I am not a brave person when it comes to changing my hair: the only reason why I have the hairstyle I do today is completely due to my laziness to go for regular trims at the salon. I shaved off half of my ass-length hair one and a half years ago; it was both the best and worst hair-related decision I have made thus far. Now that I have decided to grow it back (some of you -- nay, most -- may rejoice), I would like to impart whatever wisdom I have managed to glean from such a reckless decision.
Okay truth is, I'll just miss it like hell and have therefore decided to dedicate a post to my hair.
"My face is too wide. D'you think I can actually pull this off??" x 10000 to every Tom, Dick and Harry that seemed even halfway capable of giving an opinion. The amount of deliberation to finally arrive at getting a massive undercut is unfathomable: the Japanese lady who had the dubious honor of first snip was more apprehensive about the whole issue than I ever was.
"Are you sure? You have such nice, long hair!"
"Just do it."
She screamed louder than I did.
Albeit a seemingly irrevocable mistake, I felt a huge rush of relief. It's good to do something stupid with our hair while we're still young; it's a rite of passage. I've never bleached my hair or gotten ridiculous colors due to having a mother who vehemently opposed anything of the sort, so this is what happened instead (hey look ma, no hair!). I'd hazard a guess she'd vastly prefer me with blue hair than be missing half of it.
Oddly enough, having half of my considerably-sized noggin not constantly hidden beneath a forest of hair (a futile attempt to hide my wide bone structure) forced me to finally accept what I hated about my looks the most. Consequentially, the rest of my insecurities and my desire to emulate the common standard of beauty (smoky eyes, nude lips, poofy hair, perfectly groomed eyebrows, push-up bra, short dress) fell away as easily as my hair did to the ground. I was no longer what men deemed "attractive" in the general sense; why stress about it any longer? In order to fully embrace myself, I had to completely and totally negate whatever the hell I thought was supposed to be attractive to other people. I started dressing for myself, doing my make up for myself -- I was far less afraid to capitalize on my own desires in regards to how I wanted to look. I guess you can say it was the first of many steps to feeling comfortable in my own skin.
I do realize there's nothing even remotely groundbreaking about an undercut, but shaving off any portion of my hair was a huge stretch for someone who watched all of her hairdressers like a hawk to ensure they didn't trim more than an inch off her glorious mane. You'd be hard-pressed to find somebody as chickensh*t as I was in regards to radical hairstyles. A bad experience in the fourth grade had traumatized me enough: let's leave it at the word "sideburns". Conversations such as "hey Vanessa, can I ask you something?" "Yeah, what?" "Why are you so ugly?" "... I don't know" put me off of anything deemed unpopular.
It may have taken some extreme measures to finally accept myself, flaws and whatnot, but I can say I am an infinitely better person for it. Confidence is a lengthy and arduous journey: take it from somebody who has struggled with an eating disorder since she was eleven. Present Vanessa can rock dark purple/black lipstick, no problem. Something totally abnormal, strange and borderline ugly? Bring it on. It's not so much how something looks than how you feel about it.
Now for some semi-practical advice on having an undercut:
1. Don't be shy with your make up: the bolder, the better.
2. What doesn't work, will grow out.
3. What's done is done. You have no choice but to rock the living hell out of it. Remember, you are in a most advantageous position.
4. Invest in a hair clipper and bug your friends to shave your head instead of going to the salon every. Other. Week.
5. It's easy to cover up if you only shave one-third of it.
6. Girls, you will finally understand why boys are so anal about getting haircuts all the time. It ain't called a fresh fade for nothin'.
7. Enjoy a harmless smirk to yourself every now and then when you encounter girls who tried to fake an undercut. Pussies.
8. Donate your hair to organizations such as the Canadian Cancer Society or Locks of Love. Shaving your head should, in a perfect world, always be a choice.
I may not know how I am going to grow this out, nor do I have the slightest idea how ridiculous I may or may not appear upon going through that awkward fluffy grow-out phase, but I have zero regrets. Barring all the "love the hair, dude", "wtf did you do to your head cover it right now", to a few silent-but-determined attempts to flip my hair over the offending bald spot, it's been a sick run.
Do what you want to do and own it. There is no other way to exist.