Haircut Procrastination

I have been procrastinating on cutting my hair for 7 months.

Getting a pixie cut three years ago made me feel incredibly confident. It was a change I had wanted for a long time – ever since Emma Watson (the personification of my hero Hermione) reinvented herself after Harry Potter. I was looking for reinvention after a shitty freshman year of college, and I found it in that pixie cut. I felt free from having to put my hair up every day, free from the toxic friendships that had marred that freshman year, free from my past selves, free to be out and open. I frequently refer to that first cut as the best decision I have ever made.

Since then there have been a couple of dorm-bathroom buzzcuts, a couple of salon visits to keep it professional but short, and one semester with a ‘man-bun’. Until this year.

In January I went to the salon to get rid of the man-bun and prepare for the slew of interviews that I was sure would be along shortly.   I even got a trim in June, though this time at a barber shop where he decided to “leave it a little longer in the back, keep it feminine”. I think this is where things started to go wrong. I knew a couple months after this that I should have gone back to the salon, but I procrastinated and procrastinated. i was working two part time jobs and suddenly couldn’t spare the $40. I just kept not getting a haircut, and then I realized that at this point I was actively ‘growing out my hair’.

It is now January once again and I still have the mullet (thanks to that barber in June).My hair is long enough that it looks cute and I can put it in a pony-tail (plus side bangs). I like it how it looks right now, most of the time, especially when I have it up.

But I find myself constantly agonizing over how to move forward. Should I cut it short again? Or return to the bob I had in high school, even though I wore that in a ponytail every day and resented having to use conditioner? Was the liberation I felt with short hair limited to the queer casual spaces I inhabited in college? Am I willing to commit to the maintenance that having professional looking short hair requires? Am I having a gay life crisis, trying to hide myself behind my hair?

I don’t know why this feels so important to me, why I’m devoting so much time and ink and energy to debating what to move next. I hate that hair and presentation feels so important to me and I hate how much I know it impacts how I am viewed. I hate the weight that I’m placing on this next cut, as though I’m definitively choosing one path over another. I hate that I feel compelled to write these paragraphs. Short hair shouldn’t feel like such a statement.

For at least another few weeks I’ll let this mullet grow out more, putting it half-up in a bun for most of the day. We’ll see.

How to Survive Your Period at Work

Getting my period has long been a big problem in my life. In high school, I would almost faint from cramps, and in college pain and nausea would have me lying on the floor of my dorm room instead of sitting in class. I remember being worried about how I would handle this when I started working full time – I wouldn’t be able to miss a day of work once a month, every month!

After a couple of summer internships and a few months in my current office job, I’ve found some office-friendly solutions to keep me pain and nausea to a minimum, at least until period leave becomes a reality. While the pain still hits me like a bus, at least now I’m prepared, any day of the week.

1.  Track

When I got my first smartphone a year ago, one of the first apps I downloaded was Clue. One of the most popular period-tracking apps, I like it because it’s easy to use, not overly feminine, and has greatly reduced my anxiety about when my period is coming. Being able to plan and no longer being caught totally off-guard means I can have my anti-period-pain tools at the ready. The longer you use the app the more accurate it is, and I am now really reaping the benefits of being on top of my body’s cycle.

2. Keep supplies at the ready

In my work’s Secret Santa gift-swap, I was given a small bag that is the perfect size to keep in my work tote bag. I think it was originally a nail care kit, but I have instead filled it with a couple of pads, two types of pain reliever (you can take Advil and Tylenol together!), some mints that help me with nausea, and some band-aids (I handle a lot of paperwork and am prone to paper cuts). I don’t have a desk to keep personal items in so I bring it back and forth every day in my tote bag; even if I know I’m not getting my period that day (thanks, Clue!), I also am prone to stress headaches so it’s good to have those meds on hand throughout the month.

3. Bring a heating pad

When I was in high school I wasn’t able to swallow pills, so heating pads were a life saver for me, and in fact I’m still a little wary of excessive medication so I still rely on them every month. The one I have is relatively inexpensive, I think it cost around $14 at  CVS. At an office job, it’s very easy to have it plugged in by your chair, resting on  your back. Keep one at your desk if you can, or bring one back and forth when you need it like I do.

4. Take a walk

It’s the last thing I want to do on the first few days of my period, but I notice relief even from the four block walk from my car to the office. I usually spend my lunch break camped out in a Dunkin’ Donuts scrolling through Twitter, but taking a 20 minute walk makes me feel a lot better any time of the month. Since I’ve noticed this connection I’m trying to commit to moving throughout the day, not just sitting motionless at my desk until lunch. I find this keeps the muscles throughout my body a little looser, not to mention the ever-present relationship between exercise and endorphins.