I’ve never been much of a risk-taker in life; I’ve always been fairly contented (and even at times feeling inclined) to lay under-the-radar and go unnoticed by most. For practically my whole existence – and in all social settings except for a special few – I’ve kept to myself and resisted drawing attention, whether it is good or bad. Chances are, if you asked my entire graduated high school class about me, too many would respond, “Who’s Eve?”
But as I grow older and experience more life than I ever have before, I find myself no longer satisfied with being an “unnoticed” person who goes with the flow and follows everyone else. Life – and especially the stage I’m in right now: college – is meant to be lived to the fullest as a unique individual who isn’t afraid of who she is. So now as a sophomore who has experienced a year full of new people and new beginnings, I’ve decided it’s time to sculpt who I truly want to be.
And what better a place to start than my hair?
The reason I picked my hair this summer as a form of expression is because I’ve been interested for some time now in changing it up, but too afraid to go through with it. My hair has always been fairly long, and I’ve only ever dyed it from its natural dark brown to black (and blonde highlights once when I was feeling pretty radical). My concerns about cutting off 12 inches of hair and dying the remains purple were quite varied, and my questions about this unchartered territory seemingly unending:
How will everyone I know react? What will other girls think of me? What will guys think of me? What kind of first impression will this hair give to new people? What if my hair is what makes me pretty? What if I don’t like it?
But, as this was both the summer of change and the summer of Eve, altering my hair would be a way of making myself known to the world, giving myself a trademark, and being exactly whom I wish to be.
When I walked into the salon on the big day three weeks ago, I wanted to turn around and leave. I was beyond scared about leaving my comfort zone and facing people’s reactions afterward. But with a deep breath, I remembered how bad I wanted it deep down inside, and also that my mother would not exactly appreciate driving me all the way to this appointment to hold my hand through it like a fearful child (as per my request), only to watch me get cold feet.
No – the new Eve does not get cold feet. The new Eve is confident, cool, and ready to change for the better.
After five hours of sitting in a chair and nervously watching my stylist bring my visions to life, hoping I explained it all well enough, the job was complete.
And I won’t lie. I won’t hide the truth: I hated it. I thought I looked like a little boy with very progressive parents. I thought I had just removed a vital part of my appearance, as though my face depended on its surrounding material. I thought I had lost whatever beauty may have been there before.
If my mother weren’t there to tell me how much she loved it, I probably would’ve thrown a toddler-style fit to match my toddler-style hair and my toddler-style day. But thankfully, her and everyone in the salon showed so much interest in my hair and made me feel okay.
Going home and seeing friends and family was strange, just because I felt so different – and honestly, vulnerable – standing before them with such a different look about me. I had never thought of my hair before as clothing until I felt naked without it.
But between hanging out with friends and posting my new “do” on Instagram, I was showered with the love and support that allowed me to begin feeling happy about my new look. I’ve also received very kind words from strangers, which in addition to the encouragement from those I know has both instilled confidence in me and put my initial worries to rest.
With my new look has also come a new sense of who I am as a person. No longer hiding behind my hair (which I genuinely hadn’t realized I was doing until the hair was gone), I feel as though the world is now seeing a raw version of who I was before. Although I thought new hair would give me a new personality, I’m slowly coming to discover that the personality was always there. The person I am with my new hair was in fact always living inside me, waiting to bust out and show her unashamed face to the world, and it seems quite foolish that I ever thought otherwise.
And not only does my new hair make me feel assured, but it also makes me feel free! Just the fact that there’s less weight attached to me is lifting in itself, and as everyone always asks me: yes, it is very easy to take care of now! I’ve never been big into doing my hair, so this is the perfect style for me.
Now, three weeks into this novel sense of self, this “new” hair is simply my hair, and I can’t imagine myself without it. I went from saying at the salon, “I’m gonna grow it back out” to saying in my dorm room, “I’m never letting it grow out again.”
Never in a million years would I have imagined that short, purple hair would give me a renewed sense of self-esteem and capability. I was wrong to ever think, however, that the sense of self would be created along with the new look. I am still the same person I was before I cut my hair, and I will forever be this person no matter how I look. But revamping my style and having fun with it has refreshed my idea of who I am, and I wouldn’t change this experience – doubts and all – for the world. While changing the way you look can make you feel better about yourself, all the positive vibes come from within.
“If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude." -Maya Angelou