Help, I’m Having a Hair Breakdown!

by Kelly on August 5, 2008 · 32 comments

in Women. Beauty. Feminism


First I have to apologize to my male readers. This is an unashamedly girly post. It’s all about hair. You’re forgiven if you want to give it a miss.

Yesterday I cut off my long hair.

It seemed like a good idea at the time, but when I got home and completed the standard ‘check your hair from every conceivable angle in the mirror’ session, I wondered if someone had give me a lobotomy while I slept because I’d just made a HUGE motherfucking mistake.

Sorry about the language, but I’m having a crisis here! I’m not myself. On the weekend I had long, sexy hair and now …

I look like a practical, suburban mother. How did this happen?

First comes the baby. Then your wardrobe shrinks to joggers and comfortable clothing. You stop wearing make-up and get a sensible haircut and all is lost. You’re another mommy robot. The old you has been strangled and left to decompose in a cupboard somewhere along with your ‘fuck me’ heels, racy red underwear and guide to the Kama Sutra.

It’s not that the cut is ugly, or I have no hair left, it’s just that only last week some friends were talking about how long my hair had gotten (it was halfway down my back). Then mum commented on how the length was bringing out the waves and ringlets, which immediately led me to fantasize about being some kind of Venus in a half shell. But not walking around nude or anything; that wouldn’t be appropriate at all.


This is what my hair used to look like. It’s not my favorite shot and it doesn’t show you how long the back layers were, but I didn’t have many photos to choose from because I seem to wear my hair up or tucked under caps a lot of the time. Probably because I’m a boring suburban mother!

If you’re like my husband, you’re now asking, “Why did you cut it, if you were so happy with it?”

Because I am an impulsive fool.

A fool who’s embarrassed to admit that I had a major freak out about aging on the weekend.

It all started on Sunday morning when I was looking for a particular old photo that I wanted to scan in and use for a future travel post. When I didn’t find it in the expected location, I widened the search and ended up looking through lots of photos from over the past 6 years. One that got my attention was the shot below. This was taken on my wedding anniversary 4 years ago, and looking at it I was struck by how cute that post baby haircut was, and HOW YOUNG I LOOKED in spite of the total lack of sleep I was getting at the time.


It was the hair or botox.

After scurrying to the mirror I realized it was true. I looked more tired and weathered now than I did when I got a maximum of four hours sleep a night. My age is finally catching up with me. I’m past my prime. Slowly degrading.

While poking and stretching the skin around my eyes, neck and forehead, I briefly entertained the thought of having botox. Luckily this idiocy lasted only a few minutes, before I fixated on the hair. It was too dark. Too long. It was dragging my face down. I needed to wear more make-up, get some highlights. I needed a new face AND new hair.

I tried to pull myself together with a “You can’t look 25 forever” pep talk, but it didn’t stick. Monday morning came and I found myself standing out the front of the hairdressers. I admired the posters of gorgeous young models with fresh skin and shiny, flowing locks. Was dazzled by the rows of hair product promising me “sleek curls’ and “no frizz’ and ‘thick lustrous locks’. And next thing I knew, I was sitting in the comfy leather chair and pointing at a cute copper coloured flip and using words like “new look”, “something fresh”. You know, the stupid hair talk that inevitably leads to trouble.

At first it was all good. A little hair pick-me-up. A bit of pampering to start off my week. And when the hair fell in five inch tresses off my head and pooled around the chair, I knew it was a mistake, but it was too late to tell Ms Scissorhands that I’d changed my mind.

“You won’t even miss it”. “It’ll grow back” and other bullshit.

When she saw my shocked, tearful face at the end, the hairdreser assured me that it wasn’t as short as sit looked, there was still PLENTY of length at the back. I don’t know what back she was looking at, but the only things I could see plenty of were grey hairs! Apparently they multiply with every inch of hair that gets cut off.

Musicman says the hair looks bouncy and it’s good to have a change. I think he’s mad. Who needs change? I’m almost 37 years old, I’m gonna change soon enough and not in a good way.

I know I have issues and I’m being negative. And I’m going to age regardless of how I feel about it, and the best years of my life are still ahead of me and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah…

Maybe the solution is more tampering. I could get a new dye job to go with the cut. I’ve never had purple hair before. Purple hair would make me look young again, wouldn’t it?

And maybe a nose ring. I don’t have nearly enough piercings. And tattoos, I probably need more tattoos…

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{ 30 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Robin 08.05.08 at 5:39 pm

Ha Ha Kelly – you crack me up! I think you definitely need more tattoos – and piercings and purple hair. These would make you SO much more attractive!

(I do think your new length is the sexiest – this length is often more lively-looking than really long hair, I reckon)

Robin’s last blog post..This Blogging Life!

2 Evelyn Lim 08.05.08 at 6:13 pm

Hey…I’m not sure why you are beating yourself up over making a lousy decision. Honestly, I think you still look great. Sure…the length is may not be as sexy but it looks more “fresh” !

I’m also in my late 30s and I know exactly how you feel. My husband has also started to complain about my dressing at home. With him working from home too, he gets to see the more dowdy side of me in a day. What happened to the sporty look i used to have? So I’m also in some kind of a makeover. I have no choice since I have decided to make more outside appointments. That means putting on something nicer than a T-shirt and pair of shorts in this tropical climate.

Your hair will grow. I am so glad that you chose it over botox! It is a wise decision.


Evelyn Lim’s last blog post..Raise Awareness; Release Guilt

3 kailani 08.05.08 at 6:40 pm

I think it looks great!

When it comes to hair, I can never make up my mind. When I have long hair, I want it short. When I have short hair, I want it long. Can’t win.

kailani’s last blog post..Visiting the Past

4 Shelley 08.05.08 at 7:29 pm

Dearest Kelly, once you’ve been to Aotearoa for a catch up with me, and impulsively, had your body smothered in jade tatoo souvineers, you’ll realise just how frigging fabulous you look. Like hello. Hey, the hair will settle after a feeewww washes. Otherwise, try wine. Straight out of the bottle. In the mouth, not on the hair. Should do the trick…. oh I love the suburban mum comparison.

5 Jenny Mannion 08.05.08 at 10:08 pm

Hi Kelly,

I think you look fabulous…. I go through the same thing EVERY time I cut my hair which is why I have successfully avoided it for over 6 months now! I HAD purple hair (actually they called the shade “eggplant”) back in college and I’ve gone through the suburban mom thing as well — ponytail, no make-up and sweats… I say a sexy dress or sexy shirt that highlights your new look might help. Something you might not wear for the playground or tumbling around on the floor with the kids but is wonderful for a night out with your husband or the ladies…. You’ve got all those sayings down but left out the one I am preaching all the time now as a soon-to-be-39-year-old — “40 is the new 30 you know”. :-)

You’re beautiful Kelly — yep, it’ll grow back but in the meantime pat yourself on the back for taking the risk and having healthier hair for it. Looking at your new cut actually made me realize how it’s time for me to make that appt — dead ends and frizz are no friends and your hair actually grows faster if you cut it (another good one)…. :-)

Thanks for the post — I know now I am not alone in my hair stresses! 😉

Love, Jenny

Jenny Mannion’s last blog post..Natural Healing Resources

6 Kelly 08.05.08 at 10:55 pm

Actually, I am serious about getting one or two more tattoos. And I think a new hair colour might be the go, though I’m not sure I have the wardrobe to match purple locks!

It’s so hard when you work from home, isn’t it? Like I’m blaming Bunny for the dowdy dressing, but to be honest it’s also because I no longer HAVE to dress for work. I can go for a run, then sit in a stinky tracksuit for half the day working at the computer, even take client calls and no one is the wiser. I do clean up for when my hubby gets home though, so I do sympathesize with your hubby being there to see your sloth!

Thank you. I’m sure with a bit of product (hey, I paid $15 for SOMETHING) and some make-up, I’ll be able to undo the dowdy mommy look. And when it grows back, you’re right I’ll look at the photos of it short again and think “that looked so good…”

Babe, when are you going to get your butt over here to drink that wine with me? xxxxx

Thanks for the compliment and thanks for stopping by. This is you first time commenting, isn’t it? Welcome to SHE-POWER. Yes, some sexy new clothes might be just the thing – a bit of a credit card work-out to soothe my frazzled nerves. Though I think I’ll skip the eggplant hair. I’m counting on 40 being the new 30 because I’m still waiting to feel like the sophisticated, self assured grown up I assumed I would one day become. Does anyone know when that kicks in?


7 Nathalie Lussier 08.05.08 at 11:34 pm

I think we’ve all made mistakes when it comes to our hair. Either we were told by others that it will look good on us, or we liked how it looked on someone else. But either way, there’s no reason to let your hair own you. Looks are about 80% attitude and 20% actual physical looks. So take out that Venus attitude and feel good about yourself! :)

Nathalie Lussier’s last blog post..Is Your Relationship with Money on the Brink of Divorce?

8 chris 08.06.08 at 1:29 am

Ok, first I love long hair but looking at the new you, YOU LOOK HOT! (excuse me Music Man)
‘Nuff said.

chris’s last blog post..Does Religion Belong In Schools?

9 Jenny Mannion 08.06.08 at 2:45 am

Hey Kelly — First time commenting though we’ve twittered… I love your blog and am happy to see someone so honest and funny writing about the many ummm… “challenges” of mommy-hood! 😉 I am counting on 40 being “the” number as for the last 18 months I have been saying at 40 I will be in the best financial, emotional, spiritual and physical shape of my life… all I can do now is work at getting to that a little more every day…. 365 + 11 = 376 days to achieve it! :-) But, I know “age is relative” and as long as I get my butt in gear and STICK to a workout plan (emotional, intellectual AND physical) I’ll be on my way! Have an awesome day! Jenny

Jenny Mannion’s last blog post..Natural Healing Resources

10 Vered 08.06.08 at 3:23 am

Oh my dear Kelly. I can SO relate to your struggles. Your late thirties are weird, because you still hold on to SOME of your youth, but with each passing year, you see an older-looking face in the mirror.

Having said that, you are a sexy, radiant woman. You are one of those women that will have a sex appeal at any age (well, up until 60 maybe?) because of the look in your eyes, the way you carry yourself, that intense personality and fierceness you have in you. So try not to worry too much.

The new haircut? In my experience, it takes around a month to get used to a new haircut. So just give it some time. :)

Vered’s last blog post..Oops. Outed.

11 Vered 08.06.08 at 3:24 am

Oh! Wanted to add – sure, you were younger in that old photo, but I think the lighting there was very flattering. Lighting plays a HUGE part in how a person looks, especially in photos.

Vered’s last blog post..Oops. Outed.

12 Urban Panther 08.06.08 at 6:28 am

I was looking at old photographs of myself..okay photos of myself in my 30s, which you are now…so um ya, geepers, I’m old. Hair! Yes, we were talking about hair. Anyway, I look at those photos and I think OMG I was so suburban! Well, d’uh. Three kids, a mini-van, and you guessed it, a house in the ‘burbs. But now, oh ya baby, Panther’s got her groove back. Sporty car, chic hairstyle, cosmopolitan clothes.

I’d tell you your hair looks fine, which it does, but you are not exactly in the receptive mood *grin*, so, instead I say throw some streaks in…pierce your belly button, if you haven’t already done so, for kicks…and let your hair grow back.

Urban Panther’s last blog post..Yep, tastes good

13 Marelisa 08.06.08 at 7:53 am

Hi Kelly: My hair is past my waist, and there’s no way I’m cutting it. I’ve gone to extremes before: from waist-long hair to above-the-shoulders hair in one fell swoop. Never again. I don’t know what to tell you because what Vered says about it taking awhile to getting used to a new haircut is true, but I also know that when I cut my hair I always miss it afterward, I just feel it’s part of my personality. If you like your hair long just resolve to let it grow back and don’t cut it off again. And never cut something off while you’re feeling down on yourself. One piece of advice: take up meditation. It takes years off your face, seriously.

Marelisa’s last blog post..Create a Personal Manifesto: Your Self-Portrait

14 Al at 7P 08.06.08 at 11:55 am

Hi Kelly,

Just wanted to echo what the others were saying. No mistake done at all – that’s a great haircut. Sometimes the gut reaction is the best decision, as the one you made here. As long as wine wasn’t part of the gut decision :)

Al at 7P’s last blog post..Do You Know What You Don’t Know?

15 Kaila 08.06.08 at 2:07 pm

I’ve had lots of weird/bad hair cuts… so a few things I’ve learned are
-they make a great excuse to buy/wear cute hats :)
-sometimes a different shade of lipstick will change the look the haircut brings out entirely.
-short, curly hair (like mine) or even wavy like yours is so much less fuss than long hair! It’s amazing what a little gel/mousse and some tousling can do to hair.

16 Kelly 08.06.08 at 5:36 pm

Feeling a bit more Venus today so I am able to see you’re right. I just need to get used to the cut and maybe find my inner goddess again. I think she got lost in sleepless nights, toddler temper tantrums and mindless routine of the early child rearing years.

Aw shucks, I’m blushing

I also said that about 40 – that I wanted to look and feel the best I ever had. I think I’m just in a slump lately and my conviction has been lost. I have a girls night out on Saturday with my original mothers group so I hope t find myself in the bottom of a bottle of shiraz.

I think that’s one fo the best compliments I’ve ever had. Can I hire you as my cheerleading squad for when I feel old, fat and ugly? You’ll be needed in about 2 weeks when I’m pre-menstrual. In a month my hair will have grown and once it’s a bit longer I think I’ll be happier.And MusicMan said the same thing about the lighting. he thinks it’s flash that’s making me look younger. He assures me that when I’m well slept I look pretty similar to then. he’s sweet, but he’s forgetting that I never seem to be well slept anymore!

@Urban Panther
My mum says the same thing. She’s shining in her 50s and she’s always telling me the early years of motherhood are a challenge and it will pass. I’ll look forward to that, and the sports car. And I’m booked in for the streaks next week. The belly button piercing I’m not so sure about…

Make me green with envy why don’t you Marelisa! Thick, waist length hair. Agh, now I want to cry, which will only make my face puffy and require even more meditation just to undo the damage. But seriously, I used to meditate religiously, but I’ve stopped in the past year and you’re right I probably should take it back up again. It’s a much better way to centre and soothe myself than chocolate and alcohol, which is my current habit.

No wine was used in the decision making process; just irrational hysteria. Thanks for the compliment though, maybe it doesn’t look as bad as I think.

I do have some cute hats, and any lipstick would look good on my un-made up face at the moment. I will experiment with a bit of gel and product in the next few days and that’s sure to make things seem better. Thanks for stopping by.


17 Cath Lawson 08.07.08 at 1:53 am

Hi Kelly – I think you suit your hair both long and short. Like you, I had long hair, then I had it all lobbed off. But if you get it cut in a bob it grows back quickly anyway.

By the way – sorry I didn´t email you the completed questionnaire yet. I meant to finish it when I got here but I forgot to pack my laptop. Will send it next week when I get back.

Cath Lawson’s last blog post..Could The F Word Harm You?

18 Rachel 08.07.08 at 11:29 am

I don’t think you look like a boring mummy at all. I’m not an expert in how to manage beauty and motherhood since I don’t have children, but from the photos I’ve seen you always look nice and seem to have your own style. I think you’re just feeling low right now. Get a new colour, and if you don’t like the new cut once it’s settled, then you can always grow it back. Hair is good that way. A mistake is not forever. And I think you’d look good with purple highlights, but maybe that’s just me.


19 Donna Moore 08.07.08 at 12:49 pm

Hi Kel,
earlier this year I had my long hair cut super short, I got home and hated it. Given a couple of weeks I actually grew used to an different person looking back at me.
Then I decided to stop colouring my hair, so I went from long blonde hair to short silver hair. This new look has taken me much longer to accept, I identified with the other me and the one staring back from the mirror looked like someone else. After some indepth self analysis I find that I am still me, its the outer shell not looking the same anymore.
I have at last grown to like the new look it was just a surprise everytime I caught a glimps of myself somewhere.
So give it a while and once the shock has passed you may actually like it. If you don’t well go radical and use and outrages colour and add some spikes maybe.
You know that you are beautiful and you know that you aren’t defined by your hair, your just being such a girl……………

20 Monica 08.07.08 at 1:55 pm

Hi Kelly!
Well, I hope by now you are settling into your new doo, I just wanted to stop by and say you look FABULOUS!!
I understand your hair drama all too well (don’t we all!), my husband actually wrote a testimonial to my new hairdresser, thanking her for relieving years of hair drama and stress in our home after a good haircut. I had to laugh!

21 Monika Mundell 08.07.08 at 2:22 pm

Hi Kelly,

Wow, you roped me in with your entertaining and all so hilarious account of getting your hair cut and then you didn’t even provide a picture of how you look now. Is it really that bad? Seriously though Kelly, this was the best article i have read in a while. The way you wrote this was exactly how I feel at times. Priceless! Like you, I’ve been toying with the haircut issue for some time. Being past 40 and still wearing my hair long (not as long as you though) is some kind of taboo, or so they say.

Naturally hubby says no. But then he also said no to me wanting a tattoo for years and now I FINALLY HAVE ONE. WOOHOOO.

I’m sure you look awesome still and I really want to see that pic of you now. I could have sworn you are my long lost sister when you wrote this post as it could have been me if you add 4 years and take away the make up and 5 inches of hair to start with. :-)

I could hug you right now! Seriously.

Monika Mundell’s last blog post..Going Offline – Breaking Into Magazines

22 Gunfighter 08.08.08 at 1:19 am

So… what’s the prob, Kelly?

I think the new cut is sexy. Don’t spend too much time thinking about it… it looks good.

Gunfighter’s last blog post..Sometimes I Dream

23 Kelly 08.08.08 at 10:23 am

Hey, hope you’re enjoying your holiday. Thanks for making the time to stop by. Don’t worry about the questionnaire. When you get back is fine.

Thank you, I’m not feeling so boring now. I’ve had time to play around with it now so I’m not feelign so bad and I am looking forward to playing around with some colour next week.

I am being a girl. Looking forward to seeing your new do. xx

Thanks for the compliment and your husband makes me laugh, though I do agree that a good hairdresser is PRICELESS. My fine, wavy hair either looks curly and bouncyif well cut or flat and kinky if not. Thankfully this cut was done well – I am just getting used to the lack of length.

The top picture is how I look now. I know it’s not short, but it does look quite different than before, particularly in real life. I’ve gone from distinctly long hair which was kind of hippie curly and flying everywhere, to a more neck-shoulders, modern haircut. But like I said above, it’s alright now and I can grow it back if I want to.

As for long hair and aging, I have no time for supposed taboos. As long as you can look nice with long hair then bugger everyone else’s opinion. My grandmother had thick, silver hair to her bottom until she was around 60 and it was amazing! The only reason she got it cut was she had a heart attack and couldn’t look after it anymore. And from your photo on your blog I think you look pretty good for post 40. And congrats on the tattoo – I only have one, but there will be another couple coming in the next year, I think. I take awhile to decide.

Thank you. Hubby really does like it, so once it settles in more I am sure I will feel sexy again.


24 Roz Mitchell 08.14.08 at 7:53 pm

Hi Kel wow you cut me up excuse the punt,but you look gorgeous sexy and you shine a few highlights and a good night out to show off this new sexy mumma.

25 Louise Pool 08.19.08 at 9:28 pm

Kelly, you look fantastic with your new hairdo! I do know how you feel though. Been there, done that.

I went through the whole age crisis thing before hitting 40. Strangely, it was on my 40th birthday that it stopped. i suddenly thought to myself that I had 40 really interesting and exciting years and here’s to another 40 to go. Now I’m a long-haired 46 year old with nearly grown children and am told I look better than i did in my mid-thirties. Less tired I think, because the kids are older and I’m out of a rather draining relationship… :-)

Louise Pool’s last blog post..Are You a Natural Entrepreneur

26 Ahmed Ghd 10.11.08 at 1:12 am

Honestly I think you are being too hard on yourself, you still look good!

Ahmed Ghd’s last blog post..GHD Limited Edition Dark

27 Lexi of Creative Energies 10.16.08 at 7:18 am

I am bemused here. You look great!

I am reminded once more how out of sync I usually am with my own age group, at whatever age you mention. My long hair crisis was in the eighth grade. My below the waist hair began falling out and the doctor said to cut it, so off it came! I was too ill in my twenties to care about hair. Also both my parents died then. I started feeling better in my thirties so my take on aging was it was truly good to be past my twenties. By my forties I felt great, met a wonderful man, and am enjoying life with him. My fifties have been powerfully productive and I look forward to my sixties and beyond.

The point is, simply live as though the age you are is the best age to be. Eliminates a lot of angst that way!

28 sally 06.05.13 at 6:25 pm

I was giving birth three months ago. I have a long hair but since giving birth my hair start to fall out every day. Then I stress and cut my hair and now my hair is in short style. Do you have any solution for growing hair?

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30 santhosh 07.31.14 at 3:38 am

Thanks for your concern for male readers. Highly appreciate it. ? You look great by the way! I have a hairstyle blog in my quest to understand girls, and boy, the thoughts are coming in rich from sites like yours. Do visit my site sometimes. It shall be great to have your feedback’s on how good I am in understanding women.

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