I am a female going to school on a college campus. So what? So that means I face peer pressure and the urge to compare myself with my fellow females every day. But if you think about it, peer pressure and comparison are nothing more than the product of our own interpretation. We subject ourselves to them, willingly enter into their restraining chains, and then sit there as if someone else did this to us. No. We do it to ourselves, and in a world where it has become the unspoken norm, it’s time to give ourselves the permission not to.
I was born with beautiful blondish hair – at least that’s how my Mom would describe it. My own interpretation of it was something more like, “thin, fine, and not good enough to be like (fill in the blank movie actress).” I have spent more hours than I’d like to admit comparing my hair to actresses on screen, trying to convince myself that, “mine really doesn’t look that much different than theirs, right?” But then I would go to the mirror and be disappointed to see my hair hanging flat around my face.
Enter the pixie cut trend of 2012. As a soon-to-be senior in high school, I finally had the courage and good enough reason to try chopping my hair into a sweet little pixie. After all, Jennifer Lawrence and Anne Hathaway did it, so at least I could still use Hollywood to justify my appearance. Well, it turned out that Hollywood became surprisingly insignificant as I fell deeper and deeper in love with my short, care-free, and totally appropriate new hair style. It no longer permitted me to compare my hair to the long, thick locks some women are born with, and it gave me the freedom to appreciate the texture of my hair that I could now see as beautifully blondish. Over time, my pixie even helped me to realize a new appreciation for my cheekbones, brown eyes, and little ears (thanks, Dad!). It fit me, and I confidently answered, “Nope!” whenever my hairdresser asked me if I’ve thought of letting it grow long again.
Three years later as a junior in college, I guess the pressure of that question got too heavy and I decided to give it a shot. It only took four months for me to already be using a round brush on my hair that was now approaching the length of a bob. I was proud for being patient enough to grow it out, and before long I was convincing myself that I was probably never that happy with a pixie cut anyways, because pixie cuts aren’t feminine and “young” enough for a 20-year old college student. But in just as short a time I was also using more product in an effort to feign volume, feeling fear and disgust each time I looked in the mirror, and contemplating how unjust it is that some guys have nicer hair than I do! I was remembering all the reasons why I had cut my hair short in the first place.
So last week while walking on campus, the wind blew my bangs into my eyes and that was it. I had had it with my “long” hair. Within a half hour I was in the chair at the salon, permitting myself to reclaim freedom from the chains of peer pressure and comparison once again. Back at my apartment I happily snapped a selfie and sent it to my mom captioned, “Just went and got my pixie back! <3”
Yes, I got my pixie back. But more importantly I got back peace with the mirror on my bathroom vanity and a joyous cheer of approval from the most important critic of all: me.