Cutting out opinions

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Last week, I got what has turned out to be an Important Haircut. Now you might be asking yourself – what qualifies as an Important Haircut? I am more than happy to break it down for you. An important haircut is any kind of cut that is something different to what you would usually get done, anything that is a style you’ve always wanted but were never brave enough to do before, or any haircut that makes you feel particularly good or revolutionises your life in any way. My latest haircut is almost all of these things for me, with the added ‘bonus’ of people telling me their opinions about it – whether I asked for them or not.

Before you ask, no I am not going to talking about my haircut for this entire article. It’s just the hair on my head, so it’s nothing too amazing or new. However, for some reason I’ve had a lot of reactions to it. What is even more interesting is the way it’s made me feel about myself.

I have gorgeous hair – I’m not going to skirt around that, because I know it and I’ve been told it so many times throughout my life. I also do not like having long hair, because my hair is very thick and I have a lot of it, and I hate faffing around with it. Since I got all of my hair cut off a week ago, I haven’t had to dry it once and I haven’t had to straighten it. This has cut down my morning routine incredibly, so I have more time to spend on the parts of my appearance that I prefer to focus my time and energy on. For example, since cutting my hair super short, my eyeliner game has stepped up massively. My outfits have been cuter than usual. Essentially, without the added pressure of having my hair to deal with, I can look the way I want and feel good about it.

What I have learnt since my Important Haircut is that – and this might seem a bit obvious – it’s important to enjoy how you look regardless of how other people feel about it. I have had people flat-out tell me that they do not like my hair how it is now and, ultimately, it doesn’t matter because I love it and I love how little effort it is. I love how it looks cute in contrast with the makeup I like to wear, but also it’s important to realise that doing something with your appearance that is new is likely to be nerve wracking. As soon as I stepped out of the hairdressers a week ago, I didn’t like my hair. I thought it was too short and that people would tell me they didn’t like it, and they no longer liked my appearance in general. Turns out that people were going to tell me they didn’t like it anyway, but the world didn’t end. Other people have told me that they do like it, but at the same time, after the initial shock of how different it looked wore off, I like it too.

Enjoying how you look is so important. Trying out new things because you WANT to do them is important. Nobody should ever feel pressured to dress in a way they are not comfortable with. ‘Comfortable’ doesn’t have to mean literally comfortable clothes, but rather something you feel good about yourself in. If that means wearing trackies and a snuggly jumper, then go ahead. If that means wearing a dress and having killer contour, that’s also fi ne. Dressing how you want to dress is of the utmost importance. As long as it’s not obscene, it’s all good.

Of course, one of the problems with wanting to dress in a way that makes you feel content can sometimes be inhibited by having issues finding them at all, whether this is due to money, not being able finding your size, or both. Money and sizing issues used to hold me back from looking how I want for years; I have always been envious of girls who live in dresses, girls with cute boots and girls who knew how to make up their faces properly. I used to live in jeans and band t-shirts, but not because I necessarily wanted to. I’m a big girl and I’ve always been a big girl; mostly I used to wear these things because I was self-conscious and I wanted to hide in them.

However, one day during second year I was shopping with a friend and I saw a cute dress with birds on it that was in my size and wasn’t overpriced. I bought it then and there and I finally had a taste of what I wanted to feel like. I haven’t looked back since, but I have also learnt to incorporate things I liked about how I dressed before. I have kept my favourite band shirts, but I’ve found better-fitting shoes. I ditched my Vans and Converse for Doc Martens. I gave up on hoodies and now I own cute jumpers. The most important thing, though, is that I rarely leave the house now feeling uncomfortable in what I’m wearing, which has done wonders for my confidence.

As far as I’m concerned, the Important Haircut I had last week is just another step in discovering myself and the way I like to feel about myself. So if you want to cut all your hair off , you do you. If you want to grow it out, wonderful! If you want to rock a cateye or if you want to go make-up free, that’s wholly your choice. Just make sure you enjoy how you feel, because there’s no point in not being kind to yourself.

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About Author

Helen Edworthy is a former News & Comment Editor at bathimpact (2013/14). She writes about student and equality issues, popular culture and the University of Bath.

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