Post Quarantine Cut Thoughts
by Olivia Evans
Heading back to school this quarter has brought about a ton of stress, uncertainty and overall a lot of frustration. It goes without saying that nobody expected a pandemic to happen or disrupt our lives this much for so long. As I begin my junior year in a much different setting and mindset than I could’ve ever expected – I decided to make one drastic (the term drastic is used lightly here, but drastic for me!) change. I cut about 6 inches off my hair and dyed it blonde.
I was already blonde last year but by the time I finally went in to get this cut done, it was grown out for the most part. I craved a new change, something to make this year a little more exciting and happy. I was obviously way behind the curve on this endeavor as well: I was inspired by the millions of others who have used quarantine/the pandemic in general to do something drastic with their hair, a few close friends who had done the same, and one of my coworkers who bleached her hair at home with her sister. I’ve always had trouble with overthinking decisions and it took a long time, a dozen Pinterest references and many false declarations to make me finally do it – but I did it! And I hated it (at first)!
I don’t tend to splurge on myself very often, especially with my hair. When I do, I usually expect some type of instant gratification. I want to feel instantly better when the stylist turns me around to see the transformation. This time, it didn’t happen. I felt pretty much the same. I just had shorter, blonder hair. Objectively, I don’t think I really hated my haircut. I’ve grown to really like it. I just didn’t like that it did not instantly make all my problems go away. The weight of my hair did not contain the weight of my worries.
We all expect a massively transformative feeling with an external change like this. I’m not sure exactly why, it could be how satisfying before and after pictures are, or movies like the Princess Diaries. In a pandemic however, it feels as though these changes are a coping mechanism to make you feel slightly better rather than something to actually change something about yourself. A little extra effort to control what we can control. The few days following my haircut, I gradually felt better about it. I didn’t feel massively different when I first looked in the mirror, but I do think this haircut reflects a lot of small changes I have been trying to make over this summer and the rest of the pandemic.
My haircut was planned and executed in a much different way (I’d like to believe) than most early-quarantine cuts. I didn’t feel the need to do something drastic like this in March, April or May because I was still clinging to the belief that all of this would blow over soon. A post quarantine haircut is only the icing on the cake of a much harder ordeal. The adjusting of a new normal. The inner changes you are enduring. The acceptance that the world is not going to look like it did in 2019 for a very long time. This realization is daunting, but it also comes with clarity. I think the most frustrating part of this pandemic is the great unknown. The waiting for things to get better. While it might have been fun to fantasize about what will be fun to do ‘When all this is over’ at the beginning of the pandemic, now the idea and the phrase seem so worn-out.
The pandemic has made us think that we need to push pause on our life. Yes, some things we used to be able to do with ease are a lot harder or even impossible. That doesn’t necessarily mean we’ve hit pause though. We have just redirected. We’ve been forced to look at the more mundane parts of our lives and make them more interesting, or change them entirely. The beat of social media has been to throw away 2020 entirely. That it has been such a laughably bad year. It’s true that this pandemic has not been handled well. It’s true that there is still a lot of need for change in this country. But, many have pointed out that we would’ve been able to ignore all of this if not for the events of 2020.
I don’t think I will look back on 2020 and consider it a ‘throwaway’ year. In fact, I think I will look at it as just the opposite. I’ve probably spent the most time alone in 2020 than I ever have in my life – but it has led to a lot of reflecting and growing. I just needed the haircut to prove it.