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Lessons from a Bad Haircut

by Cristina Gutierrez

The last time I got a haircut, my hairstylist was running super late to a party. I had to deal with her friends staring at me as though that would make the clock move faster. It didn’t rush me, but it did rush the girl cutting my hair.

The result? An 80’s style haircut on a 23 year-old young adult without much knowledge (or interest) in 80’s music.

In other words, NOT WHAT I WANTED.

Want to know what came next? I had an identity crisis in front of the mirror. In my mind, all the style I once had was gone. Hell, I’d probably be called a catfish on dating apps if I used my pre-haircut photos. I didn’t recognize the person in the mirror, and judging from the expression on her face, she didn’t recognize me either.

Yep, my life was over.

Now, before you start calling me dramatic, let me explain why I believe that a haircut is such an important part of me. Even if you don't do it unconsciously, you shape your hair the way you want to express yourself and your style. It plays a huge part on the first impression people get from you because it’s the first thing they notice.

Not your eyes. Not your smile. Your hair.

Regardless if the experience is negative or positive, I'm a firm believer that you learn from every challenge in your life. So, here’s what I learned from getting a bad haircut:

In life, you have complete control of what you consider a ‘good’ or ‘bad’ experience.

The moment a situation presents itself, the first decision you can make is how you react to it, and that will influence everything that happens after. Once I realized the haircut was not what I wanted at all, I decided to look at it on the bright side.

At least I still have hair!

As simple as it sounds, this thought made me lean more towards the positive side.

Sometimes things happen and we want to do nothing more than cry, and that’s okay. Not forever, though.

The truth is that most situations call for us to actively solve them. The time you spend complaining or crying about it is time you could put towards finding a solution. So, cry as much as you need so you can then get back on track to where you want to be.

Since I couldn’t change the haircut because I did not want my hair any shorter, I knew the only solution was to act on how I felt towards it. I googled famous people who had the same haircut as me, and you’d never guess the amount of big names I found.

Yes, they were all from the 80’s. But still GREAT names!

Own it.

Having control leads to confidence, making the right decisions, and it makes everything seem like your life is put together. The way you can bring yourself to get control is to own the problem, and the best way to own it is to fake it until you make it.

Whenever I felt insecure about my hair, I would stand taller, push my shoulders back, and tell myself that if I were to bump into Joan Jett, she would absolutely compliment my style.

I mean, who wouldn’t like that?

Know how to laugh at yourself.

By no means I mean bringing yourself down, but if you can learn how to find the funny side of anything, life suddenly becomes easier.

My haircut has become a great conversation-starter about what character from 80's movies I like best. I joke around (not really, though) that my karaoke performances are now mainly rock songs like “Pour Some Sugar on Me”. It’s never been easier to get in character and rock my soul out. Sadly, my singing skills do not compare to Joan Jett level, but that’s fine.

Now, my hair is growing back and transitioning out of its great 80s style (see what I did there?). It’s unlikely that I will ever get the same style again, but I can look back at this experience and learn from it.

I still can’t believe that a “bad haircut” has taught me so much about dealing with situations outside of my control. It was an important lesson that, hair involved or not, will help me tackle the way I express myself in the future.

Also, I’m now convinced that I would have THRIVED as a young adult living in the 80s.

Just saying.


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