Single Mama Confessions: Why I Keep My Hair Short

Please, please, please take a second to read my friend Lisette’s post in honor of National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. She is so brave and I am incredibly proud to know her! 

by Lisette Orellana

There are two questions I get asked almost all the time:

Why are you still single?

Why must you keep cutting your hair?

I don’t have an answer to the first question, (although hopefully I won’t be single for much longer), but I know exactly why I cut my hair short. And why I like it that way.

When I was a little girl, I had very long hair. My hair went down my back, almost to my waist. It stayed that way for years. As I got older, I would beg my mother for a haircut, but she wouldn’t allow it. When I turned 13, she finally said I could take a few inches off and I was ecstatic. For some reason, getting rid of my hair to me meant being a grown up. Still, my hair was at my shoulders, not very short at all.

When I got pregnant with Gina, I had to move in with sperm donor. As you know, my life with him was not a fairy tale. What began as small arguments escalated to full blown physical abuse. It all started in three months after I moved in with him – in January. I was five months pregnant, I was weak, and I had long hair.

The “fights” became worse and worse, and my hair was getting longer. If you know the cycle of abuse, you know that an abuser will treat you like you’re nothing, and once the “episode” is over will come back to you and praise you. He did that. All.The.Time. He’d come back and the first thing he’d say is, “You have such pretty hair. It makes you look beautiful.” Just the night before he’d pulled it, and say I was worthless.

When I finally moved on, I struggled with accepting my new physical image. I was confused. Because my adolescence had been cut short with my pregnancies, I missed out on that stage where you’re supposed to find yourself and accept the adult woman you’re becoming. It wasn’t until I was 21 when I first cut my hair very short that I felt at peace with myself. I felt empowered. I felt free. For the next few years I experimented with colors, with styles, with makeup. It was a great feeling.

My family would ask why I kept going short, some of my friends also wondered. I couldn’t tell them why, I really didn’t understand myself. Then in 2010 I went shorter than ever; it was also around that time that I had started seeing a therapist. Talking with her helped me make the connection – getting rid of my hair made me feel free and empowered because that man used it as a control weapon. Having a say over something so small made me feel in control, and I couldn’t believe I hadn’t figured that out before.

Eight years later, a lot of things have changed. I’ve moved on, and my hair has gone through many changes too. This week, I got rid of my signature “side bangs” that covered my face. I was ready for something different, but I have to admit I was really scared. I made this decision though for two reasons: October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. I need to speak out about my experience.

The other reason is the fact that I’ve come to terms with my past. I’m ready now to leave those painful memories behind and allow myself to let my hair grow. I want to be like those women who wear long, flowy locks, or braid it, or put it up in a pony tail. I want to feel that sense of beauty again.

Whether it’s long or not, I know that my past is where it belongs – behind me. I’m also proud to know that there are people out there who work hard to help victims of domestic violence. God knows that if I had known there were people to help me, I would’ve escaped that situation way before it made a mark on me. Things happen for a reason, and if it means I am who I am because of it, then just like my hair, I’m ok with it.

Read more about Lisette’s journey as a single mom at her blog, Single Mama Chronicle.


  1. What a powerful story. Just goes to show that you never know a person’s struggle. Here’s to hoping someone reading this post will find help and get out of their abusive situation asap.

  2. Thank you for sharing your story!! It takes a lot of courage to speak out about something like that.

  3. I can relate the this in SO MANY WAYS! Thank you Lisette!