I Cut My Hair to Fight My Depression

Vanessa Torre

My plan backfired on me.


Sometime in August, my friend Liesl called my hair “luxurious.” At the risk of sounding arrogant, she was right. I had some badass hair. I’m blessed with Italian genes that gave me long, thick, dark hair. It commanded attention. I hated it.

Men loved my hair. When I got divorced, I briefly saw a guy who told me my hair was what he found most attractive. I mention cutting it. “Never do that,” he said.

His social media was chock full of pictures of him and random women with long, dark hair. I was a cookie cutter.

I have a friend who grew a really huge beard. He said, coupled with a baseball hat and sunglasses, it made him feel invisible. It made him feel like he didn’t even really have a face. This, as odd as it is, made perfect sense to me.

Once or twice, a guy would come talk to me out in public because of my hair. He’d comment on it. One guy actually asked if he could touch it. Another time a friend of mine caught a stranger standing behind me, smelling my hair. This was not what I wanted.

I, like my friend, wanted to be invisible. I had long joked that my hair held all my sex appeal. So I shot that plane out of the sky. I cut my hair to hide from men.

I had just parted ways with a man who left me with a myriad of emotions I didn’t want to feel. The idea of men even speaking to me was awful. I didn’t want the kind of attention my hair had received in the past. I was in a funk and trying as hard as I could to pull myself out of it.


My friend had showed me article after article on why it’s a horrible idea and a psychological decision and ends up bad. This is particularly true if you have had to deal with some emotional stress. Oh, you mean like getting divorced, losing my job, and have to date again? All in the span of a year? Like that? Everything she told me, I knew. I was warned.

I planned a solo camping trip and cut off nine inches of hair before I left. I cut it off anyway. I felt no better. And then I hated it. It was too much. I missed my hair. It wasn’t what I wanted. I felt worse.

I realized my hair was for me. That seems ridiculous. But, it was part of my self confidence. It was something I could do right.

What was actually happening was depression that manifested itself in my hair. I took my depression out on my hair. I thought I could change how I felt by changing that one thing. When I don’t feel in control of my emotions, I try to find something I can control now matter how little sense it makes. Last year I quit drinking for a month. This time, it was my hair.

I can’t cut depression out of my life any easier than cutting my hair. I can’t pull myself out of a funk with a pair of scissors. It’s not that easy. Every time I look in the mirror, I don’t look like me. It’s unnerving. It’s a weird reminder of being weak. But, that’s okay. The weakness goes away. The hair grows. It just takes time.

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Flaming pinball, nerd, music lover, wine snob, horrible violin player. No, she won’t stop taking pictures of her drinks. vanessaltorre@gmail.com IG: vanessaltorre Twitter: @vanessaltorre

Phoenix, AZ

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