happy. Until I saw the back. My visions of a cool-girl blunt lob went out of my head as a realised I had been given a more ‘Run Lola Run’ aesthetic. I left the salon crying with my hair tied in little neat bands in my bag.

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Now, the world blessed me with many a thing but I do think that a metrosexual boyfriend is one of them. Upon seeing my red puffy face, Adam advised my to wash out the straight helmet my stylist had ironed my hair into and re-dried, re-moussed and generally styled me out. It sounds stupid but, I really do have no idea how short hair works. Feeling the little blunt ends at the base of my skull (she really did cut it very short) as opposed to the long hair down my back I felt sad, but I didn’t feel regret. It wasn’t what I wanted but, after all, I wasn’t doing it primarily to look good. A young person would be getting my hair no matter how many layers someone put into my bob – there really wasn’t much to fuss over.

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Two weeks in I am trying to think that my hair will grow out of this mum-do, but I still think it was the right thing to do. I am so happy I donated my hair and would encourage anyone who is going for a cut (maybe less dramatic) to consider checking the Little Princess website to see if they are cutting off enough to donate (4-7 inches).

I still miss my sweet princess, I’d shave my head if it meant I could bring her back, but I can’t, and regret wasn’t in her nature (although eating five bards of soap was for some reason). I know you are past caring, but here’s to you my love. If all the world was as loving as you then there would be no war. I will never be as good as you were, I hope you know I will always try.

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