Pop star Britney Spears is known globally for a variety of reasons, whether it be for her hit songs, having dated Justin Timberlake, or having a little sister that was the star of a past children's show. Although she could be recognized for all of these reasons and more, perhaps her most memorable moment was in 2007 when she shocked the world by shaving off her luscious blonde hair.
Tabloids were all over the situation in order to benefit financially. They made Britney out to be deranged and focused on the peculiarity of the situation instead of what caused it. The public was left knowing that Britney Spears had essentially lost her mind, but many weren't informed about what she was going through at the time. She had just gotten divorced and was in a heated custody battle over her child. Shaving off her hair was really just a cry for help.
A little more than 10 years later, this incident is used as a meme and is often accompanied by a comment that it's easier to understand her meltdown now that us generation X kids have grown and have had struggles of our own. I especially can understand the way that hardships can cause someone to want to change something, anything, about themselves.
Maybe I didn't go as far as shaving my head, but similar to Britney, I decided to change my look when my life took a sudden turn. I was entering my junior year of high school, which everyone warned would be the most challenging. I had just experienced my first major heartbreak, changed my entire circle of friends, and stopped playing the sport which at one point had helped to define me. All of this caused me to no longer feel like myself and I figured that if my personality was suddenly reforming, my physical appearance should accompany that.
It all started with a rash decision to dye my hair blonde. It wasn't something I'd planned on doing or thought much about, I just suddenly found myself at the hair salon at the point of no return. I'd never dyed my hair before, not even temporarily. I knew it would be something drastically new, but that felt necessary.
It took about three times dying it to get the color I wanted. The first two times were too brown; it felt too much like my natural look. I wanted to reinvent myself, and a few highlights weren't going to cut it.
Just weeks later, I decided to take my new look one step further and cut the hair that had grown down to my abdomen all the way up to my shoulders. It hadn't been even close to that length in over five years which terrified me and even caused me to cry when I saw it for the first time. Eventually, I accepted the fact that like my life, my hair would briefly be unrecognizable.
I continue to change my hairstyle and color when my life abruptly transforms. Less than two months ago, I cut my hair back to that short length and dyed it red when I was stressed about beginning college. I'd never been away from home for even a few days at a time and I've never had such a heavy workload, so life felt drastically different once again.
Maybe the blonde or the very short hair wasn't my best look, but I'm glad I did it and I recommend that other people do something of a similar fashion when their life begins to reform. It can be very therapeutic to see yourself in a different light, no matter how drastic the modification is. Changing your hair can be seen as symbolic because it's a temporary adjustment, just like whatever obstacle you're suffering through at the time.