This I Believe

Roshan - South Hadley, Massachusetts
Entered on November 29, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30

I believe in haircuts. I believe in taking risks, in the fact that there is always something to gain and that nothing is ever really lost. Many times in my life I came at a crossroads, wanting to choose a path but unsure of the destination or the possibility of return incase of failure. The decisions that immensely shaped my life and the person I am today have always been the ones I was the most scared to take.

Four years ago, I had an opportunity to cut my hair. I was taking a shot in the dark and getting on a plane to come to America to study. Both shorter hair and America were unknown territory. Shorter hair was something I had never experienced and America, a land only known to me through MTV and Archie comics. I was cutting 20 inches of hair off that I had washed, combed and played with. I was going to move away from friends, family and places. All of whom were part of my very existence.

Initially the hair was as glamorous as promised. America and the orientation at College were as fun and exciting as I had imagined- it all felt right. Then, I went home and washed my hair and college started.

My new hairstyle was not perfect anymore, rather it was out of place, out of shape and the worst of all, I missed my old hair. I missed home, my mother’s warm hands, the smell of food from the kitchen and giggling and laughing with my friends.

I soon realized that despite the way I felt, I had to live with this hair, so I had to make it work. Not quite what I walked out of the salon with, not quite the unruly way my hair naturally wanted to be, but a perfect compromise between the two. I realized that it was my decision to come abroad. It won’t be the best thing that ever happened to me, but it doesn’t have to be as bad.

My life has never returned to what it once was but it is not as devastating as I had initially felt. My hair has grown back; I formed new relationships and found a new home yet I have never felt as close to Pakistan as this before. Having been away has only made me realize how much I loved being who I was.

I am confident now that if I feel the need, I can always get my hair cut again. New hair will eventually grow, only I will appreciate it much more. I am more willing to embrace change and take risks. If I never took any risks, I would have never known what I could have had, felt and achieved.

This summer, I accepted a job which will keep me from returning home for another three years. It is overwhelming at the moment but I know I will always have Pakistan to return to if I fail. I am also scheduled for a haircut.