Dora the Explorer was my jam. Up until the age of 14, I could tell you the exact sequence of the Dora intro and theme song: i.e. the camera swinging through magically opening French doors and the chunky early 2000’s desktop. My older sister and I enjoyed it so much that our father decided he would cut us bangs to emulate the cultural icon that is Dora the Explorer.
But alas, mid-bang, I decided I was my own woman and I would not be Dora. Or, more truthfully, I was afraid of the scissor so close to my eye.
A few years passed and my family immigrated to America and a new cable plan in our new apartment heralded a new wave of Dora fandom in my household. She had taught us Spanish in the Philippines, where our mother tongue was already laced with hints of the language. Now, here in America, she continued to do the same. As an homage to her constant watch over me, I sat on my bed, blunt tip scissors at the ready, deciding today was the day. I was to fulfill the half completed destiny. Today, I would be Dora.
The evidence—a fistful of hair—was discarded through a hole in the screen of our bedroom window. I looked more like a shredded piñata than I did Dora, but I was on a high.
My father was a firm believer that girls should have long hair— girls’ hair. When I was 13, my mother took us to the hair salon where a hairdresser trimmed our hair into layers.
My father knew something was up. We just ignored it.
Unfortunately for my parents, I began cutting my own hair from then on. I learned how to give myself side bangs and the pony tail method for creating layers. They all looked relatively well done, but my hair became shorter each time.
And one fateful afternoon during my senior year of high school, I decided to “trim” my hair.
This time round, I was destined to be Lord Farquaad of Shrek the Movie fame. It was the very first time I had decided to make a drastic change in my look. No one could stop me, I was making my own decisions. Equipped with that terribly crooked bob, I became the queen of my own world. I was a living testament to anarchy. Screw the rules, mama’s fresh cuts were serving looks.
What I’ve learned over the years is that my hair has been part of my growth in self expression. No matter how out of style my bob was and is, I love it because I chose it. I’ll be Dora, Lord Farquaad, Velma or Tina whenever I please.
I am UNSTOPABLE!
All art by Pebbles