I grew up in a religion in which certain things stayed restricted because it would either do us harm or bring bad luck. Much like the Jewish faith, I can't eat certain foods like pork or eggs. I have to be constantly mindful of my head in fear that I may fall and hit it. I can't walk around barefoot for fear that a parasite may enter through there. And, above all, I absolutely can not cut my hair short without asking for permission.
These rules bothered me for a long time. I knew that having long hair was a sign of good luck in my religion, but I like the way women with short curly hair looked. My whole life I've always had hair that was never any shorter than my mid back. I was allowed to cut the tips of to maintain healthy hair care, but short hair? Completely out of the question. I went through most of my "experimental" phase changing things about my body, but never once touching my hair. I was so bored with my hair, in fact, that I wore it in a ponytail every single day.
When I finally got into college, I decided that I wanted to change myself in a radical way. I wanted to be a new, refreshed version of myself. "Susana 2.0" as I called it. I had already pierced my ears and my nose, so I had exhausted the "get a piercing" option. I went to a hairstylist and asked her to dye my hair, but it didn't come out the shade of red I wanted it. It was more of a dark brown-red than a rose red. I stayed with the hair color for a while, deciding that I'd just let the color fade away and then I'd bleach my hair. A month or two passes after this and I'd just about given up "changing" myself. I was sad and miserable.
Then my sister asked my mom if she could cut her hair.
My mom thought it over a little bit and said that she'd have to see. After talking with my father, they both determined that it would be okay for her to cut the dead hair only, and that I could cut my hair as well if I wanted to. I took advantage of this and decided to cut off all the dead hair. My sister, the hairstylist of the family, tied my wet hair back at the spot I wanted to cut my hair—just at my shoulders. My sister took a deep breath, nervous to cut off so much of my hair and started to snip away. I felt the weight of my hair just fall off. It was an experience that I can't put into words. After I saw just how much hair had been cut, from my lower back all the way to my shoulders, I was ecstatic—I had never felt more beautiful in my life. I felt a world of possibilities open up before me. My hair was now too short to tie into a ponytail. I had to wear it down. I could now wear beanies, hats, headbands, etc. My clothes looked better on me. I felt like a new woman.
And I intend to stay with short hair for a while.