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On Change and Haircuts

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On Change and Haircuts

Annie Butler

Shake it off

Someone once told me you can expect big things on the horizon when a woman cuts her hair.

Long, blonde, curls. A lion's mane. From childhood through adulthood, my hair has always identified me. Often, it was the first thing people noticed about my outward appearance. About four years ago, in the summer of 2011, I cut and donated 14 inches of my curls. It was the year before I graduated college and, let's just say, I was finding the transition from student to non student difficult.

Things settled down though, eventually, and I started a painstaking journey back to my old self: long, blonde, curly Annie. The Annie I recognized. The Annie I knew. The place where I was comfortable. 

Being comfortable is really, really lovely... but, your comfort zone is not where you grow. I think it's called a leap of faith. Sometimes, you just have to push. It's the only way to reach for the great things writ in your stars.

I cut my hair again this summer, a few days before I moved to San Francisco. I came without a job, without an apartment. In fact, the only thing I did have was two jammed suitcases and this little voice that kept saying "try." 

For me, California has been a big change. I've never been so on my own: forced independence, new people, new places, new public transportation. Apartment gates that don't open for FedEx. Bed frames that need to be carried seven blocks uphill because you didn't know about the gate. Lumber on the Bart.

It's not always easy.
And that's what I told my friend and mentor, Tom. 

You have completed phase one of your journey through life, he wrote me. And like those rockets that are sent into space you have simply jettisoned your youth. Phase 2 is where it gets really exciting. You are becoming more superb as the individual you will want to be. And in addition you will emerge as a great woman that you knew you would become.

I rarely curse, but, damn.

They say you can expect big things when a woman cuts her hair. It means change is on the horizon. And when you keep your eyes wide, change can take you places you never thought you'd go. Changing the status quo doesn't mean you were unhappy with life before, comfort is a lovely thing... but what will you miss if you refuse to try?

You might find yourself 2,000 miles away, standing on the edge of an ever-inching comfort zone, itching to see what shape the domino takes next.

Enjoy the ride... and, if you ever end up back where you started, thank your hairdresser,  


Photo by Tory Putnam at the Portrait Pop-Up
Shout out to my hair dresser Nikki, who, when we were both two decades younger, was my favorite babysitter as well.