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Adventure-ing: Sarah and Her Hair

*This is the start of something awesome. This space has been a place for me to chronicle feelings and relationships and stories (the ridiculous and the sad and the funny), it’s been my way of providing a time stamp to major life events, and it’s been a place of advice and discussion and feedback (which I’m incredibly grateful for). But now begins a new chapter, this space will also be a celebration of adventures, of personal triumphs, of doing things we never thought we could, and to cheering each other on. If you have an adventure (big or small) you’d like to write about, please email me at betterinrealife at gmail dot com.

Daaaamn girl, you got some sexy locks rockin’ out.

So … Friday afternoon I did something brave: I chopped off 14 inches of my hair.

I know, I know … that doesn’t sound like such a brave thing, right? Well, when you consider my hair hasn’t been above my shoulders in 17 years … and that the last time it was I cried, nightly, until it grew out? That changes the story a bit, doesn’t it? Honestly, just thinking about it makes me want to run to bed and hide my head under the covers.

Well, too late for that!

Inspired by Lauren and my best friend … who both chopped and donated their hair to Locks of Love last summer, I’d been thinking about it for a while. Months. But I could never bring myself to do it. So, when winter set in, I heaved a sigh of relief … I NEVER cut my hair in winter, lest the cold break it and I’m forced to cut even more off … and so I forgot about it. And then, winter ended.

In the space of a week I thought about cutting, pushed it to the back of my mind, thought about it some more, and chickened out.

Then there was Friday.

Somewhere around 11am, I emailed Lauren … a long rambling email that concluded “Thoughts? Opinions? Suggestions? HEELLLLLLLP!!!”. I researched hair styles. I begged my husband for reassurance. I got a stylist recommendation. I looked up his salon, and found that he had a 5:15pm appointment open. A same day appointment with a stylist who normally books up a month in advance.

I really don’t think the universe could make it any more clear than that.

So, with Lauren cheering me on (And seriously people? She’s the best cheerleader EVER.) I booked the appointment.

After one of the better shampoos I’ve ever had, done by a beautiful boy with one of the best sleeve tattoos I’ve seen (I wish I’d gotten his name!), I sat down to meet my stylist. When I told him I was thinking of doing a donation chop he stopped me.

“Have you ever done it before?” (No.) “When was the last time you had a drastic cut?” (Um, when I was twelve?) “Are there going to be tears?” (I don’t know, but I don’t think so!) “Are you ABSOLUTELY sure you want to do this? It’s a big change. Think about it for a minute.”

Once I’d given him the ok he stood me up in the middle of the salon, pulled my hair into a ponytail, and snip-snip-snipped. The other stylists may or may not have cheered.

::grins::

Then, he got to work on, in his words, giving me “an actual HAIR CUT”. And really, the man is a master. He took my inspiration, analyzied my hair type, made some suggestions, AND taught me a couple tricks. All in about 20 minutes, including the chop. Totally worth the outrageous amount of money he demands.

We also chatted about places to donate. Obviously there is Locks of Love, but I wanted to know if other options were out there. He pointed me towards Pantene Beautiful Lengths… who partners with the American Cancer Society to provide real hair wigs to women stricken with cancer.

That did it for me. My grandmother was once the recipient of a wig from ACS’s wig bank … so I know first hand how well they’re made, and just how much of a difference they can make in the life of a woman who maybe doesn’t feel beautiful anymore. As much as I love Locks of Love’s mission, this one is just a little closer to my heart. And for you wanting to donate, who don’t have 10 inches to cut off? Beautiful Lengths takes donations 8 inches and longer.

Walking out of the salon, I felt fancy. Before I’d made it to the corner I’d gotten two compliments on the cut. And I felt … lighter? I don’t know how to describe it any better than that. Suffice to say, I spent the evening bopping my head around … and ended up with a headache. But a giddy headache!

That is 100% pure sassy happiness. Sassy happiness should be a new go-to description.

My biggest fear, going into it was not that I wouldn’t like it, or that my husband wouldn’t like it … though I did think about those things. It was that after cutting so much, I wouldn’t look like myself. I was terrified of looking in a mirror and not knowing myself. At 28, that’s not exactly a feeling I’m familiar with. And luckily, the fear was totally unfounded. Not only do I feel like myself … I feel like a BETTER me.

Better, because I did something brave. Better, because I’m doing something that will make a difference in another woman’s life. And better, because I know I’m capable of looking a fear in the face, and doing it anyway.

Now … can someone please teach me how to use a round brush and a hair dryer at the same time?

 Ahh!! This is so awesome and inspiring I can’t even handle it! Plus she looks amazeballs. Plus she is helping others. Plus she did something she was afraid of and it made her feel stronger and more alive. HELL YES. If you would like to check out more of Sarah, go here for her bloggy and you can also follow her on twitter. Hooray!

42 Comments

  1. It looks lovely!

  2. you. look. HOT! I LOVE IT! are you wearing it wavy? i love, love, love it.

    • Straight-ish/flipped under …. wavy …. today I curled it. Still trying out new things!

      And thank you!

  3. Unrelated: Your top is so cute!
    Related: That haircut! Is gorgeous!

    • Thanks! It’s a dress I picked up from Loft last summer … add a cardigan, retie the sash, DONE!

      And thank you! I’m so, so thrilled with it!

    • Isn’t it AMAZING? The back slays me. SLAYS ME.

  4. Woow you look great. And I admire both of you for donating your hair…

    I just had my hair cut (by my mom, since otherwise I end up like spongebob squarepants) by about 7 cm, because it was really damaged.
    Now I can´t get used to it, it gets big, it feels light, I miss the weight, the points do not go to the inside and I just don´t feel good about it. As a result I have been wearing a ponytail everyday since and I only wish it will grow fast, to a point where I can wear it loose again and feel comfortable.

    So this post was very inspiring but I don´t really know what to do about feeling like a giant fluff.

    • Amanda,

      About 6 months ago I went to have my hair trimmed, and the woman took off too much. All the things you say about how you feel … I get it. I got home and sobbed. Then I sobbed to my best friends, and my husband.

      Which, I know, doesn’t make it better … but I just want you to know, I understand. The good thing about hair is that it does grow … I hope you lose the fluff feeling soon!

      And also … thanks. =)

      ::hugs::

      • Thanks… so much. I just hope it grows fast or I get used to it.

        take care and rock the new locks :)

  5. Ohhh the BACK! The back!!…and then the FRONT! Sooo stinking cute. I love how its a little longer in the front. And it looks like you have naturally curly hair to where you would just wake up with sexy sassy hair! Hahaha. Loves.

    • Thanks! And yes, I have curly hair … but no, it’s just a mess if I leave it. I WISH I could just wake up and go! The styling done in the photos was totally product of the stylist. ;)

  6. Absolutely adorable cut! I love it! My hair right now looks like picture #1. Not that that’s a bad thing, but lately I’ve been thinking about (okay, dreading and putting off calling for) an appointment. I’ll take this as a kick in the pants! :)

    • Thank you!! And let us know if you do cut it!

  7. Yes!! This is awesome! Your new hair looks freaking fantastic. I actually did the same exact thing about a year ago (chopped off 14 inches! Donated to Beautiful Lengths! Rocked the short hair!) and I’ve kept it short ever since. I miss my long hair sometimes, but I am a big, big fan of short hair now. :D

    • Oh wow, yay circumstance twins! I’m seriously loving the short … other than the fact that I have to DO it every morning and can’t just pull it into a bun or braid. Oh well, time to act like an adult and style my hair!

  8. Whoo hoo Sarah!!

    I cut off about six inches last Friday. Yay hair cut Friday! Good on you for donating. Your cut looks fab!

    • Yay hair cut Friday! And thank you!!

  9. You are beautiful!! That is FANTASTIC cut, fab, fab fab! He did an amazing job and points for him for listening! that is key – and also handing out the tips and secrets as opposed to snobby hair people who keep it all to themselves. Yes! Way to face those fears!

    • You are too sweet! Thank you!!

      He was absolutely fantastic. And when I asked for product recommendations he gave me a mid-priced brand (that the salon doesn’t even carry) and said that’s what he personally used … plus one higher priced curl cream (but told me not to buy it from them, to avoid the mark up) that people all over the internet are RAVING about. All in all super good advice. =)

      • Oh I love that! Hes keeeeeepin it real instead of being a salesman! awesome!

  10. So pretty! Good job on the big chop Sarah.

  11. LOVE the haircut!! :) yay sarah!

  12. Oh Sarah it is sooooo cute!

    I totally get the fear there. I had a traumatic cut in early high school and didn’t get it cut again until my first year of college, and by that point it was 12 inches coming off. That time I was all for it. I just did that again last year on my 30th birthday. I told the stylest I had had the same hair since I was 18 and I wanted something different and that is what I got, and I loved it not only for being cute, but because I was brave.

    So hooray for bravery and hooray for how amazingly good it looks on you.

    • Woohoo birthday chop! Well done! And thanks!

  13. It looks AWESOME.

    That is all.

    Oh, and I’m going somewhere fancy to have my hair cut when I finally get the guts to do this. Just because.

    • ABSOLUTELY!

      The noms of being pampered are so worth the extra cash.

      Noms.

      Pampering.

      (Obviously I need some one to rub my head and tell me I’m pretty. haha)

    • Yes yes yes, I absolutely agree. The money is totally worth the pampering and compliments.

      Plus, you get to say things like “my stylist”. ::winks::

      And thanks!

  14. GORGEOUS! You look amazing, Sarah! And so so so brave!!

    I have been slowwwwly moving in the same direction over a number of years. When I met my husband, my hair was below my bra strap, and had been since my own disaster haircut when I was fifteen. I was terrified of having even slightly shorter hair. It was never going to happen. Now, six years later… I have a full on pixie cut. I slowly kept going shorter and shorter and shorter, but it still took me about a year to decide to go the whole hog (and I had to change stylists to find one who’d do it). Even so, I sat in the chair the entire time going “oh god oh god oh god”! (I love it now :) ) So I can imagine how nervewracking it must have been going from so long to so short in one big chop! Awesomely brave :D and it is SUCH a good cut that you got in the end!!

    Are you using curly/wavy product in it with styling it? Can you wash it and then put product in it and use a diffuser, maybe, if you want a bit of body?

    • Thank you!!

      Oh man, I don’t think I could ever go full pixie. I so admire you for doing it! Plus, it looks fab on you. =)

      I haven’t gotten a curling cream yet … he recommended Moroccan Oil Curl Control Cream, and even though it’s super pricey (but well reviewed!) I think I’m going to try it. And hell, if a $30 bottle lasts me 3-4 months (like people say it does), that actually not too bad. I spend that much on shampoo and conditioner! (And THOSE costs are going down … hello using 1/4 as much as before!)

    • Hooray!! And you look so good!

      Side note: I’m still freaking out in the shower. The first couple of days I definitely had overly shampooed/WAY overly conditioned hair. ::laughs::

      And yes. God bless those men. =)

  15. I just chopped my hair off and then remarked to my husband how odd I found all of the “you’re so brave” comments I got at work. Not that I don’t understand traumatic haircuts and styles gone wrong, but I found it interesting that short hair is still considered a risk for women.

    I love short hair because I think it suits my hair and face better, but I get lazy in between cuts and end up spending months with ‘in-between’ hair. So a haircut feels like freedom when I finally get it done.

    BTW, this is the lazy-girls gift to blow-drying: http://www.amazon.com/Conair-Unisex-1875-Watt-Styler-Attachments/dp/B000YDL5SE/ref=wl_it_dp_o_pd_T1?ie=UTF8&coliid=I7M5L52JJD6XU&colid=3L4N18EN6XMV0

    • I consider it brave … for me at least … because it was something I was scared of. Not because short is a risk, but because such a big change is.

      Interestingly enough, these comments are the only “brave” that I’ve gotten. Everyone else just comments on the cut itself. ::shrugs::

      And YES to the combo brush/dryer. I’ve got one in storage, maybe I should go dig it out…

      • My apologies if my comment came across as a judgement. I totally get why chopping off 8+ inches is a big deal for you as the hair cut-ee. I was trying to convey my intrigue about how others respond to women who go short.

        Your post came along when I was thinking about the comments I got/get when I cut my hair and what they say about women, hair, and social concepts of beauty and femininity.

        • Oh, not at all! No worries. =)

  16. I can totally relate to being afraid of not recognizing myself. When I cut my hair for the first time in 10 years, I had some major shock of not feeling like myself. Because in my mind part of my identity was so-long-I-could-sit-on-it hair.

    But nothing feels quite as good as the lightness of short hair after years of length.

  17. That is some AMAZING hair!

    (PS, Lauren, nice new series! Excited for more.)

  18. You look great! That cut is fabulous on you.

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Who the hell is she?


Lauren

I am a writer living in Seattle and I believe that life is a grand adventure and only boring if you believe it to be. Plus! You don't need money to have fun.

I live with my husband, a photographer by education and a maker-of-video-games by trade, and a baby named gabe in an apartment on the hill.

I am romantic about most things and I cry... about almost anything. I tell stories to entertain you, I spread stories to keep you in the loop. I am not a grammar freak, but I do know how to spell it. I am exceedingly proud of my scrambled eggs and I really could eat an entire pan of cupcakes. If I met me, I would be my best friend. I tend to be irreverent.

If you would like to chat with me or see what else I'm up to you can follow me on Twitter (betterinrealife), on facebook, or email me at betterinrealife at gmail.


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