I Cut Off 14 Inches Of My Hair To Challenge My Idea Of Beauty

I Cut Off 14 Inches Of My Hair To Challenge My Idea Of Beauty

Getting a symbolic haircut is nothing new, but this is what it meant to me.
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A month ago, I had about 14 inches of my hair cut off.

Before this, I had “shampoo commercial hair.” It was normally anywhere from waist to hip-length, and it was straight, but I often curled it. I loved my hair, and it was a large part of my identity.

So, why did I cut it off if I loved it so much? I did it because my hair was such a large part of my identity.

Like many young people do, I grew up with a very fixed sense of what beauty was. A beautiful woman had flawless skin, perfect teeth, a toned yet “feminine” figure, she was sexy yet youthful, and, you guessed it, had long, flowing hair. That is what most of the beautiful people looked like in the media, so that is what I wanted to be.

In my mind, the only thing I had going for me was my long hair, so I focused on it and tried to make it the focal point of who I was in other’s eyes. It worked. I received endless compliments on how beautiful my hair was and questions as to how I got it to grow that long.

These compliments were not, in themselves, a negative thing. I felt more confident every time someone mentioned my hair. But this caused some cognitive conflict when I grew tired of my long hair, yet I felt it was my only redeeming physical trait.

For years, I told people I was going to chop off all my hair, and for years, people told me not to. It became this constant cycle of gaining enough confidence to cut my hair, getting excited and telling people, them telling me “but, your hair is so beautiful! Why would you want to do that?” and then me falling back into the mindset that my hair was what made me beautiful.

This doesn’t mean I didn’t think women with short hair weren’t beautiful. In fact, I loved the way it looked, but I was at a point that I was trying to compensate for the confidence I lacked in other parts of my appearance.

Since coming to college, I have been trying—as many students do—to transform myself into the person I want to become. This looks different for everyone. For some, it is professional development, and for others, it is an improvement of mental health, becoming more organized, volunteering, or anything that facilitates growth. For most of us, it is a collection of many different things.

One of the main things I wanted to work on was self-image and confidence. I had redefined what I thought beauty was. One of the most impactful things I discovered was that there was not one type of person that I defined as beautiful. I could see the beauty in all of these different women, so why was I confining myself to such a rigid standard of physical beauty?

Cutting my hair played into many of the things I wanted to do improve myself. I was able to donate my hair and contribute to my community. It made me feel more polished and professional going into my career. Most importantly, it was a was my symbolic rejection of what I had told myself was my worth for so long.

It would be crazy to tell you that cutting my hair fixed all my problems because it didn’t. What it did do, is prove to myself that I could feel beautiful and strong without my luscious locks, and my physical appearance was only a small part of what made me feel beautiful.

Cover Image Credit: Kassy Mendoza

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20 Small Tattoos With Big Meanings

Tattoos with meaning you can't deny.
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It's tough to find perfect tattoos with meaning.

You probably want something permanent on your body to mean something deeply, but how do you choose a tattoo that will still be significant in 5, 10, 15, or 50 years? Over time, tattoos have lost much of their stigma and many people consider them a form of art, but it's still possible to get a tattoo you regret.

So here are 20 tattoos you can't go wrong with. Each tattoo has its own unique meaning, but don't blame me if you still have to deal with questions that everyone with a tattoo is tired of hearing!

SEE RELATED: "Please Stop Asking What My Tattoos Mean"

1. A semicolon indicates a pause in a sentence but does not end. Sometimes it seems like you may have stopped, but you choose to continue on.


2. "A smooth sea never made a skilled sailor."


3. Top symbol: unclosed delta symbol which represents open to change. Bottom symbol: strategy.


4. "There are nights when the wolves are silent and only the moon howls."


5. Viking symbol meaning "create your own reality."


6. Greek symbol of Inguz: Where there's a will, there's a way.

7. Psalm 18:33 "He makes my feet like the feet of a deer; he causes me to stand on the heights."


8. 'Ohm' tattoo that represents 4 different states of consciousness and a world of illusion: waking (jagrat), dreaming (swapna), deep sleep (sushupti), transcendental state (turiya) and world of illusion (maya).


9. Alchemy: symbolizes copper, means love, balance, feminine beauty, and artistic creativity.


10. The Greek word “Meraki" means to do something with soul, passion, love, and creativity or to put yourself into whatever you do.


11. Malin (Skövde, Sweden) – you have to face setbacks to be able to go forward.

12. Symbol meaning "thief" from "The Hobbit." It was the rune Gandalf etched into Bilbo's door so the dwarves could find his house.


13. “Lux in tenebris" means “light in darkness."

14. Anchor Tattoo: symbolizing strength and stability, something (or someone) who holds you in place, and provides you the strength to hold on no matter how rough things get.

15."Ad Maiora" is translated literally as “Towards greater things." It is a formula of greeting used to wish more success in life, career or love.


16. A glyph means “explore." It was meant as a reminder for me to never stop exploring.

17. "Aut inveniam viam aut faciam," meaning roughly, "Either I shall find a way, or I will make one."


18. Lotus Flower. It grows in muddy water, and it is this environment that gives forth the flower's first and most literal meaning: rising and blooming above the murk to achieve enlightenment.

19. The zen (or ensō) circle to me represents enlightenment, the universe and the strength we all have inside of us.

20. Two meanings. The moon affirms life. It looks as if it is constantly changing. Can remind us of the inconsistency of life. It also symbolizes the continuous circular nature of time and even karma.


SEE ALSO: Sorry That You're Offended, But I Won't Apologize For My Tattoos


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11 Things All Beauty Wannabes Think Watching A Makeup Tutorial

I thought baking was for food only.

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Even though I don't wear much makeup on a day-to-day basis, I can appreciate it as an art. I watch James Charles, Jeffree Star, and the like on YouTube pretty frequently, and I am continually blown away at how they use products to highlight their best features, create designs, and transform their face. As much as I'd like to be able to, I don't think I will ever have those skills.

Here are some of the thoughts that run through my mind while watching a makeup tutorial.

1. "This MUA has so many makeup products I don't know how they keep track of it all."

At least for the YouTubers I watch, they have beauty or makeup rooms that have drawers, shelves, and tables filled with every makeup product from every brand. I don't know how they keep track of it all and decide which products to use for that particular look.

2. "They have such nice skin the foundation doesn't even seem necessary."

Practically every MUA video starts off with the MUA complaining about their acne breakouts, even though their skin looks absolutely flawless. Sure, the foundation makes their face look better, but it also seems like a waste to cover up naturally good skin.

3. "How do you match your foundation shade?"

It seems like an impossible feat, but even the MUAs struggle too. James Charles made a video about this after receiving comments about his foundation always being too orange.

4. "The highlight just makes their face look sweaty."

Yeah it looks cool, yeah it's a pop of fun, but I will always contend that overall, it just looks like sparkly sweat.

5. "What does the 'baking' step even do?"

You apply this white powder to your face, let it sit while you do other parts of the makeup routine, then brush it all off. What does it do while it's just sitting there? Plus, to me, their face doesn't even look that different in the before and after.

6. "With all the palettes and all the colors, how do they decide which shades to use?"

Between all the palettes of eyeshadow, they certainly have dozens, if not hundreds, of purple shades. Likely many of them are about the same hue too. So how do they decide which purple shade is best for the look?

7. "That has to be the most perfect winged eyeliner I've ever seen."

And they got it on the first try.

8. "They were able to make the other eye to match."

Between the eyeshadow and eyeliner, it's a mirror image.

9. "False eyelashes look scary but also really pretty."

I'm not personally a fan of the really big falsies, but I have to admit that they look better than natural eyelashes. It's just the gluing something to your eyeball part that makes me never want to try it.

10. "Wow, the lipstick just really brings the look together."

It's always the last step, so it's not until this point that they say "the look is complete."

11. "Even if I'd put in a lot of effort, I don't think I could ever replicate this look."

The whole point of a tutorial is so the audience can try it at home, but it will never truly look the same.

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