Brand New haircut

There is something about a brand new haircut that makes me feel lighter. A few inches trimmed away and the weight of the world almost lifted. That moment when the cape comes off and you shake your head back and forth so you can feel how the hair falls around your head as you run your fingers through it. 

I had just felt that feeling, leaving the salon lighter than when I entered it. Feeling really really great, wishing I had a date or somewhere fun to go instead of grocery shopping. But off to the grocery store I went. Walking down the street to my car, with extra bounce in my step, still shaking my head back and forth, gently, feeling the waves tickle my cheeks, and the cool breeze that felt like fall carrying the smell of fancy salon product to my nose. 

I stopped at the corner waiting for my turn to cross, pressing the button to the crosswalk. I waited and as I did, I smiled to myself, as that breeze blew through my hair. Still feeling light. And then I heard it, a big truck drive by a little too fast and then suddenly break to slow down and I heard the yelling of a lot of loud words at me and the words “too fat” somewhere in there among them. I looked up I saw a young man, probably not even 20, yell those hateful words in my direction as he and the driver pointed as they laughed at me and then looked back and laughed at each other, together.  

At first I looked around. He couldn’t be talking to me, could he? Still in my workout clothes from my morning workout with part of my shirt that hung over my lower back actually still damp from sweating, just a few hours earlier. I glanced in all directions wondering if anyone else had heard. I was the only person on the sidewalk at that busy intersection. I was still confused. He couldn’t be talking about me with my brand new haircut that made me feel like a million bucks could he? That made me feel lighter. I was so much lighter.

He was. But he wasn’t talking about me but yelling at me. Calling me fat. Laughing at me. 

Time froze for a moment. I thought about how he doesn’t know me. My journey. All that I’ve been through to be strong and proud of the body I’m currently in. A body I don’t ever think or say such words to. Never. A body I’m proud of. A body I move every single days in ways I’m so grateful for. He doesn’t know how I feel about myself. How much I love myself.

And in that moment as the scene continued on in what seemed like slow motion and I looked up, my hair still bouncing in the breeze, new hair product smell still in the air, I looked him in the eyes and smiled. Like, really smiled at him. Intentionally and directly. I caught he off guard. He looked back at me, a bit puzzled, confused by my response. He stopped yelling. I smiled at him because I thought he needed more kindness in his life. He did. He sat back in his seat and softened the minute he saw it. Maybe he does know how I feel about myself. Proud. Full of love. And then as he silently sped off, cowardly just as the words he spoke I stood strongly in the spot on the corner of the crosswalk, still smiling to myself as the breeze blew through my hair. I took out my phone and took this photo to remember the moment he said what he said to me and the even more important moment when I decided not to believe him. 

Still feeling light, even lighter than before, I crossed the street, smiling, running my fingers through my hair the entire way. 🧡

Sarah Polite