Goodbye Long Hair (Whether You Like It or Not)

I went through a phase during my teenage years where I dyed my hair black, red, then pink, followed by platinum blonde. Full fringes, side fridges, highlights, lowlights, layers and even a disaster of a perm for a while. When I turned twenty, I made the decision to stop messing with my hair and let it grow, keeping it natural. I wanted to have beautiful long hair.

Seven years later and my hair grew down to my waist. When I was pregnant, the huge surge of oestrogen gave it a vitality boost. Yes, it looked fabulous (especially in photographs). Just like most things in life, it didn’t last. Once I gave birth, the hormones exited my body as well and a lot of my hair fell out. Not only did I lose a lot of hair, I didn’t have much time to sit in front of the mirror and brush it anymore.

It’s been a year since I became a mother, and I am slowly emerging from the baby fog which surrounds new mums. I became aware that while I was happily getting lost in those big brown baby eyes, I had neglected myself. My Sonshine isn’t entirely dependent on me anymore, he is nursing less and wanting to play with others more. This gave me some time to notice, I have run on close to empty for a while now.

I rebooted my skin care regime, started an online course and made the effort to do a bit of exercise in the morning. I felt so much fresher, but still got so frustrated every time I had to tackle my tangles. This is when I realised my hair was dragging me down, physically and emotionally.

This is undoubtedly the happiest phase of my life so far (and I am so grateful for that!). I looked back and realised my hair was like a security blanket. Swept across my face through anxiety, uncertainty, depression and insecurity. I grew it because I wanted people to think I was beautiful.

I don’t feel like that anymore.

I posted on my social media that I was considering having my hair cut and asked if anyone had regretted cutting their long hair. Several ingenious readers suggested I donate my hair to a charity who made wigs for cancer patients, as it would be hard to have regrets after giving your hair to such a great cause.

This hadn’t even occurred to me, what a wonderful idea!

In India, hair is sometimes cut for religious reasons. The most notable example being the mundan ceremony during the first or third year of a baby’s life. It is believed to purify the child of their past life’s negativity, the hair is then offered to God. While it’s common to see children with shaved heads, the majority of women in Nagpur (the small traditional city where I live) have very long hair.

I sent my 40cm plait to the Little Princess Trust, a charity who makes wigs for children going through cancer treatment. I ended up cutting off a lot more hair than I had ever imagined so I could donate a good amount.

A weight was lifted and I immediately fell in love with how fresh my hair made me feel. My drastic change of hairstyle reflects how much I have grown in the last seven years. I always knew shorter hair would suit my face shape, but I didn’t have the confidence to cut it until now.

I feel more beautiful now, my new style has given me a huge confidence boost.

When I posted the photo, plait in hand, and I said how great I felt. I felt like I was walking on air for several hours after. The majority of the comments I received were so supportive and kind (I am really lucky that lovely people stumbled across my page, thank you!)!

I was really shocked though, not by my sudden lack of hair but by how many men sent me angry emojis, cries of horror, told me that I have really upset them and even hurt them.

I didn’t know there were men emotionally invested in my hair, which makes me even happier I gave it away!

Incase you were wondering, because a few people have asked, my husband loves my new hairstyle.

Across the centuries and the globe, long hair has been considered a symbol of beauty and femininity. The conventional idea of beauty society imposes on us isn’t for everyone, and hey, I live a pretty unconventional life. I believe we shouldn’t attempt to define beauty, we all have it in our own way.

Long hair is beautiful, short hair is beautiful and pixie cuts are beautiful. It all depends on how your hair makes you feel!

I cut away something which symbolised my unhappy self, I cut away that insecurity and fear. You could say I have cut away some of the negativity of my past. The hair I grew to help me feel beautiful will now go on and hopefully put a smile on the face of a Little Princess.

Cutting my hair has been an eye-opening and liberating experience (for so many reasons, no need to spend 20 minutes a day brushing it for starters)!

***

Tell me about your hairstyle history!

31 comments

  1. I think that for anybody who knows you either in person or digitally, it’s quite obvious that your loveliness is not just physical or reliant on the length of your hair – shave it off and you’d still be as lovely!
    It’s so interesting that the only negative comments that you’ve had have come from men, who I think (as a collective in society) have sadly a long way to go when it comes to accepting women as individuals who may act according to their own desires and not those of men.
    I would love to hear how people respond to your new hair when you go back to Nagpur! I have long dark hair and I admit that I’ve been cultivating it purely to fit in more (not that I ever will!) when I go to India, and (guiltily) because it helps me to feel attractive when I’m there,so I guess perhaps I have a way to go to…

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    • Thank you so much for your lovely comment ❤
      I will let you know what the reaction is once I am back!
      If your hair is making you feel beautiful when you look in the mirror and it’s doesn’t feel like a burden, I think you don’t have to go anywhere ❤❤❤
      Lots of love xx

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  2. I love this. I do think the short cut looks great on you and all your Indian beauty hair secrets have paid off. You’ll always have both sides of the coin when you ask or share something online. So it’s great you came across a great suggestion to do good through the change and end up very happy with the decision.
    As for me, I died my hair purple twice as a teenager. With boxed dye, and a pretty subtle hue. Otherwise, I haven’t messed with my hair much ever. I grow it out below my shoulders, then cut it to my shoulders, and repeat. I’ve wanted to try shorter, but everytime I go relatively short, it doesn’t work because I have very thick hair and a lot of it, and puffs the shorter it gets, so a longer and heavier style works better for me.

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  3. You look great!
    I myself cut my hair short after years and years of having them grow long. I went in steps though, last year in March I went from waist long to just shoulder lenght, this past March I went from mid back (they grew nicely in a year) to a short bob, and i went for a trim again two weeks ago.
    Short hairs are so much more manageable in this heat and humidity, and I really don’t have time to take care for long hair, or even want to take care of my hair when I could use that time to do something else.
    I find it interesting that you got negative comments from men about it. But it doesn’t surprise me, a lot of men struggle with women’s modern identity and the fact that we might have something else to do with our lives than taking care about things like hair and our physical appearance in general.

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  4. You look beautiful with short or long hair! It’s a very good (and brave) thing you did donating your hair to charity. I have an Indian friend who did this also recently and now she has a pixie short hair style, has lost lots of weight through going to the gym and looks great and has more confidence than ever!
    I’m completely with you on the hair = femininity myth. I get alopecia (from stress) and when I was at uni I lost half the hair on my head. The doctor said maybe it will all fall, maybe it won’t, maybe it will grow back, maybe it won’t.
    Suddenly faced with losing all my hair, maybe forever, I was faced with my own vanity. I’d always preached that it was the person inside that matters not the appearance. However, now I had found myself preparing to be inevitably judged by my appearance, I knew in my heart that I wasn’t confident enough about that person inside. I was forced to face and confront that person inside and come to some peace with living with them, or face the rest of my life being unhappy and bald.
    Thankfully, I decided that if all my hair did fall out I would get roses tattooed on my head and start a punk band and embrace my new look. I learnt a lot about myself – things we all need to remind ourselves now and again – the main one being that as long as you are trying your best to be a good person that is good enough. Not everyone will love you and there will be many undeserving of your love. There will be many unkind and judgemental types and if you are brave enough to bear your soul and unveil the person you are inside they will inevitably judge you – yet none of them will judge you as harshly as you judge yourself. When you can live with yourself then their words will have no effect.
    Some days, I feel like I’m still not sure I am fully ready to live with that person inside – my hair grew back – but every now and again when I’m stressed and unhappy, a little bit falls out, always in the same spot – maybe to remind me the lesson I learnt back then when it first happened.
    I wonder if anyone else has been inspired to donate their hair to charity after reading your blog? x

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  5. Hi Lauren!!!!!
    I have been a silent follower and reader of your blog.
    But today your haircut post was so much heavy with positive energy, couldn’t help but commenting.
    You look lovely dear , very beautiful god bless you.😍

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  6. The beauty of hair is that it grows and this knowledge has always given me the freedom to not worry too much about my hairstyle. I’ve had many different haircuts so far in my life and I feel that our connection to our hair (and by some extension our overall outward look) is part of our own personal journey that changes over time. For me what is important is how you feel and if having long, short, red or blue hair or a shaved head makes you feel good right now then thats what you should have!!! Your new hair cut looks great and whats more you can see that it has given you a new lease of energy which is wonderful!

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  7. Hi Lauren,

    I just wanted to say that you look beautiful! Your adventure has been inspiring, as I am an American in love with a Marathi man myself, so has been extremely helpful to read about your experiences. I’ve been having trouble with pronouncing Marathi words and letters and was wondering if you had any tips as a native English speaker. I know you haven’t posted in a long time, but I hope you will again soon.

    -Jo

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  8. Hi there Lauren, I havn’t seen your posts on FB for a while. I hope everything is OK with you and your family. Take care ❤

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  9. Hello,, iv been looking for someone who really had the same experience of mine ( married to an indian ) so 2 years ago i found ur blog but during to some issues happened to us I forgot to email u. Now after everything settled down i would love to email u nd ask u about somethings .. would u pla share ur email

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  10. Hi! im glade that I’ve found your blog. I know i shouldn’t be writing this here, but i need to. I’ve found my indian bf online also, and after 14 months im planning to travel there. Im from Brazil, so we are really far away. Im on my 3rd year of psychology college life, i need more 2 to finish. But i don’t think that i can stay like this for 2 years more. I feel worried with him, he feels worried with me. Its a good thing to have someone to message anytime but also kills me to look to my phone, not to his face in person. So many things on my mind.
    We planned every little step of the procedures to apply for marriage, so i just need to apply for the visa, and he will pay for my trip. My parents knows about us, but the major “i will apply to go there and live with him” im struggling to tell.
    Every time that i look to my room, every moment i have with my parents i struggle while thinking and feeling afraid of leaving everything.
    When i think on myself seeing him at the airport, my heart feels such an intense happiness, but still, i feel sad of leaving everything.
    My college, my home, my parents. I know i can’t take all my stuff with me. Idont know what to feel. Last night i couldn’t sleep properly. it seems like everything is ending.
    My bf says that i think too much, and i start to struggle before anything. Thats true. But in this situation…im out of control.
    I don’t know which feeling i should take. I don’t know if i will get used to everything new. Im left handed like you. Im quite shy if i see people giggling at me. I like my own self space and independence.
    I don’t know if his family will like me or they will be only friendly. I don’t want to fail. If i go, i don’t want to go back home saying that i failed. I want to have a family with him. Every little thing is precious to me.
    Sometimes i don’t know if im right or not. If im so in love that im not thinking, maybe this feeling will disappear with the time, but its 14 months and grew up more stronger every day. I think you had the same feelings. Sorry for writing all this…but my heart is so confused. :/

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  11. Hey lauren,
    I found your blog while I was looking for some inspiration to overcome my anxiety about my inter faith relationship!
    And it has strengthened my faith in relationships in general,so really thank you for that!
    I hope you are doing amazing in your life right now.

    Like

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