My Big Chop

Shortly after I graduated from college, I stopped by my paternal grandmother's house on my way to the beach and she asked me when I was going to cut my hair short, not if but when. The implication was that all grown women had to cut their hair short as some final rite of passage. Seeing as I inherited my curly hair from the woman asking the question, I thought it was kind of odd. At the time it just seemed a shame to me to cut those curls. They were part of who I was. I was Meredith, the one with the curly hair (I went to college with more than a few Merediths.) There was absolutely no question in my mind of ever cutting my hair short.  IMG_20130107_151923Flash forward 17 years and my attitude was very much the same. Sure I had cut it up to my shoulders occasionally, but when you're lucky enough to have curls like mine it just seemed a shame to cut them off. Until I realized a couple of weeks ago, that I wasn't really enjoying having my curls anymore. Here I was with curly hair down to the middle of my back, but I was pulling them up into a bun pretty much every day.  Hair that long takes work and curly hair takes work, and as a mom, I just wasn't putting in the work anymore. I was in a rut, and it wasn't just my hair. Lots of moms go through this. We get so focused on getting things done, and making sure everyone else is prepared for stuff that we don't really take care of ourselves.

So, I decided late last week to give myself a jump start, shake things up if you will. In my case, it starts in the form of a haircut. I know you're probably floored, right? But for a curly girl like me this was a huge change.

Let's start with a little background on my hair. First, I didn't have hair until I was about 2 years old. As you'll see if you scroll down to the pics, I've spent the last thirty-six years making up for that.  Once I started growing hair, it came in thick and curly. The trouble with that is that my mom's hair is straight. This means that the person most inclined to help a growing girl with grooming tips and the like, had no idea what to do with my curls. So, the solution when I was about 10 was to cut it off.  So my mom took me to her hair dresser, a really very nice lady who worked out of her basement shop and loved to chat with my mom while she cut my hair. This would have been a lovely Steele Magnolias kind of moment in a a girl's life, if the woman cutting my hair hadn't been telling my mother about how she needed EYE SURGERY. In my mother's defense she let the near blind lady cut her own hair too.  Thus began a rather strained relationship between myself and the haircare professionals of the world. Some have looked at my thick curly hair as their personal styling playground, some have just looked perplexed, and some have just completely half-assed it and cut it the way they would strait hair. Unfortunately, the result has been far more bad experiences getting my hair cut than good ones.

So, I was super careful this time when looking for a salon to cut my hair. I asked for recommendations. I checked Yelp and Google for reviews. And I settled on Salon 730 in Fredericksburg, mostly based on the reviews. Then there was the question of how to cut it. I had gone up to shoulder length in the past, but I was ready for something that required less maintance and more drastic. I wanted a pixie, a very short pixie. Now, I have two strikes against me when it comes to short hair. First there are the curls, and second I'm a big girl. So, while Anne Hathaway and Michelle Williams might look amazing with their pixies, I'm aware that I'm not going to look like that. But I was ready to take a chance, and I'm glad I did.

20130107_110739So, I got up Monday morning and went to the salon. I told them what I wanted and they steered me to Kristen, who is not listed on their website, but who I can now recommend. I told her what I was looking for, showed some pics and warned her that I'd been burned in the past.  She completely understood and after making sure that I was sure about what I wanted to do, she put my long hair into two braids and chopped them off. Here's a picture of that carnage. We did the braids in the hopes of donating my hair to Locks of Love. Unfortunately, they do not take hair that has been bleached, and I did have strands in there that had been bleached.  Kristen thought they would take it anyway, but I called and confirmed after getting my hair cut that they couldn't use it. Bummer.

After a quick wash, Kristen proceeded to cut and style my now short hair into just what I wanted. She stopped and asked questions and verified what she was doing. She communicated with me while she was cutting my hair and not  about her need for eye surgery (Thank goodness), but about the change that I was likely to see with short hair and how to achieve that style on my own. It was absolutely the best experience I have ever had in a salon.

And, I'm truly happy with the result. I love the ease of it, and the fact that I need less of everything when dealing with my hair. Less time brushing it. Getting the tangles out of curly hair takes a long time. Less shampoo and conditioner. Less weight on the back of my head. I actually stepped on the scale the next morning and found that I had lost an entire pound. Yep, we cut off a pound of hair. Just less work in general. Plus, I can wear hats now! I was never able to wear hats before because they would never sit right over my curls.

I confess, there are moments when I miss my long hair a little bit especially when I feel the cold January wind on the back of my neck, but overall I'm very happy about this change. We also joined a gym last week, so who knows, maybe one change will snowball into more changes for the better.IMG_20130107_111543