I haven’t dared cut it or change it too much since then, always preferring to play it safe in case it got damaged again. It finally grew back to the length it was before it all fell out and I swore that I would never have short hair again. I didn’t want to look in the mirror and be reminded of that time; I didn’t want to see the person I was then reflected back at me. I’d even go as far as to say that my hair became a safety blanket that I could use to hide behind letting it hang over my face as I walked down the street. Having long hair was proof that I was healthy, strong and out of that toxic relationship, that I wasn’t the same girl that I was back then because I didn’t look like her.
A couple of weeks ago I decided to cut my hair. I’ve been admiring shorter hairstyles (I’m looking at you Taylor Swift) for the past few years and thought about how I’d love to have my own hair that way but was too afraid to, not because of how it would look but because I wasn’t sure how I’d react to seeing myself that way again mentally. This year, with the help of my counsellor, I’ve been reconnecting with the old me who I shunned when I came out of that relationship. It was like I couldn’t deal with being that person anymore so I let her go and created a new identity so that I could move forward. In therapy I’ve been working on reclaiming those parts of myself that I cast aside and placing them back into my personality, kind of like a jigsaw. Being adventurous with my hair is just one of the jigsaw pieces.
Before and After My New Haircut
My family do this thing where when they see me making progress they say “we’re getting the old Jess back” for years I rejected and even hated that statement because I did not like the old Jess. She was the girl who was hit by her boyfriend, she was the girl who was manipulated, she was this version of myself that I hated being. For many years I’ve blamed her for the abuse and rejected her, rejected me. Now after a lot of therapy I look at that young girl and realise that It. Was. Not. Her. Fault. I realise that I even like her, she was strong and intelligent and got us out of a shit situation before it was too late. I might not be here writing this without her.
That day when I cut my hair was me accepting that girl back into my life with open arms. It was me picking up a heart-shaped, dusty old piece of jigsaw and putting it back into the space where it has always belonged.
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