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On 2012, Split Ends, and 2013

December 29, 2012

I just got the worst ugliest haircut of my life.


I think it is quite probably the best thing that could happen to me right now.

OK – let me back track a bit and explain.

It all started last winter.

Sometime last December, my roommate M and I were in a café in the local Indigo. M pointed to someone behind me and told me that she could see me with a haircut like “that girl over there.” I turned around and looked at her and thought, “Hm, that would be different.”

She had hair similar to the likes of recent-day Emma Watson and Anne Hathaway – boyish short.

“I want my hair to be shoulder-length first, then grow it out really long again. Next winter, that’s when I’ll cut it all off,” I said to M.

Before February was over, I had gone to the local Aveda Salon and had gotten my hair cut shoulder-length. I liked it a lot.

At brunch, immediately after my haircut. (Ignore the crazy eyes.)

At brunch, immediately after my haircut. (Ignore the crazy eyes.)

Then my hair grew, and grew, and grew, and grew some more.

Long Hair

Sometimes, I got exasperated with it. But most of the time, I loved it. I loved the way it fell upon my shoulders. Then I loved the way it fell in cute little ringlets passed my shoulders. In the summer, I would wear a bow in my hair. On days when I felt lazy, I would pull it back in a bun.

But I loved it most these past couple of weeks. Maybe it was because I knew that I was going to cut it all off soon, or maybe it was because I loved the way I looked in my flannel night gown with my perfect ringlets bouncing with every step I took.

I think the latter is more true, for when I was at home, I had a tendency to imagine that I looked like her:

Audrey Hepburn in Roman Holiday

Audrey Hepburn in Roman Holiday (1953)


Obviously channeling Audrey Hepburn circa 1953.

As December 2012 approached, I thought more and more about cutting my hair. I had two options: cut it shoulder-length (again) or cut it all off. Part of me really wanted to go shoulder-length. I knew that was the safe route; I knew it would look really good. I’ve always thought that I looked best with shoulder-length hair. But another part of me really wanted to cut everything off.

As many of you readers already know, 2012 has been such an incredible year for me. I learned more about myself this year than I have in all of my 19 years! What’s more, I went through so many ups and downs that I felt like I needed to start afresh in 2013. I just needed to leave all the baggage behind.

So with all of that said, I increasingly began to think about chopping it all off. I peruse the net for pictures of ladies with short hair; I eventually narrowed it down to Audrey Hepburn, Emma Watson, Anne Hathaway, and Natalie Portman.

I went back and forth about it a few times – cutting it all off, I mean. But in the end, I thought, hey, I’m reinventing myself. 2013 is all about trying new things and not being afraid – not boxing yourself in. If you don’t do this, you’ll just hold onto your ‘old’ self forever. It’s symbolic; you need to do this. Besides, it’s just hair, it’ll grow back.

Hair has never been a big issue for me. I’ve never had a dream where something terrible happened to my hair, nor am I terrified of coming out of a salon looking like a mushroom head (which, might I add, did happen to me today. The coming out of a salon looking like a mushroom head part, not the being terrified part). I’ve got to say that I’ve had many bad-hair days in my life.

So it was settled then: it’s coming all off!

Now where to go to get it cut. Here too, I went back and forth a lot. Should I go to Civello, an upper-scale salon on Queen Street, in the heart of downtown Toronto, where I know I will 99% get a good haircut and a terrific pampering experience? OR should I take my chances, save $25+, and go to the Aveda institute where a wide-eyed student, new to the hair-cutting scene, would carry out the aforementioned deed?

I thought long and hard about this. Go down the sure-fire path or take the risky one? I decided on the latter because I thought 1) I would be saving money, 2) Isn’t the theme of 2013 all about taking risks and doing things that my old self wouldn’t normally do? and 3) I’m a writer. Wouldn’t I want someone to take a risk on me, give me a chance, and publish my stuff? In the same way, I’m taking a chance on the student and am giving him/her the chance to succeed.

I thought it could be a learning process for the both of us. He/she could practice on me, and I could learn how to be less like my old restricting self.

So on a Thursday morning, I booked my appointment for 3 p.m. on Saturday (today). As per instruction, I arrived a little earlier to get settled in. I was handed a slip with an inconspicuous name on it; I can’t even remember what it was now.

15 minutes later, a young friendly-looking guy approached me and introduced himself. His name was not the name on the slip. Uh, okay, I thought. Let’s just call him R. He couldn’t have been two years older than me. In fact, I think we were probably the same age!

When I sat down in the chair, we had a nice chat. I learned that he had dropped out of University earlier this year and had just started cutting hair in April. “Oh wow!” I said. I think he might have taken my surprise the wrong way; he probably thought I was nervous at the fact that he had only been cutting for a couple of months. But actually, my surprise wasn’t a bad thing; I had come prepared for a student on his/her first day.

“So what are we doing today?” he asked me.

“A haircut. I want it all off,” I said to him while beaming.

“Wow! All off?”

“Yes! I brought some pictures.”

He looked at the pictures and listened to what I had to say. Then he went and got his teacher and discussed it over with her. They nodded and whispered, fingered through my hair, and nodded and whispered some more. I was pretty content.

Then she left and just before he began, he told me a story – as if he was warning me somehow:

“You know, earlier this week, I had a client who also wanted to cut her hair all off. But at the last moment, she backed out and opted for a bob. She said she would do it the next time. Are you nervous?”

I was nervous, but not because I was chopping all of my hair off; I was nervous because this was where I was about to cross over to the “new me.” I was about to take everything I’ve learned this year and run with it.

“Well, I guess. I mean, I thought about backing out a couple of times, but you know what? It’s a new year, and it’s time for change! I’m going to do this.”

With that, he pulled my hair up into a ponytail and cut it off. Before I knew it, he was standing there, holding up a tail’s worth of hair – my hair. As I looked at the image of him in the mirror, holding up my hair, I was overcome with a wave of happiness… and peace.

I was leaving all of the bad stuff behind. All of the unhappiness that was created this year (and some from the years before) were all being left in the trash along with my hair. All of those split ends were now gone – figuratively and literally!

Then, he dived in. The end result is always a surprise for me because I can never see what’s going on when the artist is at work; I can’t wear my glasses.

So after about two hours of squinting at my novel, when he gave me the OK to put my glasses back on, I was plentiful surprised.

Holy Mackerel, I thought to myself.

I pointed out some areas around the ears that I felt were too long, and after snipping away at it some more, he allowed me to once again, put on my glasses.

Holy Mackerel, I thought to myself again.

“I like it!” I said to him.

“You look like a whole new person,” he said to me, beaming.

Exactly what I wanted, I thought.

While he went and got his teacher to take the final look, I glanced around the room. I guess they were closing up or something because the hustle and bustle of the hairdresser-hairdressee interaction had now dissipated. Only the former remained. I saw that many eyes were on me and many mouths moving at the speed of light. I had no doubt in my mind that they were thinking and saying, “That poor girl. Look at her hair.”

But in my mind, I was very, very pleased. I couldn’t help but smile.

After I said my thank-you’s and paid, I bounded onto the street. As I walked by each store, I glanced at my reflection in the window and couldn’t help but laugh out loud. I was so amused! So amused that I had just gotten the ugliest haircut ever. So amused that this event was entirely appropriate for the last few days of 2012. So amused that this event was entirely appropriate for the beginnings of 2013.

This is material! Something to write about! I thought.

Soon, I was underground, riding the train home. I couldn’t help but smile at everyone who looked my way. I felt renewed.

2013 is going to be great, I thought to myself. It’s going to be so amusing.

For the past two or three weeks, I’ve been having the feeling that 2013 is really going to be fantastic. The transition so far has been phenomenal; these past few months, especially, have been the best few months of my life. But now, with this new hair cut, I know that 2013 is just going to be great. And I’m always right about these things.

On January 2nd, 2012 at 3:17 p.m., I wrote in my journal:

“Holy crap, so many changes to get used to just to write the date! A new day, a new month, a new year! This is going to be a strange year, I can just feel it already. I do not know whether it is a good strange or bad strange… but I do know that it does already feel quite strange! I feel like this year will be one of very many discoveries. Well, we will just see how it all goes….”

And I was right. This year was strange, and it was certainly a year of discoveries.

So now, I can only hope that 2013 will be great, amusing, and full of opportunities for me to break free from my old restricting self.

Onward to 2013!

And now, what you’ve probably waited for all this time… some pictures!

**Warning: The pictures you see below are the result of lots of restyling and moose. They may even come across as… dare I say, cute!

With bangs.

With bangs.

With bangs (again).

Side part (no bangs)!

Side part (no bangs)!

And what I love so much is that I can now wear scarves in my hair and hats! They don’t slip off anymore!!

Mother has quite the impressive scarf collection.

A beret!

Finally, a winter hat that doesn’t slip off my head!


But what I love most of all is that you can finally see my face now.



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