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8.22.2012

The Long & Short of It

Ladies & gents, let me spin you a tale about one of the biggest sticking points of my aesthetic career. 

You'll have to excuse the illustration. I wasn't feeling especially talented today.

I cut my hair gamine-short for the first time when I was in 5th grade, just in time for graduation from elementary school. No make-up, pre-puberty, in jeans & penny loafers with a vidal-worthy cut. I had my mother to thank for that. Her fashion-sense was keen & she always knew what was best. I was yet to really feel peer pressure and so, it was the first bold fashion move I had ever made and one of the most memorable...without argument. Without regret.

Looking back, it was one of the best things I had ever done...and, really, I didn't grow my hair much longer (aside from an occasional foray into the realm of bobs - that would make a great title: The Realm of Bobs - remind me to write a post about that) all throughout high school & college. I had become synonymous with "short hair" during those years and I was happy about it.

So, what did me in? What made me grow my hair out at a certain point?
Yeah, it's probably not hard to guess. A bad relationship sprinkled with some insecurity.
That's just a recipe for disaster.

It came in the form of my then significant other innocently (though, in retrospect, not so innocently) admiring the manes of females or complimenting me when my hair was overgrown. Light teasing in regards to my boyish look (yes, I'm flat-chested) didn't help. And so, without really thinking about it, I grew my hair out in a mild state of desperation to feel more attractive to my partner and, in the process, began feeling less like myself...and, in a way, less attractive.

However, I will say that I found putting my hair up incredibly rewarding. "Look at all that hair just sitting on top of my head. I can wear a bun! A ponytail! Maybe I'll braid it!" It became, not only a biological symbol of some sort of fertility (yeah, it's true, guys, you subconsciously are into that unless you're highly evolved...and if you're not, don't feel bad. It's just nature), but also a new plaything. A new accessory!

Needless to say, after two relationships of that ilk, I said "screw everyone" and got my hair Seberg-short. Oh, it was glorious! My face had nowhere to hide! My expression was out there at all times! No hair to distract from who I was!

And that's when I stop myself and wonder why I think that hair is a distraction rather than a flourish...an addition.

Because here's the thing. We all have our preferences. I like looking sort of androgynous (much to my husband's dismay, I'm sure.) I like oxfords & oversized sweaters. I rather be able to run in my flats & trudge in my boots than teeter on my heels...and then I realize I'm always afraid that someone will judge me by the sum of my body parts rather than my brain and the pained expression I get whenever I'm attempting to do something creative.

And, yet, don't we all want to feel attractive to the one we love?
(I'm starting to sound schizophrenic now.)

At the end of the day, I just have to remember, I'm me. Long hair, short hair, no hair. If I decide to cut my hair shorter today, I'm no less or more of who I am (though my husband would mourn the loss & I hate seeing him sad.) If I decide to grow my hair, I'm still me.

It's just about what I like and everyone else can take it or leave it. I need to be happy.

...and to add to all of this, I'm in the midst of growing my hair out to donate it. Something I've never been able to do. I might have to lock all the scissors in the house into a safe and give the hubby the key. I suspect the rewards will be worth it, but my patience will be tried every .  single . day.

Wish me luck.

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