A sense of loss

The last two weeks have been a whirlwind for me. I cut my hair short; we went north to San Francisco to celebrate our anniversary, we went south to Murrieta courtesy of Explore Murrieta and then we spent last weekend celebrating our granddaughter’s 6th birthday.

Whew, I’m tired just writing that.

I shared my last two weeks on social media and out of everything I posted, getting my hair cut got the most attention. Especially when one week after cutting it super short, I shared that I had major regrets about it.

The overwhelming response was encouragement and support. A few pretty much told me to get over it as it will grow back. To which I wanted to respond, “Duh.” That was not the point of sharing my fear and remorse.

Our hair and appearance affects our confidence, whether we want to admit it or not. It is part of our identity and how we see ourselves, and it starts when we are young.

When I was little my mom would brush my long hair and pull it back into a tight ponytail, and if I did not sit still she would whack me with the back of the brush. It was not a fun experience.

She finally got tired of my squirming and complaining and when I was in 4th grade I got my first pixie cut. I hated it.

4th grade school photo

I wanted to wear a baseball cap to school to hide it because I hated it so much. But then I realized the upside was I no longer had to endure the daily struggle with my mom, that brush and getting my hair pulled back so tight I’d have a headache by the end of the day.

It wasn’t until I was 16 that I cut it again, and by then it was down to my waist. My sister cut it to just past shoulder length and gave me a perm! It was 1975 and disco and big hair were in full swing. I was so thrilled with my new curls I kept up the perms for several years.

1975 – Just before getting a cut and perm

Turning 35 was a very big deal to me for some reason and that was the next time I cut my hair into a short pixie. I don’t know what I was thinking! But the upside was my boys were little and it was so much easier to actually have a style instead of a daily “mom ponytail.”

1994 when I was 35 years old
1994 – 35 years old

Since that time, I’ve had many styles and colors and for the most part felt very comfortable with how I looked. Twice before I stopped dying my hair and let my natural color come out, and both times I hated it and went back to coloring my hair.

So here I am about to turn 60 and for whatever reason thought this was the time to make a major change.

Why do I have a need to make such a drastic change on these milestone birthdays?

At 35 I felt like it was a time to let go of my youth and truly step into adulthood. I remember struggling with the idea of turning 35 and felt a sense of loss of childhood and youth.

As I approach 60 I am again feeling a sense of loss, and I’m not even sure why that is. In thinking about it, what I am probably feeling is a loss of my prime years.

Perhaps cutting my hair is symbolic of loss for me?

The Golden Years?

Reader Comments

  1. Amy Kennedy

    Goodness, Loretta! All I know is I think you are like a sunbeam and I love you and think you are beautiful no matter what! So my heart says, “Loretta do what makes you happy, and if you want to grow your hair out and dye it green and braid it like in the movie “10” you will never look more beautiful to me because it is You!” You have a beaming personality and a courage that rallies me every single day. So wherever you take us on this adventure, no matter what your thoughts, your style, your destination, I am so in, and cheering you on from Michigan!

    • Loretta Sayers
      Loretta Sayers

      Thank you Amy. It was interesting to explore why I chose to cut my hair so short on those two milestone birthdays! I appreciate you and love that you are cheering me on!! Xx

  2. Patti

    I know exactly what you mean! The rational me knows I shouldn’t put so much stock in what my hair looks like, but it’s not always easy to be rational.

  3. Cindy Scurry

    It is very interesting that you are motivated or driven to make such big changes on milestone birthdays! Perhaps you are wanting to emerge as a new person on these birthdays – to arrive at this place new and “improved”.

    Girlfriend, I sincerely love your hair short. I think you look brighter and more alive! You’ve been styling it so wonderfully! Ironically, I actually carried your same hair style in my wallet for a few years while in my late 30’s because I wanted to cut my hair like that! I love the long top bangs over the short back cut. It’s my favorite short cut!

    Here you are….new hairdo and all…go bravely into your 60’s – rock this new do like the fierce babe that you are! Who knows how many you’ve influenced to get their hair cut as cute. 😉

    BTW, my mother hit me with the brush doing the same tight pulled back hair style. Left marks on me with the bristles once. 🙁

    • Loretta Sayers
      Loretta Sayers

      Cindy, thank you so much for this. I honestly didn’t know I was going to write all of this until I sat down at my computer. My sister sent me that picture of me when I was 35 and the photo of me in 4th grade is in my room. Those two pictures stirred emotions for sure.

      And what’s with moms hitting us with that damn brush??

  4. Nukhet Hendricks

    I felt your sense of loss deep in my heart. When I was growing up, my immedate circle of women considered a woman’s hair as her crown… long and lush hair was revered and sought after.
    I had curly hair growing up and my mother got tired of dealing with it. She had it cut so short when I was 7 that people thought I was a boy. It wasn’t until after I left for college that I grew my hair long.
    I always felt like I didn’t have a “crown” when I didn’t have long hair.
    As a woman the length and the style of my hair affects how I feel about myself and if I end up with a bad or shorter than I like haircut, sense of loss is there … like relinquishing my crown

    • Loretta Sayers
      Loretta Sayers

      Thank you so much for this comment. I appreciate that you understand my feelings about this. I do feel a sense of loss, not necessarily for my hair but for the fact that my “prime” years are behind me. I’m not saying it’s all downhill from now on, but I do acknowledge that there are fewer years in front of me than behind me.


  5. Wendy Allott

    You look beautiful with short hair! It absolutely suits you.

    I cut my hair off when I was fifteen and, except for weddings, have never grown it out since. My hair is fine and wavy which equals fluffy. It’s just better short. That said, I cried for years every time I got my hair cut. I think, when I was younger, cutting my hair or getting new make up, or whatever was really about me not liking who I was and expecting an external change to fix that – and it didn’t. So, I understand how cutting your hair can be emotional. And, of course, it doesn’t matter how many people tell us they love our new do, if we hate it then we won’t believe them.

    But I will say it again, you look stunning.

    • Loretta Sayers
      Loretta Sayers

      Thank you, Wendy. I am actually liking my shorter hair now. I just wrote this to try and understand why I decided to cut it now. The only other time in my life it was short was at 35.

  6. jodie filogomo

    Loretta….Honestly, I just adore your hair short. Of course, if you don’t like it, I understand. But that photo when you were 35?? OMG…it’s fantastic. I told you that when I first saw it short a couple of weeks ago. I think it shows your face more, and just adds to your beauty.
    Not that I don’t love long hair. I do . Trust me, i’ve had hair envy most of my life. But even in the 4th grade photo, I’m not sure what you didn’t like?? Maybe because each time you do it, it’s such a big change??

  7. jodie filogomo

    I actually just went back to some of your older photos to compare too. And I stand by my opinion. I think knowing your personality and seeing your hair shorter and more sassy…it all goes together. Otherwise, it was just hair with no real statement.
    That probably didn’t come out right, but I do love it. Every time I see it.

    • Loretta Sayers
      Loretta Sayers

      Ha! It did come out right!
      Thank you, Jodie. I am actually really liking it now. As you said, I have a style! I wrote this to understand why I felt the need to make a drastic change. Like when I was 35 – same thing. And both times I felt a loss of something…like youth! lol So maybe short hair actually represents youth for me?? hmmm…that just came to me.

  8. Char Blair

    Loretta, thank-you for sharing your journey with us, the ups, and downs, your truth, including your doubts about your hair cut. Love your writing style and your trail blazing attitude…I am grateful and right on your heels as I look forward to my 57th birthday in a few weeks….I have this get up and go, that I haven’t felt for years…we are reinventing what it looks like to be bold brave and beautiful women in our 50, 60’s, 70’s and beyond. Smashing stereotypes. PS I adore your short hair, love seeing the grey, but I also love you in longer hair…heck, you could probably rock no hair xoxoxo

    • Loretta Sayers
      Loretta Sayers

      Char, thank you! I have really enjoyed sharing my journey here. It has taught me so much.
      We are changing what 60 is. My parents were old at 40 – healthy, attitude, appearance. But we are taking better care of ourselves and it is making a huge difference!
      I am getting used to my hair and finding fun styles. I will definitely let it grow out, but I’ll be sure to enjoy each stage along the way! XX

  9. Rebecca

    Loss. Interesting my friend. You have been, to me, on fire with wonder and happiness since I’ve known you. Perhaps this is self-induced. Our thoughts are EVERYTHING!!!! 🙂

    • Loretta Sayers
      Loretta Sayers

      I don’t think it’s self-induced – just honest. No one is on fire 100% of the time, especially me.

      I love to dig deep and examine my feelings and enjoy sharing them. My hope has always been that it allows others to do the same. No need to put on a happy face all the time. Feeling a sense of loss is okay – life is full of ups and downs and I like feeling it all. Xx

  10. Nancy Giacolone

    I echo the sentiments of those that have commented before me – the shorter style seems to suit you better and let’s your the light shine through.

    I have always been envious of those that could truly rock a short cut (like you.). Mine has always been “medium, shoulder length or shorter” except right after I had my son when I chopped it off. Unfortunately, it was not a good look for me.

    Interestingly enough, I have always had bangs or a “fringe” as they call it now until about a year ago when I decided to grow it out and it has been a struggle!! Just like you with your short cut, I have had major remorse about the loss of my bangs but am finally adjusting and loving this new style.

    You are an inspiration in so many ways and I personally am grateful for you sharing your journey with all of us struggling with many of the same midlife issues.

    • Loretta Sayers
      Loretta Sayers

      Nancy, thank you. Isn’t it interesting how we see ourselves? And also the picture we have in our mind of how we look. If it doesn’t match what we see in the mirror, we feel off.

      Thanks for sharing your story too – I sure appreciate it! Xx

    • Loretta Sayers
      Loretta Sayers

      Thank you!! I am loving my hair now!

      And, like I said…”what I am probably feeling is a loss of my prime years.”

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