Tracking the relationships of my 20s through my hairstyles

I have changed my hair a lot, as many of us do throughout our lives. The first time I ever dyed my hair was when I was 12 years old because my mother thought purple hair was really pretty and why else do people have daughters other than for hair experimentation? My very blonde mother thought the deep purple-y shade would look better on me than on her (she was probably right) so we bought the box and set me off on a long journey of changing my style.

When I started falling in love and dating and getting my heart broken and breaking hearts, I was in my 20s. 22 to be exact. My mother always told me that women tend to change their hair drastically after a breakup or when one felt inevitable, citing Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt as an example. I assumed I would never do something like that, but things change, and so do people, and so does hair. I realized midway through my 20s that my hair was always a clear indicator of my current emotional state. Here’s how I have processed:

Longer, curlier, lighter

My natural hair color is a normal brown shade and I have natural, beautiful, relatively loose curls. (Thanks Dad!) When I am doing just fine, in or out of a relationship, I have noticed that I tend to let my hair just be. Who knows! That isn’t to say that all hair changes are relationship-driven for everyone, of course. But having my hair in its natural state, for me, means that I’m trucking along just fine. Viz.

Short, sleek, dark

I have had plenty of breakups and even conclusions to friendships that have felt similar to breakups. I dated one particular guy on-and-off over the course of three years. Though I had been in love before as a teenager, meeting this guy was like waking up to fresh coffee and homemade breakfast on a Saturday morning—but every day was like that. You know, until it wasn’t. We secretly dated for 11 months (it was not a well kept secret, just to be clear) and when he finally broke it off with me (because he had met someone else), my heart had never suffered so much. I have never and hope to never feel that way again. My dear, dear friend happened to be in hair school at the time (she still does my hair now) so what better heartbreak cure was there to grab two bottles of wine and the scissors? We chopped all of my hair off, dyed it jet black, and it is still the best haircut I have ever had in my life.

Short, short, short
Like I previously mentioned, after my first Big Heartbreak, I chopped all of my hair off, but it wasn’t the shortest it would ever be. When I was 25 and mad at the then-love-of-my-life for getting back together with his beautiful Swedish girlfriend, I cut all of my hair off, like the shortest it could go, basically. The boy in question had just flown across the country to make up with / visit the lovely lady and what did I do? Made a hair appointment. We did a one side longer, one side shorter cut that I was super in love with, though it admittedly took me a minute to get used to it. The closest thing to a pixie I will ever have–maybe.

Blonde streaks
I haveput blonde in my hair more times than one might think, considering I like my hair best when it’s closer to black. The first time I ever dyed part of my hair blonde, I was completely in love with my best guy friend and I didn’t know how to handle it. One day, I couldn’t take it anymore and decided to lash out irrationally, the best way I knew how. When I went over to his house later to watch a movie, he grabbed my blonde chunk of bangs and goes, “quarter life crisis, much?”

The next time I put blonde in my hair was recently, and though it was more of a caramel color (very Ann Perkins style), I fully realize that the decision was made post two serious breakups—one with a friend I had always been too emotionally involved with, and the other the most serious relationship I have ever been in. This year was rough but I made sure that my hair always looked absolutely perfect. Taking care of my hair is my way of taking care of myself, and this year was all about self-care.

Straight v. Curly

As I have already discussed, my hair is naturally curly. As most women (and some men, I’m sure) know, it is nice to mix up your hairstyles, even on a daily basis. I think my curls help me stand out and if I lose attention from men or women or anyone for it, I could care less. I know women with pin straight hair (like my mom) that perm and curl stick and hairspray their hair to have the curls that some of us are born with. And, on the flip side, there are us curly girls who spend a lot of time blow drying and straightening their hair to achieve a certain look.

Both things are great. You never should feel obligated to do a thing to your body or hair that you don’t want to. But I’ve found that changing it up once in a while is not only fun, it’s sort of liberating. You can change your appearance however you want, and it’ll never make you less you.

Maybe this will all change one day and I’ll just stick to one hairstyle, but I don’t see that happening anytime soon. I love my hair, in all colors, sizes, shapes, and styles. I hope you do too.

[Featured image via iStock, all other images via author]

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