The Big Chop

Back when I vowed to run a half marathon, I mentioned that I was having a recurring dream about chopping off my hair. Any dream dictionary will tell you that willingly cutting off your hair indicates reshaping your thinking, or shedding (pardon the pun) unwanted thoughts and emotions. A big chop is a metaphorical fresh start. It took me a month and a half to mentally prepare myself.

When I went to see my hairdresser in February, she asked if we were just doing the usual – a trim and touching up the colour.

“No. I want to chop it. Let’s chop it.”

“When you say ‘chop it’, how much are we talking here?”

“Maybe 5 or 6 inches?”

“Are you going to cry? I’m not chopping it if you’re going to cry.”

“I won’t cry. I want to chop it. Chop it. I’m ready.”

“Are you SURE you’re not going to cry?”

“I WON’T cry!”

“If you’re going to cry, you’re going to have to go outside. I can’t deal with tears in my salon. This is a tear-free salon.”

“I PROMISE I won’t cry. I don’t think. Please, just chop it.”

“You’re going to cry. I know what you’re like with your hair. You have to wait until you get in your car to cry. If you cry, I’ll start crying. I can’t deal with the tears.”

“For the love of all things good, JUST CHOP IT!”

Sometimes I think my hairdresser knows me better than I know myself. I’ve been going to her for more than ten years. She’s been privy to all of the ups and downs in my life during this period.

When she was finished cutting, I looked in the mirror. She’d taken less off than I wanted. I looked at the floor. I looked back at the mirror. My hair was short, by my standards. I looked back at the floor, at the sheer length that she had cut off. My eyes welled up.

I felt this overwhelming sense of relief.

“I’m just SO happy. I feel so much lighter. I promise I’m not going to cry, I’m just a bit teary. But they’re GOOD tears. I promise! I LOVE IT.”

My hairdresser rolled her eyes and went to mix up my colour.

It has taken me the better part of a year, but my hair is finally around the length that I first had in mind I wanted about eight months ago.

Every six weeks, I would go a bit shorter than the previous visit. Baby steps. I think my hairdresser was concerned I’d have a breakdown while I was sitting in the hot seat.

I could certainly stand to go another inch shorter… but now that we’re just a little over a year out from our wedding, I think it’s probably time that I started growing it again.