To Grow, Or Not To Grow?

I keep debating growing my hair out but it’s never happened. I’ve been thinking about it again lately. I am about to have a big life changing move that will end in a professional career. I want to look professional and not be ruled out for jobs by my choice of hair style, but at the same time don’t want to conform to something I’m not.

I started shaving my head at 14, played around with short hair for a couple years, shaved it again for a few years, and then had it short for a couple years. I consistently shaved it from 23 to 30 with a meager attempt for a couple months to grow it out around 26. It’s just what I have always done and how I’ve always seen myself.


Circa 1999. So long and wavy and thick.

The first time I shaved my head, I went from even, shoulder length hair to nothing in one fell swoop. I donated it to be made into a whig. My aunt had had breast cancer when I was little and that played a roll in my decision. I was also beginning to study Buddhism and bald intrigued me. I wasn’t out yet, even to myself, but maybe I needed an outward way to show there was something different about me.

When I was 23, my aunt died from lung cancer. It was very painful for me. She was the midwife at my birth, her voice was the first I heard and her hands were the first to hold me. I had just gotten back to Chicago from a failed attempt at a summer job on a dude ranch that I had grown my hair out for, so I shaved it off again. My bald head really began to define me.


Wallace this past summer pretending to shave his head. He's watched me do it every 2-4 weeks his whole life.

I think I’m attached to being bald but also don’t know how to be otherwise. My shaved head is part of my identity and something people recognize and often appreciate. But, maybe it’s time to let go of it and move on.

My hair is thick in both ways – thick semi wirey hair and lots of it. It is various shades of blond, black, and the occasional white. Last I checked, it could be a little wavy but not really anything predicable. It doesn’t really move or swish like some people’s hair does. I don’t know anything about taking care of hair beyond how to wrangle a toddler to let you get it somewhat orderly and out of their face. I haven’t bought shampoo in so many years and likely wouldn’t even if I did grow it out.

I am completely intimidated by the growing out phase and scared I won’t like how I look along the way or with it long. If I could go straight to pony tail length (remember, 16 years since the last time I did my own pony tail) and skip growing out, I would totally try it.


Long hair and bald hair. We make a cute pair.

How do people even do long hair and have it look nice? Maybe there’s something in between that would suit me better? Or I should just stick with what I know and keep shaving it?

About JennP

Single mom by choice, lesbian, natural living, parenting, car free, Chicago.Thank you for reading and feel free to leave a comment!
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18 Responses to To Grow, Or Not To Grow?

  1. kayrosey says:

    Our hair texture is probably similar, mine is really coarse and thick. It also doesn’t blow in the wind either, it sort of just moves as one unit ๐Ÿ™‚
    I hate to say it but you’re right, bald isn’t going to fly as a professional. I’ve never started from where you’re at, but I’ve been close here and there over the years, just know there will be more than one awkward phase but you have to wait it out and it will grow out of it soon.

  2. What do you do with course awkward hair?

  3. All the women on my mom’s side have shorter hair. Probably because long is unruly!

  4. kayrosey says:

    A hat or a bandana or scarf or something like that for a headband or lots of product and barrettes. Or a little shape up trim.

  5. kayrosey says:

    I’ll occasionally grow mine out to my shoulders or a little longer, but I just end up with a ponytail.

  6. I don’t know how to rock accessories.

  7. That’s what I sense I would end up doing with mine. Also not really professional looking. So maybe a goal of a short hairstyle?

  8. kayrosey says:

    You’ll get used to it if you end up going long!

  9. Like I can’t do a fashionable scarf or jewelry or anything. Glasses are hard enough but if I had to match them daily then it’d be horrible.

  10. kayrosey says:
    I think several of these cuts would look good on you ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. When I attempted to grow it out 4 years ago, I was aiming for a pixie cut. Researched a whole bunch of ideas! If I remember right from when I was 22, my hair just sticks up if it’s short.

  12. I like those first few and that length seems attainable in a year.

  13. kayrosey says:

    I like those too. You can train your hair to an extent, and find some good product to help it lay down. There’s a learning curve with hair that’s not straight and fine, but you’ll get it!

  14. Just learned the word for lots of hair is dense.

  15. You just find someone who has similar hair and a cut you think looks nice, and ask them where they have their hair cut. I would kill for lustrous thick hair all over! The growing out stage is an awkward one, and it all comes down to preference. You could get away with a cute short hair cut that would require little to no daily fussing, but short haircuts generally need trims every 4-6 weeks. Mine is mid length, just above my shoulders and I do nothing with it most days, and find I can go 3 months between cuts and it still looks decent for at least 3 months. Women I know with longer cuts can go 6-12 months between cuts. Generally, the longer the hairstyle, the less you need to worry about in terms of daily styling time.

  16. Sarah says:

    The shortest I’ve cut mine was an inch, all over with the clippers. It was down to the small of my back when I did that. I needed a change, and all I do is put it up when it’s long. If your hair grows as fast as mine – seems like thick hair grows faster, but YMMV – it took two years from one inch long to down past my shoulders – then I cut it super short again! And I love it short in the muggy summers we have.

    Right now, I guess it’s in a bit of a grown out pixie, maybe four inches long on top? I’m about to go over it with clippers around the sides and leave the top a bit longer, today!

    My hair is also dense, coarse, thick, wiry and generally difficult. I don’t care for ponytails – if it’s up I like it totally contained. Perhaps bc of my time in the military? It was down to my waist and ridiculously thick then, and I was very limited in what I was allowed to do with it. I had bangs (I love how other people look without bangs, but I can’t deal with it on me unless my hair is super short.) and would pull it back, twist it into kind of a French twist, and secure it with the biggest, most basic barrette I could find. It wasn’t easy to find, lol, but at least I could pass inspection that way. I looked pretty silly with our uniform covers on – my hair always messed with the fit. That style worked from about shoulder length down, but above that I had to be creative and pray for understanding supervisors. Girlfriends had to teach me how to braid my hair – I’d never learned.

    The thing is, I liked it long and easily put up, but the maintenance was difficult. The thickness and density just make it such a hassle. I’m going to have to figure out a shampoo free way to deal with it the next time I grow it out.

    I guess I’m just identifying with your dilemma! But if you like some of the pixies, maybe that’s all you’d need to do – my hair grows straight forward and loves to stick straight up, but I’ve found some moisturizing products that have helped it behave and stay fairly flat. Then, once you’re established, maybe you can go back to bald!

    Less hair is just so nice, tho. ๐Ÿ™‚

  17. Getting it cut and learning to style it makes me nervous. If I go for long, I will have to at least have a couple intermediary styles. I am trying to look at some pictures online since I don’t really know people to ask for advice on where to get ut cut.

  18. I have no idea how fast my hair grows! I usually shave it every 2-3 weeks. Less frequently in winter. I’m thinking it’s 1/2in or less off each time I shave it. Long hair sounds really hard in its own right.

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