They say that when it comes to hair, there are two kinds of women: the ones who see their hair as an accessory and change it on a whim, knowing it's "just hair," and the ones who see their hair as part of their persona, their signature, their "thing."
I am definitely the latter.
I have worn my hair pretty much the exact same way for about 10 years (well, there was that crazy experimental phase in which I threw in some longish bangs, but I was hormonal and pregnant so really, I wasn't myself). I can recite an endless list of things I would gladly change about my physical appearance, but my hair has been my ever-loyal sidekick. Other than an unhealthy obsession with Elnett Hairspray (trust me: it will change your life), my hair was pretty much wash and go. It was like if God said: "Okay, I'll make you a deal. I'll give you hips that will drive you mad your whole life, thighs that will never be slim no matter how many squats you do, and your mother's lack of skin elasticity, but I'm gonna give you This Hair." With little to no effort, I could wear it up in a sleek ponytail or knotted in a messy bun. I could wear it tame and soft with Kate Hudson-like beach waves, or big and intimidating with Shakira-like attitude.
But, like any other kind of relationship, if you don't tend to it, if you are careless and negligent, if you abuse it, even the most loyal of partners will begin to show wear and tear.
It was time.
My once golden locks had turned brassy and cheap-looking, like I'd been using Sun-in rather than a spectacular colorist who flies to New York on occasion to work Fashion Week. And the last several inches had dried out into a brittle handful of straw. My look had become more singe than signature.
Once I had committed to the idea (and printed several pics of a tousled Alexa Chung), I became completely and utterly excited by the idea. A new look. Chopping it all off. Going from an all one length mane of hair to a messy uneven short cut. I realized that I was desperately in need of a change. Over the last few months, I'd had a string of bad luck; nothing serious but enough little issues to have made me stressed and frustrated and a little depressed: sinus infections, bronchitis, adult-onset asthma, a minor neck injury, some "female" drama....the list went on, and had gotten chronic enough that some people were asking me if I'd consider seeing some kind of witch doctor or mojo-cleanser to un-jinx myself. (It's amazing how, regardless of the culture and religion, every group has some sort of voodoo/luck/energist/superstition type of thing.) And, I admit, I did start pondering....after all, what could it hurt to wear a special little black bead to ward off the evil eye, or bathe in a little milk and honey cleansing bath....?
Many of these little roadblocks had kept me from working out, and so, between the doctor's orders and summer being summer (hello, wine and beer!), I had also put on some weight. When you mix all of this stuff with a person who already has a propensity for mood swings, and throw in some hay for hair, you get a very unhappy and unpleasant Liz (and Liz's Hubby, I'm sure).
So when my friend suggested that I envision my hair cut as an exorcism of sorts, I was more than game. As I felt the cold steel of the scissors brushing against the back of my neck when she made the first snips, I envisioned all The Bad Stuff going with it. There, on her linoleum floor, mixed with the mounds of my hair, sat all my bad luck, all my days of feeling less than stellar, my chronic cough, my supposed asthma, my fourth (yes, fourth!) corneal abrasion. "Fuck you bitches...I got me a new hair cut!"
All three of my men loved it, too. Ben had initially wailed that morning when I told him I was cutting my hair: "But Maaaammmmmaaaa, whyyyyyy? I loooove your hair looonnnnngg!" But when I got home, he did a double take and smiled: "Wow, Mama, you look so pretty." Even little Aidan had something to say: "Mama, I like your hair like dat!" And Hubby, absolutely loves it. "I love that you look different, and I love how you feel with this new look."
It's "just hair."
Funny thing, though...for some of us, it's not. It's a piece of our Selves.
I can't hide beneath my mane anymore. I feel purged. I feel lighter and excited, and the weirdest thing is that although I look totally different, I am feeling a little more like Myself than I have in a long time.