This morning, I went to get a haircut and I asked my stylist to chop it all off.
All year, actually for several years, my hair has mostly hung halfway down my back. I’ve kept it that way out of love for long hair, out of attachment to the me who looks like that, and out of fear of what may happen if I let it all go (a note to the fear: it always grows back). I’ve talked a big game about making a big change but I always chicken out once I’m in the chair. I’ll show the stylist all of the photos I’ve pinned of celebrities and the like but when she asks things like, “Do you want it short here like she has it or do you want to be able to pull it into a ponytail?” I go with, “Oh I still want to pull it into a ponytail.” Every single time.
But this time I wanted it gone. The ponytail, the length, all of it.
It was more than new year, new hair. Although how can you not love the symbolism of that, starting a new year with a new look? How perfect to be able to see and feel the difference when you wake up on the first of January? It’s far more effective, I think, to have a touchstone for the real difference between one year and the next, than to simply turn another calendar page or feel the struggle of remembering to change the number at the end on the rare occasion that you write out the year. Hair, actual strands growing from your head that go with you everywhere, feel like a pretty good touchstone. When you wake up in the morning and look in the mirror, you’ll know something is different.
But, also, I wanted to build up a fresh start. I wanted to cut loose a lot of the past year and move into the new a little lighter. With cleaner lines and less weighing me down.
Some years I cling to with white knuckles, even beyond the moment when the last numbers on the clock finally turn. Some years, I’d shudder at the idea of a New Year’s Eve haircut, reluctant to let anything that traveled the year with me go free. But 2015, for all its beauty and loveliness and big beautiful moments, was also overwhelming in a way I can only describe now as constricting. And I’m ready to break out of that.
It used to be that, at the end of a year like this, a year I don’t feel particularly compelled to cling to, I’d be frantically writing resolutions and reflecting like a madwoman, trying to grasp what went wrong so that I could save the new year from such blemishes. But I’m starting to learn that this is simply just life. There are years that feel magical and shine all rosy and sparkly at the end and there are years that feel like a wild train driven by a maniac and I simply can’t wait to hop off. I’m also starting to learn that the moment to hop off doesn’t always have to come at the end. There is no rule that says that a year set into a whirlwind of motion must remain in a whirlwind of motion until the last second. It’s mostly my inertia that keeps me spinning until December is over.
So today, I’m feeling a bit frantic but I don’t have that crazy look in my eye as I try to hole up with my journal and put words to the year so I can fix everything by tomorrow morning. Instead, I’m trying to settle. To sit and breathe for a bit. To hug my people closer and give myself the space to just be for a bit in an effort to prevent tomorrow morning from whipping up a new frenzy. As soon as I type the last word here, the laptop will close, and we’re gonna turn up the music and bake a cake and I think if any year has ever called for a pajama new years eve, this one is singing for it.
I plan to take a bit more control of the frenzy next year so it’s time to rest up and get ready for it. It’s also time to curl up in my blessings because no matter what the year has brought, it ends with me and my people and that means so much good.
Oh, and as for my hair? My stylist wisely advised me to not let it all go. Apparently I have too much hair to go above my shoulders. But we cut it shorter, letting a little go and keeping a little too. As one should.
Happy New Year to you and yours. May you hug your blessings close tonight and embrace the new in the morning.