For many, haircuts are routine appointments, meant to make hair more manageable, or small changes, used to mark new life events. For me, getting a haircut meant much more.
I have always felt pressure to have long hair. I think it was a way to cling to femininity; I've never been interested in makeup or even wearing clothes marketed toward women, so I think I felt that having longer hair would satisfy those who expected me to present femininely.
In order to even consider cutting my hair, I had to understand that my experience with gender is a personal thing. I had to understand that it is not my responsibility to style my hair the way people in my life would want. I had to get it through my head that my clothes, makeup and hair are mine alone.
This was more than accepting that hair length does not translate to femininity. It was more than understanding that people can be women and have short hair. It was about understanding that I am allowed to have a gender experience that does not align with what people might expect or prefer. Maybe I don't present myself as traditionally feminine, and maybe I don't match standard definitions of womanhood, but that's OK. It's OK to deviate from social norms, and it's OK to have non-normative gender experiences.
I was a nervous wreck when I was sitting in the chair at the salon, and not just because a person was using scissors very close to my face. I was nervous because I was thinking about all of the people in my life who would have unfavorable things to say about my decision. But, I'm ultimately happy with my haircut, and I'm comfortable with my gender, whatever it is. People who take issue with that are just pushing me to be someone I am not.