From Our Readers
April 04, 2014 6:00 am

I think there is a moment in life when every girl feels the need for change. A new identity, a fresh start. And I also believe that this sense, this need for difference is a healthy indicator that you are indeed on the path of self-discovery.

As we dive into these spring months of rebirth, we find ourselves anticipating the future. Whether this means starting high school or heading off to university, one door is closing and another is opening. And it’s exciting!! We are changing, we are developing, we are growing. And channeling this energy through a physical act of readiness might just be the solidifying sign you’ve been waiting for. The tangible that brings things into the scope of reality and says, “Life, I’m ready. I’m ready for whatever tomorrow brings, ready for the change you have in store for ME.”

Anne Hathaway in The Princess Diaries, Audrey Hepburn in Roman Holiday, Quinn Fabray from Glee: all found renewal and a lift of spirits in changing the physical – and more specifically, their hair. Sometimes the feeling of actual lightness (lighter hair, anyone?) can make the new possibilities seem all the more real.

It did for me.

It has been exactly a week since I finally made up my mind to actually shave my hair off. And since then, I’ve never felt more free, more alive, happy in all my 17 years of living. I can’t quite put my finger on why I did what I did, but in my heart I knew it was the right thing to do, the right thing for me. It wasn’t that I wanted to be someone else, I love who I am! I had just out-grown myself. I was older, wiser (Still working on this one), and ready to spring forward. I had become a new person. But I needed to really feel this in order to achieve closure. I was ready to focus on my future and the brightness it promised, but the weight of college applications, results, the decisions of my younger high school years was holding me back.

Cutting my hair didn’t make me forget about my past struggles, but it gave me the time necessary to finally face my fears. Thinking about my hair-cutting choice forced me to consider the feelings that came with it – what I was cutting away and what I hoped would grow in its place down the road. My actual choice made me shift through the heaviness, sort through it, to finally find what I was looking for. My hair gave me hope, strength and renewal.

So today I challenge you to start a new page on the chapter of life. Celebrate! Live and love, but never lose a sense of your self. Because despite it all, you are undeniably you. A perhaps confused you, a learning you, but a you all the same. Embrace the day! Love it, live it.

And for you still stubborn worriers…

Okay, yes. Confession: I know something like this is hard to do. I was secretly debating for hours whether I should cut my hair. But after arguing with myself to no end, I realized that just by mulling it over in my mind meant that I wanted it and would never stop wondering until I actually did it. So if you ever had that slightest inkling of lobbing off your hair, here’s a gentle push towards a brighter, happier you:

1. Growing it out again is going to be a pain – First of all, you will never actually know what it will be like unless you try. Worrying about what WILL happen just stops you from actually doing. You work with what you have and make the best of it. And hey, if you are really that worried about uneven shaggy hair growth, why not shave only half your hair? That way, when it becomes untameable, you can just flip your mane!!

2. I’m not edgy enough – How do you know? You might be a hardcore rocker at heart! Let your inner-strength shine! Be bold, be brave! And always remember, your haircut is not for others. Don’t think about how they will perceive you. It’s not for them, your haircut is for yourself.

3. My face is too round, it won’t look good – Psh! Don’t let anything stop you from doing what you want! Do what makes YOU happy. You will MAKE it look good. Trust, confidence is what makes things beautiful. Strut and change the standard! Inspire others!! Emma Watson won’t be the only lady who can pull it off after the day’s up!

4. I like my hair just the way it is, thank you very much – Okay, okay, I won’t argue with that. Props to you for knowing what you want. That’s the greatest gift of all. Keep it up!! But hey, you have a whole lifetime before you. Why not do something a little crazy? A little different? Change is good for you. Challenge yourself. Take a step outside your comfort zone. You will only grow stronger and your hair will always grow back. Who knows when you’ll have the chance to cut it again?

Lauren is a 5’2″ passionate little soul studying people and storytelling at Vanderbilt University. She might be tiny but according to an old African proverb involving a mosquito, small can make a definite impact. She loves to write as much as she enjoys using her voice to make a positive impact on the world. She is a hugger, a human rights activist, and is casually obsessed with Tom Hank’s nose.  Finder her on Instagram @lo_pak and on her website.