This post has been floating around in my head for a couple of weeks now. I am writing it more for myself than anything.
I got my hair cut. Pretty dang short. I realize that for a lot of people a haircut is not really a big deal, but for me, this haircut symbolizes a lot.
I have always, always, always, had long hair. For as long as I can remember, everyone always told me how beautiful my hair was. I always thought of it as my best feature, and then as my weight went up and my self-esteem went down, I thought of it as my only pretty physical feature. Even more so, I got to the point where I felt like my long hair defined me, and that I wouldn't be "Erin" if I didn't have long hair.
Every once and a while I would cut it a little shorter than usual, but I always grew it right back. I spent more time than I should blowing drying it, brushing it, and worrying about it. I often saw people with short hair and was envious... wished I had the "guts" to get my hair cut, or the courage to believe I could pull it off. I would often say that I couldn't have short hair because I had a fat face and it wouldn't look good.
The last few months I started toying with the idea of cutting my hair... not just a little shorter, but A LOT short. I saw a picture of a pixie cut and wanted it. I worried I couldn't pull it off. I worried I wouldn't be pretty without my long hair.
But as I have become a runner, more has changed than just my physical appearance. As I lost 75lbs, ditched a whole lot of fat and grew some muscles, I found strength that I didn't know I had, physically and emotionally. I also managed to build myself some self esteem. The voices in my head that said I wouldn't be pretty with short hair or couldn't pull it off were quieted, and I felt excited about going for a big change. And I figured it was only hair... if I didn't like it, it would grow back. All of a sudden, having long hair didn't define me, and my long hair didn't feel like my only pretty feature.
Right away, I liked my hair cut short and I LIKED that I liked it. It's different. It's fun! The "old me" would have needed the people around me to tell me that they liked it before I made a decision. I would have been nervous to see people for the first time and would have worried what they thought. I would have felt insecure.
I look in the mirror and I see that not only am I still me with short hair, but that I am a newer, better version of me. I am stronger. I am healthier. I am happier. I am more confident. I don't need long hair to feel pretty, or other people's approval to feel confident. And my face isn't fat anymore. Somehow a haircut seemed to represent to me all the positive changes that I have made in the last two years. Going to NY and seeing family and friends for the first time with my short hair reinforced how much I like my hair cut and how good I feel, inside and out.
I know it is just a haircut and not that big of a deal in the grand scheme of life, but it has been a fun change that has shown me once again how very much running has had such a positive impact in my life.