My Hair Journey
How I changed my hair to reflect the changes in my life.
By Caroline Kawabe
Graphic by Tamar Ponte
One of my most embarrassing stories revolves around a haircut. However, it’s not what you think — the haircut was not even bad. As a kid, I always had very long hair and was incredibly scared to cut it. So, when I got a haircut that was a bit shorter than I wanted, I threw a temper tantrum. I cried so dramatically that the police showed up. What an annoying kid!
The point of that story was to show how even from a young age we tend to connect our hair to our identity — sometimes even more than we know. When I was younger, I always liked to have my hair the same color, length, everything. It was comfortable to me and that was how I liked it. But as I evolved, grew, and changed, so did my hair.
Perhaps my biggest hair change was before the start of sixth grade. Something came over me, and I decided to cut off over 12 inches and get bangs. At the time, I loved the haircut and was so happy with my decision. Looking back, it’s a bit of a “yikes” moment.
Eventually I grew out the bangs as well as the rest of my hair, and by the end of seventh grade I had a long “mane” as my mom liked to call it, and I wanted to dye my ends blonde. I ended up BEGGING my mom to let me dye my hair for the first time. Being from California, I just was so excited to have that ombré summer sun kissed style. And I did!
Then before the start of the school year, I cut and dyed it dark again to look more “studious.” I stayed with darker hair and continued to cut my hair pretty short until freshman year of high school when I grew it out. Over summer, I decided to venture into color! I dyed the tips of my hair cherry red and was so excited. It ended up fading rather quickly to a light pink, but it was fun while it lasted.
I cut it myself for the first time before the start of the next school year, and kept it that way for a bit. Eventually, by winter, I decided to dye it jet black. By that point, it was pretty long, and I kept it in that style for the rest of the year. Over summer again I dyed it purple and blue “galaxy.” As you may have guessed, this was during my rebellious emo phase.
As I finally started to mature and really grow into myself, so did my hair. At the start of junior year, I cut and dyed my hair lighter. I got curtain bangs and highlights and went with the short beach wave look for the rest of junior and senior year, progressively going lighter.
Before coming to Boston, my hair was very long and I dyed it very blonde. I loved it and was so excited to bring that SoCal look to Boston. I think these changes really started to reflect my growth and changing as a person.
That summer, I was inspired by one of my mom’s haircuts, and decided to cut bangs and dye my roots blonde again.
By the fall of this year, I went back to a brown root with lighter ends and cut off 7 inches!
Changing your hair can be so therapeutic, at least in my experience. It has reflected the changes in my personality, perception of the world, as well as my growth as a young woman. I am so grateful for my mom’s support on all the different hairstyles I always wanted to try, and I look forward to continuing my hair journey.