Fringe benefits: Self-growth from a bad haircut

Approx Reading Time-10Recently my treasured locks were brutalised by a particularly bad haircut. After some advice, and a period of seclusion, I discovered we are not what we keep.


I never thought I’d ever be the person who would cry from receiving a bad haircut. But it turns out that I was exactly that person, when I cried for three days straight after receiving a haircut so traumatic it was kind of amazing. I’d gone from feeling like a somewhat pretty girl with healthy, shoulder-length hair, to feeling like that boy at primary school whose mum stuck a bowl on his head and cut around it. I seriously couldn’t help but stare in wonderment at the mass of mess on my head.

As I sat in the salon’s swivel chair in front of the huge mirror, trying to compose my reaction as the hairdresser kept cutting the few strands of hair I had left, I noted symptoms that were not unlike a panic attack. The racing heart, uncontrollable sweating, irritability and tears behind the eyes. Of course, in Katie style, when the hairdresser asked if I liked my haircut I said, “OMG, yes!”. I mean, just because my life was ruined, it didn’t mean I had to ruin hers, but the truth is that there was no reversing this shit. And I swear they knew it was bad anyway; they were overly complimentary about it but with stares and acts like, “Wow, that didn’t work out well. Have some free shit so you don’t give us a bad review.” Still, they weren’t shy about asking for the overly costly payment.

Beyond the viciously ironic robbery, I got home as fast as I could as my mind spooled into a reckless plan of action. “I’m going to have this haircut for a while, so I’ve got to make the best of this.” I pinned, styled, parted, moussed the life out of it and after a few hours I thought I had it, went downstairs to be greeted by my housemate whose first words were “OMG, what the fuck happened to you?”. I laughed realising just exactly how bad it was and thought, yeah-nah, there’s no making this work. I was going to have to get used to the four walls of my bedroom because I would never be leaving it again; I’d hibernate like a bear under the whilst seeking sustenance from taking every kind of hair growing supplement humanity has conjured since 1455 AD.

We have kids wanting Botox and cosmetic surgerieswhat kind of example am I making by crying over a haircut? I knew I had to change my thinking. It’s been almost two months, and I somehow feel more beautiful than I did pre-haircut.

After a few days of this, and dying from boredom, I realised as a 28-year-old, I can’t keep thinking this way about myself, that I should know better. That I need to figure some shit out. Not to do with my exterior, but involving the interior. How can I be so caught up in what I look like at this age, like it’s the only worthy thing about me? Why have I become someone who only sees worth in herself if she feels and looks pretty? From one haircut, I honestly went from feeling like I had something to offer to feeling like a piece of shit.

It really shocked me that I felt this way – that my confidence was so reliant on fashion and beauty. We’ve become a world that is so much about exterior looks that if something like a bad haircut happens, it really messes us up – any kind of pretty we could feel diminishes. From media shoving what we should look like in our faces every second of the day, how can we not get caught up in it? And this is coming from a fashion and beauty writer. We have kids wanting Botox and cosmetic surgeries to feel prettier. Kids! What kind of example am I making by crying over a damn haircut?

I knew I had to change my thinking, to realise that my hair will grow back (especially now that I’d been doing my hair growing nightly dances – don’t knock it, it’s working) and to get back to a point where I feel beautiful inside out.

It’s been almost two months, and with some great self-talk and amazing kind words from people I care about, I somehow feel more beautiful than I did pre-haircut.

Which any way you wish to cut it, is self-growth – no matter the length.



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