A Journey to Short Hair


Elaine Thimyan

I cut my hair after a year of being forced to grow it.

Elaine Thimyan

Almost as long as I can remember, everyone always told me “You have such beautiful hair.” “My, look at those locks!”  I don’t blame them for such compliments. My hair was long, voluminous, never dyed, and thick. So you can imagine the shock when I chopped over 12 inches off. 

It wasn’t until I went to sixth grade that I knew that I truly wanted to cut my hair. The longer time I spent with the weight on my head, the stronger my resentment toward my hair became. But it wasn’t as easy as just going to the salon and getting it over with. 

My dad is more old fashioned and the head of my household. Every time I would try to bring up short hair he would freak out and shut me down, so the only chance I had was my mom. But even then, she was hesitant. Unlike dad, her reason was more understandable. Her fear was that I would get picked on and I would end up hating my mom for letting me go through with it. 

Finally, on May 24, 2018, I got everything chopped off. All 12 inches of it. Mom and I compromised and cut my hair before the last day of school, that way I would only be stuck at school for half a day in case I didn’t like it and kids made fun of me, which spoiler alert, they did. 

Most of the reactions I got were compliments, but with every change, there are the naysayers. One particular thing I remember is that a group of people saw me in the lunchroom and began to point at me and got the tables around them to join. People even went as far as to ask my friends if I was trans My dad didn’t talk to me for two days, and people were upset at my choice. Even though I am gay, that in no way had anything to do with my choice of cutting my hair. I’m aware that I was probably conforming to the stereotypical lesbian with short hair, but even now people think that was the only reason why I cut my hair.

Elaine Thimyan
The night before I cut my hair I remember feeling will I get the same reaction I did the first time I cut it.

I like change, in fact, I need change. It’s something I, personally, need in order to keep my life moving forward. Change of appearance wasn’t the only thing that drove me though. I’m not a high maintenance person, nor am I educated in the ways of styling hair. Longer hair, if anything, made me more insecure about my appearance than short hair ever has. I could never do the perfect messy bun or the neatness of a double dutch braid. Even when I tried it didn’t look anything like the other girls at my school or what I saw on social media. So I would just give up and throw it up in a high pony.

The pressures I faced with long hair was too much for me. With longer hair, it was a lot harder for me to portray as masculine when I wanted, with long hair I was told to look a certain way, wear only feminine looking clothes, shave, etc. It was expected of me and when the hair came off people gave up trying to box me in something that couldn’t really contain me.

If you’ve ever seen me you’ll be able to notice I don’t really conform to the normal gender roles. I definitely fall under the androgynous category, which means I portray masculine and feminine. Some days I appear more masculine and some days more feminine and that’s something I need. I need both to make my style and my aesthetic my own. My need to be more flexible wasn’t something that lots of people liked, and they let me know it, but when I cut my hair, I no longer valued anyone’s opinions of me. I know for a fact that if I had never cut my hair I’d never be where I am now. 

Growing my hair back out was a vicious cycle of feeling confident to feeling repulsive. Since December of 2018, I was forced to grow out my hair and so growing it out meant having to go through the mullet and awkward stages; Which was something for the longest time I tried to fight until it started to ruin my relationships at home. At the stage I was at just before I re-cut my hair, was one I was almost comfortable with but I was constantly worrying once again about how I would style it and how hot I would get and so I talked to my mom and mom was completely okay with it.

It’s been around two weeks since I cut my hair and I couldn’t be happier, so far I haven’t had any problems, even my dad was completely okay. Which him being the main struggle of cutting my hair, was a huge shift for us. My hair is apart of my image and I never truly understood the power of causing a stir by something as simple as hair. And that’s okay, I like the way I look with short hair which is why I’ll keep cutting my hair until I decide it’s time to change once again.