This is an autobiographical post. The names of people and places may be changed.
We decided to write autobiographical posts about the colorful life we have lived. There will be tales of sleeping in a campervan on the beach, of defending a bird’s nest from a snake, and of running away from wolves while sick with bronchitis. There will be tales of diagnosis with PTSD and ADHD and how it changed our lives, of meeting biological family, and of job loss. It’s a tale of overcoming challenges, of finding out who we are, of love, hope, cats, and of a marriage that’s gotten stronger through it all.
Autobiography Post 5
As a child, I always liked pixie cuts.
As a child, I always had long hair.
My adoptive mother loved long hair. She kept mine down to my hips. My hair has always been very thick, and it took absolutely forever to wash, comb, and dry every single day. I have naturally oily hair, and if I don’t wash it every day it becomes a terrible mess.
When I became a preteen, I started to realize I could choose how I wanted my hair. I was becoming more independent, starting to learn who I was.
So when the family would go to the hair stylist we always used, I would ask her, “Can I have it really short?”
Her response would always be the same. “Not this time. Why would you want to cut off your beautiful hair?”
Every time I left with hair that wasn’t what I wanted. It wasn’t who I am. It was a frustrating and powerless experience. When I turned 16, I finally convinced the stylist to cut it off as short as I had ever had it before: a bob! I loved it. It was so light, it was so free! I felt so cute in it. The drastic change definitely got a lot of attention at the high school, all of it positive.
When I turned 18, it was my senior year of high school. My adoptive mother left to run errands while I got my hair cut. I showed the stylist a picture of what I wanted.
“My mother will hate it,” I warned her. “But it’s what I’ve always wanted.”
The stylist gave me my first pixie cut. Granted, it was actually much shorter than the picture. Throughout the process she kept saying, “I’m really nervous. I’ve never done this before.” But I loved it anyway!
My adoptive mother was furious. On the drive home she yelled and cried.
“Why would you do this to me?” she asked. “Do you want to punish me? Do you actually want to be a boy?”
The punishment continued all through the months my hair grew back out. She kept referring to me as “her son” meaning it as a form of bullying. However, I didn’t think it was insulting to be a boy, so I didn’t care what gender I was called.
The whole situation, however, was still very upsetting. After that I always kept it at a bob or just at shoulder’s length. I didn’t want to go through that again with her. Even when I reached my 20’s, got married, and lived on my own, I was too afraid. I knew when I saw her, she’d make a big deal and I wouldn’t hear the end of it. I also had gained a lot of weight during the time Dorian and I were laid off, and I worried short hair would show how round my face had become.
In 2022, I considered cutting my hair once more. At this point I had lost a lot of weight and had cut off ties with my adoptive family. I was learning who I was, exploring who I wanted to be, free from judgement.
Dorian also had a drastic change he wanted to make. “I’m balding,” he admitted with a sigh. “I’m becoming my father. I think I’m ready to just shave it off.”
One afternoon we both dropped into a nearby salon. We told them what we wanted.
The stylist looked at me with a smile. “Once I do this there’s no going back. Are you ready?”
“Yes,” I replied. “Let’s do this.”
She gave me the best haircut I ever received in my 32 years of life. When I looked into the mirror I was moved. I loved myself. I loved how I looked. I felt confident. I felt in control.
Now, a year later, I still have my beloved pixie cut. I cut it myself now. And Dorian has stayed bald, which we both love. I think he looks rugged with no hair and just a beard. When I look in the mirror, I’m reminded of how I fought for so many years for this. To others, it might just be a unique haircut for a woman, someone they pass a glance at while in the store. But to me, it means so much more.