Monday, October 10, 2016

How Chopping Off 12 Inches of My Hair Gave Me Joy

Scientists say that hair is just dead cells and nothing else. So, if that's the case, why are we so attached to our hair? It seems to me there's a little more to the story. 

There's a story that's been circulated for years about Navajo soldiers and trackers in World War II being super human in their ability. The biggest factor in their success was their hair. The soldiers seemed to have a super human ability to sense the enemy, and track them, but when given their traditional military haircut, they no longer could use their extra senses and seemed almost at a total loss of skill. Some say it was similar to how a cat's whiskers help them track, but science hasn't ever proved it. That being said, though, it's a fascinating story, and living in Utah where we have Navajo populations, it's something I've heard before. To the Navajo, hair has meaning, contains thoughts from their lives, provides them with extrasensory functions and thus is vital to their healthy existence. 

Samson, from the Bible, lost his strength when Delilah cut his hair. People who practice witchcraft use hair as a symbol of the person the spell will be placed on (at least in movies, haha!). Is any of this true? I don't know for myself, but I do tend to believe in energies surrounding parts of us. 

My hair has been long for most of my entire life, with the exception of a few years in middle school at the end of the '90s when I had a bob haircut. I've always been very attached to my hair, and very proud of its ability to grow long, and stay healthy regardless of length. Over the past few years, I've been through the ringer with health and emotional stability. My grief gave way to intense depression, which then gave way to intense and crippling anxiety. 

As I've been battling to regain normal health and energy, I've felt like I've been constantly set back just when I was improving. I began to have some thoughts that one of the things I hadn't changed was my hair, and the myths and/or legends I've heard my entire life about hair and its capacity to store thoughts and feelings kept popping into my head.  

My hair was almost down to my pants waistband and getting a little unruly and quite heavy. I decided to make a hair appointment and chop it off. Chopping it off would possibly get rid of all the negative and painful thoughts, and feelings I'd been carrying around with me for all these months. Thoughts and feelings that, despite my best efforts to move past, just wouldn't leave me alone. It felt so right. I would chop the hair and leave the negativity stored in my hair on the floor of the salon.  

My hair grows 6-8 inches a year and it just seemed that I needed to cut the hair off my head that was growing when I was actively grieving my mom's cancer and her death. I had about 3-4 years of hair on my head, and I was desperate to remove two of those years, which would be about 12 inches of hair. The girl at the salon seemed excited to be cutting so much off my hair, and I couldn't wait to get it over with. I almost did it myself a few days before just out of sheer excitement in chopping off hair containing so much pain from my life. 

As the hair fell to the floor of the salon and made a pile that resembled a blond wig, I felt a huge weight lift off me. After my visit to the salon, I was laughing the whole way home in the car. I felt weightless. I texted a picture to a friend that practices Reiki, and she said my aura gave off a totally different vibe, a bright one that it hadn't when I'd seen her the weekend before. 

When I look in the mirror I feel like a new person. I look so different. It's not just the hair, everything feels different. It's like the months of pain and sorrow were left at the salon, and I can look forward with nothing holding me back. 

Do I believe in all of these legends or practices? I don't know. All I know is, I needed to get rid of that hair. Something was locked in it -- pain, grief, depression, anxiety -- I will never know for sure. I just know this -- there's a spring in my step, and my head feels weightless.

++ What's the boldest thing you've done with your hair? Do you believe any of these legends?

Join the conversation!

  1. Anytime I have been through a few rough years while growing my hair I will have it chopped off when life settles down a bit. It's a calming ritual after the store and I honestly believe there is negative energy contained in it. If I am not growing my beard or hair out when going through a rough time I will drastically change something or save money to get a new wardrobe that better defines me once the storm is over. <3 <3 GREAT POST! KEEP THEM COMING!!!

    1. Thank you for commenting! It really does feel like it makes a difference.

  2. I can totally see what your friend said about you cutting your hair. While it was really nice long, you look like you have such a great presence around you with it just below your shoulders. I love that you did that and hope you love it more and more as the days go by!

    Danielle | <3

    1. Thank you! It's been fun. It's kind of a learning experience on how to do it since I haven't had short hair since 1998. It's fun though. Now I get to experiment with all new hair styles.

  3. I don't know about powers but I tend to believe that drastic hair changes have psychological roots. I'd love to see if someone has done research on the subject.
    My most bold hair change was in my late teens when I was in love with someone (first love, type of thing). At one point I sensed that things had changed between us and felt the sudden urge to change something in my life. Up to that point I had never (of my own accord) cut my hair more than an inch or two at a time. I chopped it almost all off and since I'm blind as a bat and always wore glasses as a teen, I changed my glasses too.
    The next time I did something bold was after I came home from my mission and felt that I needed to feel cool and unrestricted, so I dyed the hair above my neck blood red.
    And the second (and last) time I chopped it off short was right before having my first baby in anticipation of the change coming to my life.
    I don't know that that's the case for other people or you but it certainly has been for me. Perhaps your cutting your hair this much is an indication of accepting your new life?
    Btw, you look beautiful with your new hair!

    1. It's got to be related to psychological stuff. I know girls that have totally shaved their heads after a trauma. Something just says, "I need to change things drastically." I love what you said about it being an indication I might be ready for my new life? I like that a lot. It's been 2 years since I lost my mom. Maybe it's the way I will transition out of grief and anxiety? Thanks for your awesome comment.

    2. I just realized you responded to my comment. I'm no psychologist but genetically a good observer ☺️. I am happy that in your case it's such a positive reason. I can only imagine what it is like to lose your mother and how that has affected you. You seem to have found the inward strength to emerge stronger eventually.
      I can't believe I just met you btw! We've lived here for a year and you are sincerely the most interesting person I've run into for years.

    3. Thank you, that's the nicest compliment I've gotten in a long time! I'm glad we met, too.


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