Stressful events inspire you to change your appearance
Leave Britney alone.
In 2007, Britney Spears walked into a salon and shaved her head. It’s said that she suffered a mental breakdown after being denied access to her children.
This was her outcry.
Rebecca Newman, a Philadelphia-based psychotherapist says, “When we’re going through a period of transition that is particularly painful we tend to make decisions that provide immediate relief”. We want to free ourselves from intense emotions. Newman says that changing our physical appearance can feel like shedding a layer of skin which makes us feel better.
It’s normal to go through physical change after stressful experiences. It’s “an effort to construct a particular kind of self,” explains researcher Kiecolt. This may include changing your image to match who you’d like- or need- to be.
Hair is often seen as a symbol of beauty for women. Deciding whether or not to cut your hair, therefore, is an act of vulnerability. It’s the risk of being exposed.
I cut my hair in quarantine, in the summer of 2020. I’d been thinking about it for months. A roller coaster of changes was happening. I’d decided to mentally undo childhood programming. I’d lost relationships with friends and family.
Almost everyone told me not to.
My brother said, “Don’t do it. Guys like girls with long hair.”
A close friend said, “Don’t do it. Black people’s hair doesn’t grow like that.” She was battling with her own hair growth at the time.
My parents were over it at this point.
Despite all of the concerned comments, those dead ends needed to go. So often we hang on them out of fear. They keep us broken and stunt growth. I needed to reclaim my self-worth and create a more powerful version of myself.
Cutting your hair requires confidence. It’s knowing that, even if you absolutely hate it, you’ll be okay. It doesn’t change your worth.
Before cutting my hair, I researched my Kibbie style. Kibbie uses the natural lines and angles of your body along with balancing your masculine and feminine features to pinpoint the hairstyle, clothing, and makeup that suits you best- not what the next trend says you should wear.
After finding my Kibbie style (which referenced Halle Berry, heyyyy!), I showed my hairdresser the hairstyles I liked. She cut my tresses into a short, sultry ‘do.
Guess what? Everybody loved it. My brother, my friend, strangers, and most importantly me.
I had faced my fears and it had given me a renewed sense of bravery, confidence, and attitude.
If you feel the urge to cut your hair but are still absolutely terrified, test it out. There can be so much taboo around natural vs. fake hair, but we forget that hair is also a form of expression. Don’t be afraid to rock a wig or get a weave to see how you’ll look.
You can also release this emotional weight in other ways, such as:
- Changing your wardrobe
- Getting rid of clutter
- Changing your makeup style
- Starting a new hobby
- Going skinny dipping
Whatever you decide, change is coming.
You’re at a turbulent emotional and mental period of your life. Surround yourself with the support you need. Whether it’s therapy, friends, prayer or writing, recognize the signs of emotional overwhelm and change your environment. Reach out to someone who is responsive and compassionate to your needs and rock that hair!
Thanks for reading,
Originally published on Medium