to cut or not to cut?

I was cleaning up the files on my phone and saw this two-year-old Word document with several short essays on it. One of these essays are the one you will be reading below. I chose this one specifically because… well, I did just talk about having my hair cut in a recent post (which I published last February but I digress).

And as I read it, I still felt the truth behind and relevance of the words Kate of two years ago wrote.

Perhaps you will find a grain of truth in it too.

barbers scissors and combs on orange background


So what style do you want?”

The petite lady calmly asked me when she finished putting the cape over my shoulder. The salon smelled of hair products and shaving cream. You can hear the buzz of the electric shaver and the softer buzz of a television somewhere in the room.

I pushed the cape away to show my fist clutching my phone underneath, “I want it like this, please.”

“Same length?”


“Same style, too?”


This was it. This was where all the nerves and uncertainty of the past few days end. I was finally going to have my hair cut. Short. Like really, really short.

I was scrolling through Pinterest several days before, looking for a short hairstyle that would look good on me. My search varied from “short layered hairstyle for fine hair” to “short hair oval face”.

Look, I do not shy away from haircuts. I love having my hair cut. Outside Christmas and the start of summer break, getting my hair cut is something I look forward to every year. But I realized recently how I have my hair cut in a slightly different variety of the same thing: straight cut but shorter, layered V-cut but longer, shoulder-length with layers. One of my college friends told me something that stuck with me: “Have you ever had your hair cut in any way besides straight cuts and layers?”

Yeah! I had it cut shorter, I had answered defensively. But he was right. My “short” hairstyle then was shoulder-length.

And so, when I decided to go for something new, looking for that perfect something new became a stressful ideal.

Would this look good on me? The model looks pretty and has a cute face… I don’t think my oval face is the same. Would this flatter my features or make it look awful? My left side of the face is already wonky… should I make it worse?

“It’s something new! You can always grow your hair again. Just try it!” was my aunt’s exhausted reply to all my questions and insecurities. And I know she was right. She was right. And yet… it’s always easier said than done, isn’t it?

The decision to have a completely different haircut – something beyond what you are used to – feels like such a superficial problem to worry and stress over. But you worry and stress over it, nonetheless. It is still something you must decide:

To cut or not to cut? That is question.

Like any decision you need to make, you also weigh in your options. You list down the pros and cons. You factor in other things to consider. And when you’ve picked out the option you’d go for, you wonder, “Is this the right thing to choose?”

I recently listened to an episode from one of my favorite self-improvement podcast, Straight & Curly, about being more decisive. From both Carly and Kelly, I learned how whichever choice you make, you’d still get some pros and cons. You can always grow your hair again. You can always try something else next time.

Maybe this is one of those many examples of how much I fear failing. Because picking the wrong decision would mean failing, right?

Over and over, I thought of this on my head for the next few days. I thought of cutting my hair short and my fear of failure and the curious yet uncanny connection between the two. And as the petite salon lady settled herself on a chair behind me and I felt the cold metal of her scissors on the nape of my neck, I thought about how you often have no idea if you did choose the right thing. Not even when you’re already sitting on the salon chair and feel the weight on your head be lighter and lighter with every-


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