What I now know….
A little over a year ago I cut off all my hair. It was a massive moment. I felt like I needed a change because having been though such a large personal evolution, my current appearance represented an outdated version of me. I neeed to match! I can’t even leave the house if my undergarments aren’t coordinated, so you see the dilemma. It was all rather dramatic and despite loving the new do, I was staring at someone that I didn’t recognize anymore. Why didn’t I match? I wondered. I had written a blog that explained my liberating hair chopping moment but promptly took it down because for me to post anything it has to deeply reverberate and at this point I was confused.
It took a year…
Here’s what I learned: Change can be absolutely harrowing, even more so when it’s self- inflicted. Its just a haircut right? In theory yes, but now I had gone and physically asserted that my life was so much more different than it had been a few years ago and here I was staring at that transformation, out of my comfort zone in front of the sparkling new truth that was me. Not everything is instantaneous which is why my initial disappointment left me dissimulating newer paths. For a brief moment, I was uncertain and felt like the training wheels of my life had toppled off before I knew where I was going. It’s strange to become the woman you want to be but not know where you are headed. Never one for mastering the art of patience, I gradually acknowledged that when I chopped it all off I really let go of my old internal software, feeling shiny and new with the past behind me. Growth brought me versatility and I understand that not everyone has to make a physical change to see personal intentions but I’ve enjoyed the process of watching my hair get longer (even though it sprouts faster than your average weed) because it’s a constant reminder that I too, have grown.
Here is the blog that now resonates so well.
Short hair and don’t care baby.
“Men find women with longer hair more attractive.” She looked at me, her green eyes narrowing and lingering a little longer on my Chloé bag.
“Uh-huh.” I dug my hands in my coat pocket looking for my last two pieces of Mentos. Where were they? Crap! I knew I shouldn’t have had that onion in my quinoa salad; now I would have to go on this date smelling like, well, onions.
“Anyone that tells you that you should cut your hair is doing you a disservice. That’s like cutting off half your beauty.”
Oh wow, I think they stuck to my pocket. How am I supposed to get that out? What did she just say? Cutting off my beauty? Seriously?
“Is my dry cleaning ready? I need to wear that sweater.”
Marta owned the dry cleaning service that I often used and today she seemed to own as many opinions, if not more than my mother usually did.
“Are you sure I said it was going to be ready today?” She asked as she twirled her scraggly long hair into a bun on top of her head, walking to the desk in the corner.
“Yes.” I looked at her patiently. I’m going to be late, without my favourite sweater and smelling of onions. Correction, tasty red onions.
“So when are you doing this, this act of violence?” Marta peered into the computer screen clicking away with her long acrylic nails on the bejeweled keyboard.
“Cutting my hair? How did you even find out?” I wondered who had told her.
“Your friend Vera, she came to drop off a very short skirt. Not much to dry clean.” She added sarcastically.
Mental post it. Kick Vera in her perfect sized derriere and then glue Marta’s plastic nails to her keyboard.
After getting my sweater which felt like decades of waiting and having to explain to Marta that what a man thinks of my hair wasn’t exactly a priority or a thought for that matter, I ran to buy a tube of toothpaste and smeared some on my tongue without the slightest hint of shame. I’m absolutely positive that more atrocious indecencies are committed outside drugstores. The date went swimmingly without suspicion of said ingested, delicious red onion.
One week later I cut off all my hair.
I admit, the decision took a grand amount of time; with the appropriate allocation of hours weighing the pros and cons and related childhood trauma. I had a history of terrors affiliated with short hair that all began when I was in grade nine. My mother had my thick hair chopped hideously short just before school started. I was splendidly petrified of being the new girl, much less one with the bonus of exploding hair. (Super thick and then short- think of an electrocuted gerbil) Of-course my mother who was totally oblivious to high school directives, drove right up to the front of the building where all the hottest guys were staring away at all the prettiest girls, in her beat up Chevy. Great. It didn’t help that the most gorgeous boy, aka butthole (I’ve fondly reserved that moniker for him along with wishes of many glorious years of erectile dysfunction) told me I was ugly during the following weeks. I would get teased on the bus, beat up in bathrooms and my science teacher actually called me a shaggy dog because I would hide my face behind my hair so that no one would notice me. Then in the summer in a miraculous deus ex machina fashion, my hair grew out and I grew into my features. After that, no one really bothered me anymore and a boy actually asked me out on a date.
It’s interesting how a fear can be related to something as simple as a horrid haircut but I’m all about conquering dread, evolving and understanding that we aren’t really who we were at thirteen. Albeit, teenagers were cruel at the time, it never stopped me from my relentless faith that nothing is ever permanent. After many nights of crying I finally shrugged and told myself to get over it, taking a handful of hair ties to enjoy a summer on Safari in East Africa with my parents. Aside from the obvious vertical impediment to which I place blame onto generations of petite women in my family, I have grown monumentally and for myself, cutting my hair was very symbolic of the woman I have become. It is my visual reminder that my life has waltzed me to the other end of the dance floor, the one I was too shy to venture into when I first found my footing in life.
Martha’s pontificate comment irked me as well as the combined guffaws of other stylists as snippets of my long locks tumbled to the floor. Call it social conditioning, or archaic stifled reserved notions of what a woman ought to look like, but it’s amazing how many pages of junk are written on how to comply to the physical standards of a man and how to please him. Shockingly, most of these articles are written by women, causing me to look at the calendar and screech, “It’s 2014!!!” These countless magazines and blogs dictate the things men preferably covet in women. How lovely and informative. Oh behalf of all emotional anthropologists (Is there such a thing?) that haven’t ventured out into the millennium, thank you, but the question in consideration ought to be- What do we as women like in ourselves and in a prospective partner? What kind of man can satiate us? It’s not about going on a date and wondering if the man will like us. For myself, the question that immediately comes to mind is will I like him? Will he keep me on my toes? Is he well read? Does he know how to compose a sentence that is resounding of his eloquence (hopefully he has some) and do his actions follow suit? Hair? Really? That’s the last thing that I would think about unless of-course, I shaved it all off and left three spikes in different colors and even then I believe I have the confidence to rock that look.
Not only did I conquer the fear of those shiny silver scissors but also woke up loving my hair more each day. It was my personal allegory of self-evolution, not really giving any regard to what someone of the opposite sex would think and focusing on matters of the heart and soul to which I hold paramount. When you’re secure enough with who you are and your purpose then you will no longer have to validate those things that you think define you. You certainly wont seek justification through the eyes of a man or anyone for that matter. It’s all about how well you know yourself and what kind of relationship you have with you. Believe me, it’s the very best kind. You want to get up and look fabulous? Look beyond spectacular for yourself. Waiting for that momentous occasion to wear that gorgeous outfit or the perfectly sexy underpinnings? Do it for you. Did you want to take a trip but were frightened to go alone? Don’t be. One of my most empowering moments was being able to hop on a plane by myself, connecting flights through Europe when I was sixteen. I promise you, when you commence upon getting out of your comfort zone, you will radiate a very alluring magnetism where you are not depending on anyone igniting that spark in you? Why? Because that spark is you.
Three weeks later, five fashion magazines declared 2014 the year of short hair. Nice.