Trin Miller is an actress living in California who decided to drastically cut her hair after calling off her engagement three months before the wedding. This story was told to Kelsey Castañon and edited for length and clarity.
It’s a really cute story, how I met my ex-fiancé. During my freshman year of college, my roommate and I were hanging out with friends in my dorm room. I dont know why, but we started singing a song from The Little Mermaid. "Look at this stuff… Isn't it neat? Wouldn’t you think my collection's complete?" Then, from outside in the hallway, we heard someone sing, "Wouldn’t you think I’m a girl who has everything?" and it was him. We started dating and got engaged. Then, three months before the wedding, we broke up.
We'd been struggling for a while, but we weren't addressing any of our problems. It just got to a point where I realized, I can't marry you. We had been together for a decade — so my entire adult life. There was so much growth we both needed to do. Breaking up became the unraveling of my identity in a way. So much of who I was, or who I thought I was, was wrapped up in a life that I thought other people wanted for me — which was to get married, live in the house that we bought, stay in my hometown of Seattle. It was not a life that I had chosen for myself.
Back then, I had a very "feminine" hairstyle. It was pretty long — not totally down my back, but definitely past my shoulders — and light red in color. After the breakup, I wanted to make a physical change and embrace the idea that I didn't have to do or be what anyone else said I should be. As a redhead, I’d grown up hearing, "Your hair is so beautiful. Don't touch it. Don't do anything to it." And while I appreciated the compliments, I was at a point in my life where I was like, You know what? I’m not getting married. I don’t know what my life is going to look like in a year from now. So if I want to cut or color my hair, I'm going to do that.
So I did. I started by dyeing my hair a deep burgundy red. Then, a few months later, I finally felt ready for something more dramatic. I booked a salon appointment, and cut off about a foot of hair. When it was happening, the hairstylist gathered my hair into a ponytail, held up the scissors and said to me, "Now's your last chance to change your mind. Are you sure you want to do this?" I had that moment of terror. A moment of, What the hell am I doing? But then I was like, No, I need to move forward. Cutting my hair was a physical manifestation of my choice to end the relationship. It was a way of saying goodbye to something that had been such a huge part of my life. So I said, "Do it!"
When she was done, it was Tilda Swinton length. I had a pretty androgynous look for a while — and I loved that. Clothes just looked cooler. I could wear things I felt like I hadn’t been able to wear before. I'd throw a little product in my hair and be done with it. People told me I was brave; I felt like this was me just trying to figure it out.
The idea of a "breakup cut" sounds flippant to me — it's almost belittling something that is so momentous. What it really means is that there is a change in your life that you are honoring by also altering your physical appearance. I wanted to make a visible commitment to this change that I was making. It was my way of saying, "Things are different for me now." In a way, I think it's what helped me heal.