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Oz
January 5th, 2011, 06:38 PM
My name is Zoe and Iím 20 years old. My whole life I have had long hair. Even when I was born the top strands were past my ears.
I was allowed to keep it long, within reason and like many little girls was dragged, sulking to the trim chair on occasion.
I had no reason, at that age, to keep it long; it was just the influence of all the Princessís, elves, Barbie dolls and other role models of my gender.
The last time it was cut, I was seven years old. My mother insisted on maintaining the awful 90s fringe until I put my foot down aged 9.

I hit tailbone length when I hit my teens, untrimmed for six years, I saw it as fairytale ends, family and peers said it was rat tails, hailed abuse and told me to cut it.
Kids at school often attacked me with scissors. Then one day I was attacked in a different way. In the week I turned 13 I was gang raped. In less than an hour of torture, I was set up for a life time of post traumatic stress disorder. My right of control over my own body had been taken away from me. I felt powerless and empty. Somehow, I managed to keep what it a secret from my family to protect them.

After the event, I made the conscious decision to somehow gain control back. Iíve battled with self harm and eating disorders but my main catalyst has been my hair. I vowed never to cut it, like everyone always told me to do.

Through the rest of my teenage life I suffered constant anxiety and fear of people standing or sitting behind me. The word Ďtrimí would send me in to panic attack. I feared scissors, hair dressers, TV stylists, or doing anything that brought attention to my hair or me, other than the length itself, until I left home at 18 to study.

Naturally, one canít lead a happy, healthy, adult life and keep a trauma such as childhood rape bottled up and under control through a hair style alone.

I got in to my 1st relationship with a guy and the well kept secret of my past seeped out like puss from a badly bandaged wound. After much pushing and persuasion from my then boyfriend, I agreed to start counselling.

One day, I came across the long hair community and joined up on the boards. Everyone was so nice here, it was the first time id ever had complements rather that silly or offensive comments. People here shared my opinion that long hair can be beautiful, fun, original and not impractical or hard to keep.

I have been in counselling for a year now, with a break in-between, totalling to about 20 sessions.

I came back to this forum recently and stuck around which has caused me to think a lot about my hair and what I can do with it, through being here and going to my counselling, I have managed to no longer feel the need to keep hold of my control through my hair. I can now engage with the recovery process and let go of those old coping mechanisms. Today, for the first time in fourteen years I cut it.

Calmly and decisively, I trimmed from knee length to classic.
I love the new look and the feel. Though it may take some getting used to, itís more even now and I cut in a way to keep my ends looking untrimmed, the way I like it.

Keeping my hair uncut kept me sane, gave me something to focus my strength on, gave me something to love and nurture when I couldnít nurture or love myself and gave me something no one has managed to take away from me; choice.

Now that Iím free to cut my hair without losing that control, I finally feel on my way to becoming empowered.

I want to thank everyone here for being such amazing, confident and encouraging women and men. I donít know if other peopleís hair represents to them, anything as deep and meaningful as mine has to me, but I sure would like to know. That is the primary reason I joined the site.

Thanks for reading my some what of a modern hairytale. :)

silverjen
January 5th, 2011, 06:44 PM
You are a brave and beautiful woman. Thank you so much for sharing your story.

OR Cowgirl
January 5th, 2011, 06:45 PM
Huge, huge hug! I'm so glad this is a good place for you and thrilled that you're getting help for yourself! :grouphug:

Mariah

sedonia
January 5th, 2011, 06:45 PM
Thank you for sharing that, and I'm glad you are beginning the process of healing yourself.

LadyG
January 5th, 2011, 06:46 PM
You are lovely, wonderful, brave and courageous. Thank you for sharing yourself with us.......

christine1989
January 5th, 2011, 06:47 PM
What an inspiring story! Its awful that you had to experience something so traumatic but I'm so glad your story has a happy ending. It takes a lot of courage to cut the hair that you clung to in times of emotional hardship- I doubt many people would be able to have done that. :)

kschr2004
January 5th, 2011, 06:47 PM
I wasn't quite sure what to say about this story at first. It's beautiful and definitely difficult to read at the same time.

I am glad that you are getting help. You are a very brave young woman. Hugs.

spidermom
January 5th, 2011, 06:51 PM
I hope you share a picture of your new look one of these days. I'm really glad that formerly shut down areas in your Self are beginning to open.

fairy_ends_girl
January 5th, 2011, 06:58 PM
Zoe, I am very proud of you. Thank you for sharing. Enjoy your new found freedom and your new cut.

sunshine80
January 5th, 2011, 07:09 PM
zoe big ((((((((hugs))))))))))) it seems that you had to grow up really fast...what happened to you is horrible and i hope those people rot in hell!!!!!!!! I understand about your hair and how keeping it long is like your shelter....i wish you the absolute best! you seem so strong...keep on rocking on girl!!!!

vanity_acefake
January 5th, 2011, 07:10 PM
Wow what a strong, brave, inspiring woman you are. I am so sorry that you had to endure such an horrific experience.
I am so glad for you that you are beginning to regain your own empowerment.
May your recovery be complete and may you have a happy and secure life from now on.

ericthegreat
January 5th, 2011, 07:12 PM
I hope you have begun to heal from all that has happened to you in your past, and that one day you will find a way to completely heal. As for your hair, I'm glad that allowing yourself to get it cut was a positive experience for you.

Dragon
January 5th, 2011, 07:14 PM
You are so brave :grouphug: :grouphug:

Elenna
January 5th, 2011, 07:17 PM
I was so amazed. You are very wonderful. I admire you for being able to overcome such an traumatic event. Thank you for telling us.

einna
January 5th, 2011, 07:20 PM
your story is both sad and beautiful! Thank you for sharing it with us. Best wishes :)

omnivore
January 5th, 2011, 07:41 PM
big ((((((((hug)))))))). i am honoured by your trust to share your story. additionally, you write beautifully!

lyria
January 5th, 2011, 08:05 PM
:flower: You are so brave to overcome your past experience and have the strength to share your story. I am happy your are finding a brighter place in the world.

Dvips
January 5th, 2011, 08:08 PM
Congratulations, dear beautiful Zoe

Chibbylick
January 5th, 2011, 08:17 PM
thankyou for sharing, may your healing journey continue to bring you peace.

Tia2010
January 5th, 2011, 08:27 PM
You are very brave for sharing your story. I hope you keep moving forward into a peaceful place. many ((((hugs))) to you.

Darkhorse1
January 5th, 2011, 08:36 PM
All I can say is WOW. What an inspiration and strong person you are. I can't say sorry enough times to you and what you went through and how hard it must have been to keep all that inside you.

You have a beauty and strength that noone can ever touch.

Ravenwaves 88
January 5th, 2011, 08:48 PM
Hearing your story makes me afraid for my Daughter. If I ever knew that someone hurt her like did to you I would turn into a lunatic! I am so sorry that your innocence was stolen from you way too soon, and I am very glad you are finally healing your spirit. I hope that you stay with us and continue to use us as your comfort. You are our sister :)

Altocumulus
January 5th, 2011, 08:51 PM
Thank you for sharing your story with us. :flower:

sweetm
January 5th, 2011, 09:00 PM
A sad, yet inspiring story. You're such a strong person!

princessp
January 5th, 2011, 09:16 PM
That is a tragic story. I am so glad counseling is working and that LHC is a place where you feel safe. {{hug}}

monsterna
January 5th, 2011, 09:31 PM
I can't say much more than what others have said already. Really sorry that happened to you. I'm also sorry that you had dealt with mostly bad reactions to your hair. But, I'm glad you found some solace here and also in counseling. :grouphug:

RadiantNeedle
January 5th, 2011, 09:39 PM
Fellow rape-survivor and PTSD long haired lady here. Huge hugs to you, and big congratulations as well. :grouphug: It's a tough road and getting counselling is one of the best decisions you've made.

Aquamarine
January 5th, 2011, 09:43 PM
Thanks for sharing your story. You are a brave woman. Kudos to you for staying strong. :grouphug:

rosek
January 5th, 2011, 11:32 PM
Oz, you expressed your feelings eloquently and your story really moved me. I am so glad you feel welcome at the LHC, and I wish you many happier years ahead, whatever you decide to do with your hair.

Aerith
January 6th, 2011, 12:01 AM
Thank you so much for sharing your story with us. I'm glad to hear you are beginning to heal from that horrific experience. You are amazing and very strong! I'm very proud of you. Please keep staying strong! May you find serenity in your heart and mind again very soon. *Biiiiig hug* :grouphug:

leoninnu
January 6th, 2011, 01:11 AM
I can't even begin to imagine how hard it must have been for you to tell that story. You are a very brave young woman and very admirable. I wish you all the good things in life and congratulations for being able to do the cut that was clearly very meaningful to you. I'll add my hugs to the hugpile :grouphug:

joiekimochi
January 6th, 2011, 01:13 AM
You are extremely brave and beautiful and I am so proud of you. *big hug*

IcarusBride
January 6th, 2011, 02:42 AM
*hugs* I'm really proud of you that you were able to get into counseling and work towards reconciling your past with your present and future. I'm glad your hair is a positive symbol for you. This is a lovely SUCCESS story, in my opinion.

katgib
January 6th, 2011, 03:32 AM
This was an AMAZING story. I'm so glad to hear that you were able to preserve yourself by means of something that meant so much to you, and I'm also impressed to see you became strong enough to let it go. So many people never make it to that stage.
I'm knew here, so I don't know you at all (hi, nice to meet you by the way :D), but I'm proud of you. Congratulations, and keep on working toward a better you.

Alvrodul
January 6th, 2011, 03:42 AM
:grouphug:
You are so brave for, first surviving, and not letting that horrible experience destroy you (though I am really glad you are getting counseling!), but also for sharing your story.
:grouphug:

lupiae
January 6th, 2011, 05:00 AM
Really thank you for sharing your story. You are brave to share with everyone. I hope that you can continue to have the patience and strenght you clearly demonstrated

pepperminttea
January 6th, 2011, 05:06 AM
This icon - :grouphug: - really doesn't confer the giant hug I want to give you right now. You are amazing.

freckles
January 6th, 2011, 05:09 AM
I'm so glad that you're now getting the help you need, and that you're seeing improvement because of it. :hug:

Avital88
January 6th, 2011, 05:14 AM
I'm happy to hear that you are starting to feel better about yourself! a lot of hugs ,and after all this, remember you can concur anything. You must be a very strong woman! x

Calaelen
January 6th, 2011, 11:33 AM
Hi Zoe, I am Anna, and I am 25 years old. I've had an interest in your threads since I read about your knee length hair, and your dilemma about whether or not you even liked long hair. I messaged you, after seeing some of your art, because I felt drawn to you in a strong way because of how you write, and yes because of the story I saw in some of your artwork.

I didn't look at many of the pictures, as after a few clicks forward in your album I knew this was you, your story, and I felt like I was intruding. Now that you've willingly shared your story with us as a group, I'd like to share mine with you.

Like you, I have suffered with PTSD for many years. At age 17, I was kidnapped, gang raped, and tortured by three men over a long weekend. You said you wanted to know if anyone had a hair story like yours. I do. A very similar one.

For me my long hair was about taking something back though, not just something that I could control, though it is that too. You see one of the men who kidnapped me had a thing for my hair. He played with it, complimented it, and even forbade me to ever cut it saying it was nearly at the perfect length, and mentioning his favourite style to me.

When those men finally set me free, the first thing I did, after the shower, was to hack off my hair shorter than chin length. I was sickened by the idea that he had liked my hair, and chopping it so short, after he'd forbade me to, was an act of defiance. I hated the short hair, but felt as though long hair had been a factor in my rape, so I was determined to keep it short.

Years later, I got angry, really angry. These men had hurt me so badly, left me with severe debilitating PTSD, and had given me HPV (which I only found out about nearly 5 years later when I was diagnosed with cervical cancer). I thought that I might die, and all I could think was that it was one more thing they had done to me, that that rape actually would be the death of me.

I decided very shortly after getting the diagnosis, that I would live, and that when I did I would grow my hair to knee length, or longer, and that I would never be held back by that incident again.

Now of course it is one thing to say that, and another for it to be true. I do have a very good psychologist now, and my hair is longer than it has ever been. I have also been cancer free for 2 years. Most days I am happy, and through using Law of attraction, and deliberate intent, I feel like I really do control every aspect of my life.

The PTSD does still get me on bad days, and maybe it always will, but I really feel like through my hair I have gained back a huge part of myself, and I am really who I always wanted to be. You see, I was always the little girl that wanted to be a princess, and I was in awe of long hair for my whole life. My mom never let me keep it long. So, when I was a teen, and out of her grasp, I immediately set out to grow my hair long. When I was attacked, I blamed my hair, in part, and it was through anger, fear, and a big "F you" to him, that I chopped it all off.

Now, I have the fairy tale hair I always wanted, and I do it for me. I even wear that favourite hairstyle he mentioned, at times, and when I do I think "This is for me, you hurt me, but I survived, and thrived" My happiness is the biggest "F you" I could ever send out to him.

Thank you for sharing your story with us, and for asking for our stories. I've been sharing pieces of my story on here, but have never typed the whole thing out in full until now. You truly are a brave, and amazing, young woman with a lot of inspiration to share. I hope to get to know you better. :flower:

misslicorice
January 6th, 2011, 12:53 PM
*safe hugs* I'm so glad that you are getting help to heal the trauma you suffered.

Capybara
January 6th, 2011, 01:04 PM
((hugs)) You are so strong. Calaelen, my heart goes out to you too.

Oz
January 6th, 2011, 01:09 PM
hey, Anna, im really happy you where able to share your story here to. I shaird mine hoping it will encourage others to.

i also see hair as quite a significant part of sexuality. I have wanted mine short so I could pretend to be a boy and then I wont be in danger of sexual predators or apear in any way like a vulnerable little girl. there is a 'that style' for me also. the half poney tail. it's the one I was wearing when I was attacked. it was comented on and used to hurt me. i was pulled around by my hair so they could forcefuly move my head or keep me still. seeing it on other people or wearing it can sometimes be a trigger if im feeling especialy PTSDish.

You also sound like an amazingly strong survivor and im glad you have a great therapist.
thanks for sharing.

PrincessBob
January 6th, 2011, 01:15 PM
Zoe, you are not alone. We survivors are stronger by far than others think they can be. ::grouphug:: I am almost 25, my abuse lasted for 7 years, from the time I was 3 until I was 10. I kept it a secret, had a major mental breakdown and the person responsible was punished seven years later, yet I blamed myself-- because society told me I was a victim and that victims are the embodiment of the crime.

How can a three year old guard herself from rape and molestation? She cannot. But surely a seven year old has the presence of mind to stop the abuse? Think again. I have come to terms with the lie of it. I have lost over half my family because of this. They still talk to me and care about me, but they remain at a distance, because they don't know what to say, and my abuser lives with them still, and being a direct male descendant in a generation of predominantly females seems to have bought him a pardon with them. I am proud that they have enough love for that. I do not.

I have built a new family out of my friends and school-mates. My partner and now spouse has been incredibly supportive in the past seven years, but I have panic attacks that make intimacy difficult. I know how terrifying it can be. I spent a year seeing a counselor at my school, and he has suggested a psychiatrist to me whom I hope to be consulting with soon to see if she will take me on as a patient.

I hope things go well with you and your boyfriend. I think your hair is absolutely lovely.

craftybunn
January 6th, 2011, 01:22 PM
I'm so glad you are at a point with this that you can share what you have been through. You never know who will be impacted by hearing how far you've come. Thank you for sharing your story with us. Group hug!! :grouphug:

embee
January 6th, 2011, 01:25 PM
Hugs for all of you brave women who have come through the fire - I cannot imagine....

anthonyswife
January 6th, 2011, 01:55 PM
I'm so glad that you are regaining your confidence and courage! Thank you for sharing your story with us, it's wonderful that you feel comfortable enough here to share something so meaningful. I wish you the best in your counseling and in all your endeavors. {hugs}

lapushka
January 6th, 2011, 01:59 PM
Oh boy what a story. :( At so young an age... what you suffered through, alone, in silence... I don't know what to say. Your story is empowering, though. It's how you handled the situation that is important. You didn't let it drag you down, even though it was and still is difficult to handle. I think that's major and it says a lot about you, considering you were so young.

:grouphug:

Congratulations on your hair cut! To new beginnings!

Yozhik
January 6th, 2011, 02:06 PM
Thank you for sharing your story, Zoe, and to Calaelen and PrincessBob, too.

:grouphug:

You are incredibly strong women, and your stories toward recovery are inspiring.

Anje
January 6th, 2011, 02:14 PM
Thanks for sharing, and hugs to everyone who needs them, whether they've said anything or not. I hope you can continue to heal.

sherigayle
January 6th, 2011, 02:31 PM
Hugs to you all who have suffered through such horrible experiences. I am in awe of so much bravery.

ArienEllariel
January 6th, 2011, 09:20 PM
Those who shared their stories- you made me cry but you've also showed me 3 strong, brave, wonderful women who have chosen to move past the hurt to something better. Like my parents have told me before, you either choose to be bitter or to be better. *group hugs to you all*

DorothyAtForty
January 6th, 2011, 09:38 PM
Here's to everyone's continued healing. You're all very brave for sharing your stories. Thank you. :grouphug:

MissCharizard
January 6th, 2011, 10:13 PM
Very powerful story! I hope you enjoy your new freedom and instead of cling to insecurity you let you and your hair shine. Keep on doing the right thing, I saw your art and read your comic in your photo album and I was very engaged! You have talent and are a beautiful person.

Keep on keepin' on girl.

Oz
January 6th, 2011, 11:03 PM
Very powerful story! I hope you enjoy your new freedom and instead of cling to insecurity you let you and your hair shine. Keep on doing the right thing, I saw your art and read your comic in your photo album and I was very engaged! You have talent and are a beautiful person.

Keep on keepin' on girl.


ahh no one was suposed to see that stuff.

TinaDenali
January 6th, 2011, 11:24 PM
Big hugs to you, Zoe, and also you, Calaelen! :grouphug:

Thank you both for being so courageous and sharing your story with us.

ScarlettAdelle
January 7th, 2011, 12:34 AM
It appears you've managed to do what so few really do: draw strength from a negative situation and emerge victorious.

You may have gone through a time where you felt battered and defeated, but the fact that you survived (however worse for the wear) shows an amazing amount of strength and will to survive.

You really are an inspiration. As someone who's also harbored a secret for many years, I can identify with the whole feeling out of control and struggling to find something no matter how petty that you and only you can determine. I know how difficult it is to let go and realize that not just THE world but YOUR world will continue turning if you don't hold desperately onto something you clung to for so long. It becomes a way of life, and it really is no way to live. You become your own prisoner and you don't even realize that you've caged yourself.

What you've gone through, no one should have to go through. The things you lived and live with, should burden no ones heart and mind, especially during the fragile years of youth. I hope that you've gotten to the point where you realize that in perspective with what you lived with in the past, that nothing can really shake you, not because you have barriers up, but because you're just that strong. I hope you realize that.

Things really do get easier from here. The pain is still there, but the nice thing (yes, there IS a nice thing) about having gone through hell is that you already know that you can, in fact, live through the worst life has to offer, which means that, now that you have scraped rock bottom, the only way to go from here is up. Enjoy the upswing. You deserve happiness in your life.

I hope you realize how strong you are and that you in no way deserved what happened to you, and that they were acting out of pure selfishness, and that THEY are the ones with something wrong with them, not you.

Fufu
January 7th, 2011, 12:53 AM
Thanks for sharing your story with us ;)

You are a brave lady, and I am deeply inspired by you.

Dragon
January 7th, 2011, 12:59 AM
Hugs to every one that needs it :grouphug:

Joliebaby
January 7th, 2011, 04:30 AM
That's heartbreaking. I feel so bad for you, for the evil in this world. You are really brave and strong, more than could be expected. I'm glad you are getting help, no one should be alone with a thing like this weighing on them.
You have beautiful hair and you will find lots of continued support here. Hugs!!!!

Joliebaby
January 7th, 2011, 06:10 AM
Calaelen and PrincesBob - My most genuine symphathy to you both. I am sick to my stomach and crying, at the atrocities done to you. How can these things happen, how can people do things like that to others, helpless children and teens nonetheless!
You are so strong and courageous women.

RavennaNight
January 7th, 2011, 07:36 AM
:grouphug: You are strong and beautiful.

daaisychains
January 7th, 2011, 11:59 AM
I send my love :)

HintOfMint
January 7th, 2011, 03:12 PM
Zoe, Anna and PrincessBob, you are all such brave and strong women.

arwenevenstar37
January 7th, 2011, 04:00 PM
Sending a huge hug and lots of love

sibiryachka
January 7th, 2011, 04:18 PM
Oz, I salute you not only for your courage, but in your wise choice to share your story in a place where everyone who reads it is likely to understand how deeply significant an act your recent cut was.

If people had any idea what hair can mean or symbolize to its wearer, for whatever complex reasons, I bet there would be way fewer "You should do so-and-so to your hair"-type comments. I've been present at a couple of occasions when someone ritually cut their hair or shaved their head, and those were very powerful things to witness. It seemed like the only way those people could possibly express what they needed to express. It baffles me how people can possibly not grasp that it's not always "just hair", not for everyone.

spoonshine
January 7th, 2011, 04:20 PM
Thank you for sharing your story Zoe. Also Anna and PrincessBob. Very moving and I can relate (though I'm too tuckered and have had a rough day so I'm not up to relating my story beyond saying-childhood abuse). Hurrays to your boyfriend, Zoe, for him encouraging you to get counselling. The psychology behind hair is one of the reasons I joined here. I spent many years trying not to be too pretty so as not to attract unwanted attention. For me this mostly involved ill fitting clothes to detract from my femaleness. The last time I cut my hair from long to short involved various motivations but I do wonder how much that a**hole yelling me from his van nudged me towards getting a neck length chop.

It's wonderful to hear from other people that haven't let the utter bastards of the world drag them down. Well bloody done! You're brilliant.

young&reckless
January 7th, 2011, 05:37 PM
We're here for you Zoe

MissCharizard
January 7th, 2011, 05:49 PM
I too was abused, not raped - but molested by my older brother at the age of 6 and again at 11-13 - and the stigma that people could attach to you is horrifying. I just want to say again that I'm sorry this happened to any of you and I feel like I know way too many women who have been sexually abused.

midnightwolf
January 7th, 2011, 05:50 PM
Zoe, wow that's truly inspirational. I wish you all the best for the future, im so glad that you have regained a sense of freedom.

naushin83
January 8th, 2011, 09:14 AM
Hugs 2 u ma'am :)

hatz off to you :)

emmebean
January 10th, 2011, 09:13 PM
Amazing, Strong, Beautiful women, thankyou so much for sharing.

Kherome
January 10th, 2011, 09:22 PM
Good for you! I know just how hard it is to face those things in the past.