” You could pose like a guy. Try and see how it feels to be ignored.”

“Sorry girl too short to enjoy.”

“You look like a man.”

“So why exactly did you cut your hair?’

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These are a few of the comments I got from some of my readers after I posted my short pixie cut on   Facebook. Even some of my friends are having a difficult time adjusting to my new look since I have always been the girl with long, wavy hair.

“Why would you cut your long, pretty hair Sweetie?” My mama’s voice is gentle yet slightly confused and maybe annoyed. She is usually my biggest advocate but not this time. After staring at each other for a couple for minutes I ask her quietly.

“Hey Mom how about if I turn the Skype camera off.”

After we hang up, I take a deep breath and consider my reasons. I start from the beginning and the beginning starts with long long hair covering my face all during my high school years.  I am aware that I am not as pretty as half of the girls in my class or my 5’8” blond, blue-eyed best friend. During some of my classes I hear pretend coughs when I answer questions. I breathe in the sharp pain in my chest but I keep talking. Things get better after the first year of me moving to a rich high school from our small farm community. People respect me more and accept my simple clothes and harsh features. They think  I can’t be broken.  But I can; I just didn’t let it show. I hid under a mask of hair and indifference that I only started chipping away at in my early twenties.

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No one could give me the feeling of self worth and acceptance of who I am and what I look like besides myself. It didn’t, and it couldn’t, come from my mother, my culture, American culture, boyfriends, or husband.  I knew that yet I tried to ask for it in a quietly begging way many mistook for strength and pride. I didn’t know how to ask and they did’t know how to give. My first twenty years found me all alone, trying desperately to hide behind my long, pretty hair and blaming my physique for my failures. As I sank deeper into self pity, blaming the woman who looked back at me in the mirror, sleep became my constant companion.

I was shaken awake by sunshine and the inside color of my eyelids. There was so much light! So I reached for it…and I slowly learned to breathe, move, and walk alone, no mama by my side telling me I was going to make it. I shared my dreadful fears with my dear ones. As the vulnerability restored me and gave me the honest strength I had been longing for, the length of my hair grew shorter and shorter.

Now I smile at the face I see in the mirror. She and I are becoming best friends. We love each other even if someday we drive each other crazy. When I told her I wanted to cut my hair so I could see her better, she smiled.

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I didn’t go to a salon for my hair cut. My dear friend Becca cut it in my backyard under an old cherry tree, surrounded by women who showered me with squeals of excitement, love, and acceptance.

There was the old fear somewhere in the corners of my fingertips ready to explode when I reached for the mirror, so I didn’t. Instead I laughed some more with my girls and trusted that I am still Diana.

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And I am. I love my new haircut and the testimony it brings to who I have become and how much I have yet to learn. This friendship I developed with the woman inside me has set me on the path for  both emotional and physical healing and it sparked my interest in holistic nutrition and health.

True beauty is loving oneself and the people around you. It comes from the inside, regardless of the color, shape, or length of your hair.

Photos taken by my wonderful friend Elizabeth. To check out some more of her wonderful photography go here.

 

This post is featured on Thank Your Body Thursday,