For the first time since 1996, when I insisted I wanted an Olympic gymnast inspired cut, I cried over a haircut. I melted into a hypocrite refusing any comfort of cuteness or promises of it growing out. I hung my hands around the back of naked neck and tried to process the emotional scalping I had just endured.
Even as it was happening, there seemed to be too much hair on the floor. But I lose hope at every haircut when my wet limp hair clings to my face, the salon mirrors reflecting every imperfection I perceive in my profile and complexion. I hoped against hope this would end the same way with a round brush and hairdryer breathing life into the cut.
I'm still replaying the next sequence of events in my mind where the stylist used a regular flat brush to slick my hair back insisting I was going to love it. Then I heard the clippers buzzing and felt the tiny teeth eating away the baby curlicue hairs on my neck. The finishing touches of leave-in spray conditioner greased me like a suckling pig ready for Sunday Roast. I forced a smile, paid, and then fled to the nearest bathroom I could find. Brisk rubbing with several paper towels took the greasy edge off but couldn't save the windblown pathetic bangs he had completely ignored. I salvaged what I could with a pair of bobby pins and hoped to lay low during my bus ride home.
The memories of the hyperbolic trauma of being mistaken for a boy left me self conscious and embarrassed. My 12-year-old self, trying to cover a short haircut and pre-pubescent figure with makeup and skirts, resurfaced with all her insecurities about her place in the world. I immediately started the shower when I got home, anxious to see the grease and memories wash down the drain. KOIT 99.5 played Journey, filling the steamy stall and reminding me of the paths that brought me to 29-years-old. My skin is eerily the same, an acne prone T zone that I still massage with apricot scrub. My figure is fuller though, my hips worthy of child bearing now. I hear the trickle down the drain, the hair catch basket swirling with brunette strays.
My pink hairdryer and my round brush know what to do. I let my hair sweep to the side it naturally falls. 12-year-old me fades away and the me of today stares back. I see my hips aren't the only thing that changed. The journey has gifted me confidence. No one will mistake me for a boy now.