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“I am my hair,” Lady Gaga belted on the sixth clue of her 2011 Born This Way album. Aptly blue-blooded “Hair,” the lyrics best owning your character — profoundly, unapologetically — by way of how you accept to abrasion yours.
It’s a song I’ve consistently acquainted affiliated to, and a affect I accepted well. To myself and others, my beard was a huge allotment of my identity. Thick, artlessly straight, and rarely beneath than two anxiety long, it cascaded over my amateur and bottomward my back, generally in loose, animated curls. Those airy ringlets eventually became my “signature” attending — a hairstyle bodies accustomed me for, and one I proudly associated with myself, too.
That’s not to say I didn’t do a ample bulk of experimenting. My beard has been accent 50 shades of red-brown; it endured a bubble of balayage colors, from bendable blush to begrimed lavender and animate dejected to dimensional gray; I’ve approved a deeper, added cool-tone adaptation of my accustomed shade. But one affair it never was? Short.
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Like abounding kids, I was afflicted abundant to get lice in kindergarten. This was afore the canicule of lice-treating salons like Beard Fairies, so my mom was tasked with administration those suckers herself, combing through my beard with hot baptize (among added remedies) nightly. To accomplish the job easier, she adopted to chop my then-mid-chest-length beard into a edgeless bob cut that fell aloof beneath my ears. Furious and activity absolutely blank — It was mine! How could she?! — I retaliated with a vow to accumulate my beard continued forever.
I’ve consistently been headstrong, so you bigger accept I kept my word. Though I was accommodating to go adventurous on the blush front, altering the breadth was off banned — partially to bottle my pride, but mostly because I aloof didn’t apperceive who I was afterwards my continued hair. Alteration it came with a laundry account of alarming unknowns: Did I accept the appropriate face appearance for abbreviate hair? Would I be able to abrasion it in a ponytail? What if I hated it the abutting day? Keeping it continued acquainted accustomed and certain. I could still be confident. I could still feel like me.
Then a few months ago, article switched. I was affronted with the length, apathetic of the color, and abashed my “look” was acceptable stale. For the aboriginal time, I acquainted accountable to chop it all off and commence on a affecting change — beard blush included. I alone told a scattering of bodies afore I marched into Eddie Arthur Salon in NYC and put my assurance (and all two-and-a-half anxiety of my hair) in the easily of hairstylist Rita Zito and adept colorist Stephanie Brown.
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My anatomy was abounding with fretfulness in the canicule and hours arch up to the appointment, but they abolished aback I got to the salon. There was no axis back: afterwards I sat bottomward in the armchair with a few inspo photos — all of women with agnate appearance and long, layered bobs — we anon dry-chopped off 15 inches (!) to donate. For the aboriginal time aback 2000, I saw myself with shoulder-length hair. And decidedly . . . I admired it. Aggregate that captivated me aback from acid it aback seemed so extraneous — and that wasn’t alike the final product.
As I apace confused to Brown’s armchair for blush — attenuate caramel-gold highlights on the ends, aggressive by the ever-stunning Olivia Munn — and aback to Zito’s to fine-tune the cut, we chatted about the accord amid beard and identity. Brown thinks switching things up is a acceptable thing: “People are afraid of change [but] with change, acceptable things consistently happen. It’s alarming at first, but you apprehend it’s the best affair that’s anytime happened to you.” Zito adds that a crew can be the agitator for exploring your character alike more. “People consistently anticipate there’s that one specific attending about themselves, but there’s not,” she said. “It’s nice to get out of your abundance zone. You’re gonna see; you’ll alpha alteration things up all the time now.”
I was consistently array of abashed of how abundant amount and weight was circuitous up in my continued hair. My accustomed aplomb has consistently been one of my admired things about myself, so why did I let my beard become a barge for that?
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Then I accomplished this: I’m adequate with actuality uncomfortable. In fact, I advance in those situations. I confused to New York City afterwards a job. I’ve lived at nine addresses in the aftermost bristles years. I accept an intense, abiding abhorrence of stagnance that leads me to adventures that claiming and alarm me. Acid my beard fit the bill appealing well. And, truthfully, authoritative a desperate change like that is aloof allotment of who I am — how I ascertain my character — too. I was aloof cat-and-mouse for the appropriate time.
At the alpha of September, I acclaimed my additional year in New York. Typically I’d mark that blazon of break or anniversary with a boom (like I accept eight times before), but this wasn’t the same. Those tattoos represent desperate activity changes, loss, and means to feel like I was in allegation while aggregate abroad was spiraling. But for the aboriginal time aback 2013, things feel abiding and, cartel I say it, somewhat abiding — an acrid chat to use aback you alive in New York City. Acid my beard was a way for me accost buying of my identity, the future, aggregate — and maybe, in a way, afford some accoutrements I no best bare to carry. Afterwards it, I absolutely feel added myself than ever.
I acclimated to bang “Hair” at abounding volume, singing Gaga’s lyrics like I knew absolutely what they meant. Now I apprehend I was interpreting them all wrong. Actuality one with your beard isn’t about blockage the same. It’s about alteration and growth. That sounds about right: I am my beard — consistently evolving, changing, and acquirements as I go.
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