On Feeling Vulnerable

Hi Friends,

Hairdressers closed down last March because of the pandemic, and the last time I got my hair cut was in February. I thought I would just let my hair grow out, but the longer it got, the more it bothered me. It was hot on my head and neck, and always hanging in my face, obscuring my view.

I longed to go back to the days when I had a buzz cut, but I was concerned that I might not be able to pull off that look anymore. It’s been about five years since I last buzzed my hair, and I thought I might be too old.

Several people warned me against this move, but I decided to give it a try. I wanted to feel lighter and more open. I wanted a fresh start.

A buzz cut feels vulnerable, because I’m completely exposed. There’s no hair to hide anything. But for the same reason, it also feels freeing. I don’t have to hide anything about myself. This is me, and it doesn’t really matter all that much how I look, does it?

A buzz cut doesn’t fit our standards of beauty for women, but I think how it makes me feel inside is more important than how it looks to others on the outside. And I have to say, it feels great! I feel like myself again. Welcome home.

Artist Cassandra Tondro

I feel like I’m not weighed down. It’s also super easy to maintain. It doesn’t get in the way when I’m painting or doing yoga, and it keeps my head cool. I highly recommend it if you’re thinking of trying it!

What changes have you made because of the pandemic? I’d enjoy hearing your thoughts. You can share them with us in the comments section below.

With love and appreciation,
Cassandra

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12 Comments

  1. You look great Cassandra. Your gorgeous eyes immediately draw attention, as do your cheekbones, I’d kill for a forehead like yours!
    I have alternated between short asymmetrical bobs and buzz cuts since I was 17. I’m now 53 and I still sport buzzcuts. It’s liberating, it puts forward and emphasise your best feature, it make you look younger, and it is so freeing.
    As for femininity, when I worked in LA and all my friends had gorgeous hair they’d twist into a careless bun, I envied them so. I’ve not had much hair since an illness made half of it fall off. I was told it’d grow back but never did. A man stopped me at a Seven Eleven just to say I looked great, congratulated me on having the guts of challenging fashion.
    Two years ago, back in France, I got the same reaction -20 years apart.
    Feel good about yourself, don’t care about what people think in general.

    Take good care of yourself and sport your cut proudly!

    Chloe Xx

    1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Chloe. You’re right that a buzz cut feels very freeing. I love the way that it feels. All of that hair in my face and on my neck was really weighing me down. Interesting that people have congratulated you for the buzz cut look. Here I mostly get confusion, and some people think I’m recovering from chemo. They can’t believe that a woman would willingly choose to cut her hair this short!

  2. Brave people. I can understand the ‘freeing yourself’ aspect, but I could never do it! Cassandra, you look amazing. I have long grey hair and I have been glad, during the lockdown, that I, unlike so many women (and, indeed, men) have not had to worry too much about my hair. I was beginning to feel like the wicked witch of the west, though, and in the unusually hot weather we have been having in England recently, it was still ‘dragging me down’, sticking to my back and so on. Hairdressers are now open again here (with many precautions) and I had about four inches cut off mine the other day. It is still long, but now feels just right, and I do feel so much better. A bit worrying, in a way, that something relatively insignificant can change our mood so much!
    Expect (and hope) you are now back to your confident self again and ‘painting’ like mad!
    Sorry for such a long post!

    1. Hi Jill. I also enjoy having hair that’s relatively low maintenance, or that I can cut myself. I can use the clippers on this buzz cut. It is interesting that something like hair can affect our mood. Who knew?!!

  3. Well Cassandra, I only got congratulated a few times in 20 years!

    Most people -dare I say men- still adhere to the notion that a woman should have long, luscious hair. They seem to forget that throughout history they themselves wore long wigs, tights, long doublets resembling skirts, more make-up than I have in my entire life, and heels. Ah! But that was fashion…

    There is a double standard with women, long hair is somehow linked with fertility, sexuality and femininity.
    My parents were 40 when they had me, dad came from a very patriarchal Calabrese family. He refused to marry the cousin he’d never met from his parents’ village. Chose his wife whose dad was from Madagascar. He always shared all household and child rearing tasks. He was very liberal minded, and by the time I was growing up he went back and scraped all remaining prejudices: sexuality etc. Yet one thing never changed. He could never understand why women cut their hair. My mum did a few years after she had me and kept her hair short until her death. He would plead with her to let it grow back, and remonstrated with me every time I came home for a visit from London and later LA with hair so short you couldn’t grasp it. I used to laugh and tell him he had watched too many films with prehistoric men grabbing women to their caves by their hair.
    We don’t actually know that they did, but if it was true, this opinion might just be a vestigial unconscious reptilian brain thing,,,

    But as I say, in cases when it’s not being selfish and actually harming someone, I care little for what other people think. If I’m comfortable, I’m more confident, if I’m more confident, I’m happier.

    Wear yours with pride, you look great!
    Best regards,
    Chloe

  4. Good for you. And you know what they say, grey is the new blonde! That’s my story, and I like it. I have wondered what I’d be like grey, well salt and light brown, but I didn’t ever imagine I would learn due to a pandemic. A few silver linings.

    1. Gray is the new blonde? I hadn’t heard that, Francie. That’s funny! Yes, we’re all learning a lot about ourselves because of this pandemic, in so many ways. I guess that’s one upside to it! Also, it’s great to experiment with things like hair right now when hardly anyone sees you!

  5. I really LOVE your new look – it brings your presence more into focus so beautifully. :) A few years back I, too, went short from quite long & it was EMANCIPATING. Then, a couple years later, a dear friend had a dreadlock sheering ceremony, of which I was a part, after moving through some rough patches. These two poems – about HAIR – sprung to life from our experiences. ;)

    the powerful punch of freedom, cutting into a pixie!
    a new time
    a new chapter
    a new face
    a new me
    releasing what i’ve grown through
    bravely stepping into the trust & thrust of newfound fresh-freedom
    a rebirthing of my outer self
    to acknowledge the inner
    a marking & making
    of felt & seen congruence
    a way to stand up
    and step out
    the next incarnation of expression
    to surrender the comfort of my flirty feathery flow
    and bite into my butched bold & wherever it wants to go
    to be feminine
    to be strong
    to marry the two
    inside me all along
    to be light at the top of my head
    and rooted – even more deeply – to my fertile mother ground
    to know the power & play of reinvention
    to bask in the glow of shape-shifting evolution
    this is the outward strength that upholds
    my inner way out
    that says
    this is who i am
    this is who i am now
    this is who i’m choosing to be, here
    this is what i’m choosing to express, now
    i honor the wisdom-freedom:
    i am never just ONE thing
    so i express
    i play
    i embody
    this is what it feels to be me, here
    this is what it feels to be free, now
    i am here
    i am now
    i am me
    i am free

    Hair.
    we grow
    we flow
    we flip
    we flap
    we fix
    we fixate
    we style
    we bow
    this fibrous strand rooted about our haloed heads
    soft whispered evidence of our undeniable threads – of growth
    we hide in it
    we rock with it
    we identify with it
    we take comfort in it
    we take it on
    we take it off
    we style it
    we fiddle with it
    we twirl & twist it
    into a bountiful bevy of storied beavertails to tell
    we throw it up
    we let it down
    its perennial call for pruning
    lest we drown
    in this frivolous furry fringe
    that is our crown
    mopping & gathering along our way
    sitting atop our heads with always something to say
    this mop on our top
    a marker a quest
    long
    short
    coiffed
    or messed
    all parts & parcels of what’s asking to be expressed
    we wear it high
    we wear it low
    we wear it with us everywhere we go
    until one day we realize
    it’s wearing us
    down
    lays the story we’ve carried around
    up
    our awareness of hope & of how
    to be the expression of what we are now
    this cozy sweater above our heads
    though it bears style
    it bears grace around our framing face
    it also bears with it
    weight
    but wait
    i can DO something about this, you say
    i can relinquish my long-held riddled locks o’ love
    and freedom-flutter away
    into lightness
    into brightness
    into powerful, fuzzy-fresh growth anew
    hmmm…
    ya, i think that’s what i’ll do

    1. Hi Amber. Thanks for sharing your poems! You’re right that cutting off all of your hair feels emancipating. It’s a feeling of not caring what me or anyone else thinks about how I look anymore. Lets move beyond how we look, and get to something more meaningful, like who we are as people.

  6. Indeed – to more meaningful things than how we look! ;) And yet…here we are as people, in a visually charged world, inside of bodies that need our care & for some of us, ask us to be vehicles of expression. Having been a busy freelance commercial hair & makeup artist for a number of years, I also understand the potency of embracing yourself – looks & all – as part of the package that we can express through, with meaning. I always say, as long as the outside is a true reflection of the inside, then we’re sitting on solid ground. While “looks” are certainly not something that I choose to major in, myself (especially these days ;) ), I believe there can be a supportive connection between taking the care & time to look our best, that can help us to feel our best, and in turn be better able to confidently share our best with the world. <3
    Thanks for this fun hair share & conversation. :)

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