When I was 6, I went to a hairstylist in rural Illinois. I was promptly plopped down into the chair and given a pageboy-style bob. I still remember boys teasing me about it on the playground.
This deep-seated desire for validation, going back to my childhood hair, is probably what perpetuated me all the way to theater school. I had the dreams of maybe being able to make my livelihood doing the thing I love.
So, perhaps it's the revenge of the awkward girl? Whatever the name for it, my long hair is here to stay. When I traveled abroad, many of the women I traveled with told me I should "let go of my vanity" and jump onto the hair-cutting bandwagon in the hopes of avoiding harassment in that part of the world.
But something in me just could not bring myself to make the chop. Call me self-centered, but as someone who frequently feels insecure, my past-the-boobs, mermaid-length hair is a source of pride (especially since I break out like crazy).
Am I just a narcissistic, self-centered Millennial, or is there something deeper at play? Here are seven reasons why I refuse to take the trendy hair-chopping plunge:
1. Long hair represents freedom and nonconformity.
Since practically the beginning of time, long hair has symbolized youth, fertility and femininity. Since women are expected to cut their hair once they get married and settle down -- OK, no one drags them by the collar to the hair salon, but most of them do it anyway -- the hippie in me will always rebel against societal standards by keeping my mane unaltered.
I totally want to be that old woman with a long, gray mane one day, who doesn't give two f*cks about societal standards.
2. It highlights my best personality traits.
I strongly believe men and women should do what makes them feel the most confident when it comes to their appearance. I know some guys prefer long hair, while others like buzz cuts.
For me, long hair helps me embody my creative spirit due to the sheer versatility of it. I'm able to do so many styles.
3. I have the completely wrong bone structure for short hair.
Some woman can pull off the pixie cut amazingly well. They still look feminine.
I am 99.99 percent sure I am not one of them. Short hair has a way of highlighting any flaws.
4. It reminds me of my favorite Disney princesses.
The same way that they were remembered for their long hair, people tend to notice me for mine. As someone who frequently struggles with feelings of insecurity, my hair is a source of pride for me.
From Ariel to Rapunzel, these princesses were known for their tresses for days.
5. Men love it. Bite me.
While this may seem somewhat controversial, I am not afraid to admit I want men to find me attractive. I have gotten significantly more male attention since I've grown out my hair.
6. I don't have the time or money to get my hair cut and styled constantly.
Long hair requires fewer trips to the hair salon. As a broke college student who can't afford to regularly get haircuts, this is a life-saver.
7. Contrary to popular belief, long hair is lower-maintenance.
Every day before work, my mom spends probably about 40 minutes blowdrying her short hair so that it looks good. Since I have almost butt-length hair, I can throw it in a ponytail or bun if I don't have time, and be out the door in five minutes.
Unlike with the birthmark on the left side of my chin or the scar on my right arm, I can constantly change my hair to fit the mood I am in. It is a tool for expression, and it allows for great freedom.
The older we get, the greater the pressure is to assimilate into society's rigid standards. But I will keep growing my hair as long as I see fit, thank you very much.