It all started with a Facebook post.
One of my closets friends decided to cut her hair short. And made sure that everyone knew what her plans were. She told everyone she came into contact with, and tried to seduce any others to follow her in her decision. The week previous to this, another one of my friends went from toting a shoulder length blonde doo to a tight bright pixie cut. And next week my dear friend is planning on going from a bob to the new fad of short sides and a mop-y top.
Don’t get me wrong, I love short hair. As a very tactile person, playing with someone else’s short hair is one of my favorite sensations. But this sudden inexplicable trend of all of my close friends chopping off their locks is causing me a basket full of anxiety. Allow me to explain…
Look at that face. That, ladies and gentlemen and those otherwise identified, is the bright face of a thirteen-year-old Bartley. Yes, that’s me, with that horrible horrible haircut. I had all the best intentions in the world: I had spent a year growing my hair out for Locks for Love. My motivation was split between wanting to be a philanthropic jolly middle schooler, and secretly desiring to cut my hair short but not having the courage. Up to that point, I was a tomboy and insisted on being a boy when playing make pretend. My little thirteen-year-old self was craving a more drastic chance to present masculinely.
Upon chopping my golden locks, I was faced with a grim reality: People started mistaking me for a boy. It was that time in the early 2000’s when every boy fancied himself a skater, and started growing his hair shaggy and wearing skater shoes. And there I found myself, with shaggy hair and wearing skater shoes, on of the prepubescent male hoard. Now for all humans, being mistaken for a boy wouldn’t be a bad thing, but thirteen-year-old Bartley was NOT ready for that kind of public acknowledgement of her queerness. I didn’t come out to myself for another year or two, and I was in no shape ready to even broach my feelings about gender. In short, my decision to cut my hair started the ball rolling on my discovery of my layers of queerness, and caused a metric butt-ton of anxiety.
Bartley, in the present day and age. Still dabbling in how masculinely to present, this time with much better hair.
I’ve done a lot of thinking about why my friends cutting their hair off is causing me so much anxiety, and I think it’s because some where deep in my heart I want to ditch my curly locks and jam with a punk rock pixie. But honesty, I don’t have the courage. I am just beginning to come to terms with my own journey through gender thoughts, and I don’t know if I’m ready for such a dramatic shift in my appearance. On the other hand, I’ve really grown to love my curls. I’ve begun to love myself as I am. Short hair or not.
Safe travels, folks,