Two months ago I saw a picture of myself and gasped. Like I literally gasped. I can’t even show you the picture, because I deleted it after throwing up in my mouth a little.
My long hair — my security blanket, my love, my I’m-afraid-to-be-seen-so-I’ll-just-hide-behind-this-big-ass-blanket-of-hair — was weighing me down. I looked tired, weary, and uncomfortable. Despite having almost always been “the girl with long hair,” I suddenly wasn’t me.
I booked a hair consultation the next day.
When I went in, I told the stylist I wanted my hair to look like this (and if she could make the rest of me look like her, that was cool, too). After trying to bleach some of my raven tresses to no avail, we settled on purple extensions to complete my foray into the goth-lite realm, scheduled a full appointment out for the following week, and I spent the next several days emotionally parting ways with hair that was mere inches from my waist in the back.
It’s funny how, when something feels right, the fear subsides.
I sat down in the salon chair five days later; the stylist asked, “Are you ready?”
I took one blurry sans-glasses look into the mirror and emphatically responded, “Yes! This is so overdue.”
And with that, a foot of hair was chopped off in a matter of moments. Some two hours later I emerged a new person, not because I’d made a physical change, but because the physical finally matched the girl on the inside.
After a long two years of what I realize now was a severe struggle with depression, I looked in the mirror and finally saw myself in the reflection. I wasn’t the drab girl that “could be”; I wasn’t the girl who “if only.” I was me. Andrea. The girl with sexy — and much shorter — black and purple hair, who suddenly felt like she owned herself.
Mirrors. They only work if we’re brave enough to look.