There’s a running gimmick about women and breakups and it has to do with their hair. According to society, women do messed up shit to their hair after their heart it broken. It’s some kind of freeing move, somewhat of a reinvention of identity, and I never quite understood it until now.
I stare at my pale face in the mirror above the sink of the upstairs bathroom. It’s later in the evening, and everyone has since gone to sleep. My mother has a shift at the hospital in the morning and my father has to go into the office early so they’ve both retired to their bedroom with apologies about wishing they could stay up and comfort me longer. Honestly, I prefer the solitude, I prefer being able to deal with things on my own, I’ve always been that way. Of course, this isn’t something I’m ever going to tell them, they’d be too hurt. Instead, I’ve been accepting their comforting words and warm hugs all while wishing I had just a moment to think to myself.
As I stare into my own eyes, I sigh in content. This is that moment. Sure, Baxter sits at my feet, looking up at me with his curious eyes, but for a dog owner, this is as close to solitude as one gets.
The girl in the mirror looks nothing like the carefree Annie I’ve seen staring back at me in the past. Her once bright eyes are now dull and lifeless as they’re rimmed red and framed with deep circles. My skin looks pallid. Overall, I look broken down and my hair doesn’t look any better. I’ve barely brushed it in the past few days and the once healthy strands look more like straw as they frame my face. I reach up and play with it between my fingers.
He used to like my long hair. He used to enjoy running his fingers through it, pulling it, or wrapping it around his fist. All of a sudden, I’m disgusted by my own appearance and it’s not because of my obviously beaten down spirit shining through the surface.
It’s all because of him.
The man I fell in love with is the reason that when I look at my long blonde tresses- the ones I used to love-I want to do nothing but vomit. I swallow bile in the back of my throat and grab a large piece of my hair and tug on it hard, fully prepared to start ripping it out of my skull, when something silver catches my eye on the counter.
I slowly release the pressure from my hair and bring my hands to the silver pair or scissors on the edge of the sink. I lift them up to my hair and start to cut. Snip. Again. Snip. Once more. Snip. It’s almost as I’m in a trance as I keep cutting. A single tear streams silently down my cheek and I make a promise to myself for that to be the last tear I give him the satisfaction of crying over my broken heart. With every swipe of the scissors I feel more and more free.
Golden hair falls into the sink as I mindlessly chop at my hair. I think about the past half a year. I think about his soulful eyes, the way he used to hold me tight to his chest, his boisterously confident laugh, or the firm line his lips used to make when he was about to punish me. I look back on the feelings of absolute bliss and the highs he could take me to and before I know it, there’s a pile of hair in the sink and I surprisingly feel better, freer, a women reborn.
I lock the memories of him away and put the scissors back on the countertop before looking up. What was once long flowing hair has now been chopped into a messy bob that dances on my shoulders. I run my fingers through it lightly and for the first time in days, feel a smile playing on my lips.
I feel different. It was just a haircut, but to me it was much more. By chopping off something that drew him to me, I’m effectively closing that chapter of my life. I was lost, lost in him, lost in the sex, the lust, lost in love, but now I’m free. Now, I’ve found myself once more.
I am no longer Princess Annalise, or Little American, or Daniel’s docile wife. No. I am Annie. I am ice queen Annie who stupidly let someone tear down her protective romantic wall, but never again. No. As I stare at the strong woman in the mirror I smile and make another promise to myself.
I’ll never again let a mean break my heart as he did. I will never again give another that power.
From now on, I’ll be the strong woman who has just straightened her shoulders in front of me. I’ll be the woman who’s piercing blue eyes flash with confidence and determination. I’ll be the Annie Shaw who refuses to shed another tear for he who doesn’t deserve it.
Baxter’s little confused yip breaks me out of my empowering stare and I smile warmly down at him before lifting him up in my arms. He licks the tear of my cheek before attacking my face with his tongue. I can’t help but laugh. “Alright, alright, it’s okay. Easy killer. I know I’ve been in a bit of a rut, but mommy’s okay now.”
I stare back into my own eyes in the mirror. “I’m okay now.” I whisper, and this time, I believe it.