New Beginnings


Shedding hair and shedding expectations. (PHOTO VIA FLICKR)


The first day after I moved out of my parents’ house, I dyed my hair black and blue and chopped it off to my chin. It was possibly the most absurd thing I could have done; rather than doing the rational thing and going to a professional (if sudden impulsive radical changes can be rational), I convinced my roommate to do it for me. Thankfully, I didn’t end up with the worst haircut on the planet.

I did end up with a couple of very disgruntled parents, though. I tried to hide it from them at first, remembering the time in high school I told my mother I wanted to cut my hair short and she warned me that I would look like a “dyke.” I did cut it short, and it ended up being her favorite haircut I’d ever had. She always judges until she knows. The first week I had cropped my hair, I wore a beanie every time I video-called home. My mother was suspicious right away; she’d convinced herself I only wear the beanie when I don’t shower. But she did come around the first time I cut my hair; she’ll learn to appreciate what this haircut meant to me, too.

[quote_center]In high school I told my mother I wanted to cut my hair short and she warned me that I would look like a “dyke.”[/quote_center]

Even though I knew they would be angry when they saw it, and even though I do value my parents’ opinions, I didn’t regret cutting my hair. I remembered growing up watching Mulan, learning that in many cultures cutting one’s hair is a symbol of cutting ties and new beginnings. Technically speaking, I’ve been an adult for a year now; my new beginning has already begun, so to speak. But of course, I didn’t exactly have a sword on hand to cut my hair symbolically the way Mulan did, so I had to make due with scissors. I could make do with a delayed beginning. Each piece of hair hitting the ground felt like an expectation I was letting fall to the wayside. In some ways, though it’s a fairly common action, it’s the most freeing thing I’ve ever done.

In the course of three weeks, I got a tattoo, scheduled a vacation, dyed my hair black, dyed my bangs blue, cut a few inches off my hair, and moved out. I’ve managed to somehow both appall and impress my parents in the process. I’m finally learning to be my own person after letting my parents make decisions for me for my entire life. This makes them proud as much as it scares them. My mother thinks I’ve hit my teenage rebellious phase a few years too late; I think I’m finally getting my new beginning.