YouTube star Ingrid Nilsen is obsessed with hair right now. Part of that has to do with the book she’s currently reading, which is a collection of essays about the complex and telling relationships women have with their hair. But it also has to do with the fact that she just chopped most of hers off.

“It’s fascinating and really cool to read all these stories and get a little taste of where each person has come from and how far they’ve gone in their lives, just based on their hair story,” she tells WomensHealthMag.com over the phone. “Your hair is something that can represent what’s going on politically in the world and what you’re feeling personally. Your hair can represent your sexuality, it can represent your religion, it can represent so many things.”

If hair is symbolic of one’s journey, Ingrid’s hair, which, post-chop, is now a short, graduated bob that barely grazes her chin—and more importantly, reveals every inch of her face—signifies freedom.

“My long hair was my security blanket for a while,” she says. “And then I started to come out of my shell, and I was like, ‘You know what? This is my hair. I can do whatever I want with it.’ I don’t need the security blanket anymore.”