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Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Maybe I Am My Hair After All

I was really excited to go to my hair appointment on Friday. My mother had unexpectedly made an appointment for a big family photo late on Sunday afternoon. My signature curly, past-the-shoulder tresses were starting to get weighed down by frizz and, well, length. Compliments on my hair were like currency for my self-esteem. I'm a big girl, and not slender, so any mainstream attractiveness was attached to my hair. While I didn't like people touching it (they did without asking, all the time), I never got tired of compliments.

Friday I decided to have it cut. I'd discussed it with my spouse to be sure it was a good idea (I have lots of ideas, but only about a third of them are ever good, and that's on one of my smarter days). After some encouragement, I went in to my appointment with the woman who has done a fabulous job with my hair for at least the last four years. She did her thing, and did it well.

And I hate my hair.

I don't hate it because it looks bad. It looks great. The just-below-the-chin length is perfect for my face. My spouse seems to love it. My curls are back. There's no reason to not like this hair, except that I don't. I've been thinking hard about why, and I think I figured it out.

The years my children were young, I kept this same hair style. It's practical. It's still stylish. But those were not happy years for me as a woman. Every area outside motherhood in my life was terrible. I felt subservient and walked on by everyone. I didn't know how to assert myself (and for those who had known me in years past, that might be hard to believe) and I let myself be yelled at and ignored, insulted and disrespected.

It took a tense moment in my home tonight to figure out that this was my issue with hair. It reminds of bad times. Right now, even with the lingering sadness of loss and the stress of making ends meet, I am not not in bad times. My life is wonderful. I have love and affection and affirmation and respect. I am fulfilled in ways I really never thought I would be.

My job now is to turn this new hair into the hair of a new and liberated woman, so I can feel comfortable in it. Empowered. When I looked in the mirror this morning, I saw an overworked and underappreciated Dusti, expected to handle any and every complaint and emergency silently. Tomorrow morning, getting ready for work, I will see a Dusti who can handle her life, and who is not expected to care for others but wanted for that reason, because she is good at it, and because she has the love (if not the temper) required to do these things.

What would your new haircut say about you?


  1. I toy with mine twice a week, so I don't know if any one haircut says anything about me so much as I'm just the type of person who is never happy with their hair and has to adjust things for the sake of adjusting them, even when everything else is falling into place.

  2. Dusty, I can relate. If I get attention for anything, it's my hair. I cut mine a lot shorter last week. Love it. The curls happen and I don't have to even brush or comb it. Today a guy at work said "did you cut your hair?" I said yes and he asked why. My response "because it is mine and because I could." The n he asked if I had gotten permission. My hand went to my hip and my culture started to show! I told him that I have been grown a very long time and permission wasn't something I have to ask for when it comes to myself.
    My new haircut says "I do what I want," that I'm taking care is myself and I like to keep it simple.

  3. Juli...."my culture started to show." Ha!

    Xn....You have hair that lends itself to toying.

    I noticed only naturally curlies have responded. Also, going to work this morning brought several positive remarks about my new style. Most of the time, I would not care that everyone likes it and I don't. I normally focus on what I don't like (it's true). I've decided to change my self-talk on this to positive because, well, people have told me before when they didn't like my hair, or when something just looked *not right* about it. I keep myself in the company of people I trust, so I'm adjusting my expectations once again!

    Thanks for commenting!