“I like long hair better.”
There’s nothing like the feeling of your boyfriend telling you to change something about yourself. There’s nothing that can really prepare you for that. For years I had been told to always be true to who I am; to be proud of the beauty God has given to me. I don’t know when that light switched. I can’t pinpoint the exact moment in which I started wanting to be less like me and more like every one else, but regardless, it happened.
I don’t know if he thought I looked young, or plain, or not attractive, but for some reason, my shoulder length hair was not enough for him. I wanted to please him. I wanted to make him happy. I wanted to be one of those girls whose pictures he liked on Instagram. Yes, I noticed those little things. That’s how insecure I had gotten. That’s how broken he made me feel. I wanted his attention. Most of all, I wanted his love.
So, I changed it. I got extensions. Long ones. I hated my now “past-my-boobs-length” hair. It was unmanageable. It was heavy. It got tangled often and it hurt when I tried to tame it. I hated it. But I loved his reaction. He loved it. He thought I was beautiful. He loved me. Or so I thought.
The newness of my long Rapunzel hair wore off in a week and then it was back to the same old thing. His coldness, my insecurity. His disregard, my pain. It finally became clear to me that no matter what I did, this man would never love me. This relationship was unmanageable. My heart was always heavy. His hold on me became tangled around my neck and my life, and it hurt. These fake tresses of mine became a metaphor for the heartbreak I had held on for far too long.
I broke up with him. I removed my extensions and cut my hair. Chin-length hair was the new me. He would’ve hated it, but I loved it. I loved how easy it became. I loved how light my heart was. I loved how free I felt because I no longer had his hands, or that beloved hair, around my neck. I was free.
It’s been three years. My hair is still short. I am still free. And finally, I am proud.