Probably for the past 17 years, I have been focused on things like working, paying the bills and from time to time, school. I haven't spent much time dealing with how I looked....there were bigger things to think about than that! But slowly, over the years, as I've neglected my appearance, I have just been slipping further and further into a picture of someone I'm not happy with. I even realized a few years ago that I'd stopped looking in mirrors. It was only whenever someone managed to take a picture of me that I'd see myself and I looked like a stranger....like someone who didn't care too much about her health or how she looks.
Now that I'm into my 40s, sometimes I have wondered if it's even worth pursuing...am I too far gone? I tell myself that I look old, my complexion is bad, I'm very much overweight. All these years I thought the only thing I had going for me was my long, long hair. I'd grown it down past my derriere. I'd last permed it about 20 years ago, and that had long since grown out. I'd never colored it and since I'd decided to just live with my straight hair (which thankfully came back into fashion), I also stopped blowdrying it or setting it in hot rollers (except on very rare occasions). As a result, it has stayed quite healthy all these years. People would always remark on how beautiful my hair was, so long and shiny. So naturally, I figured that was my best feature!
Since I've seen my hair as my best feature, I've held steadfast all these years against cutting it. After all, then I'd just look like a fat person with shorter hair. I'd no longer have that one special feature that stood out. But recently I've become restless, realizing that even though I continued to get compliments on my long hair, it really didn't have any style to it. It was just very long and STRAIGHT. It took a long time, but I finally agreed to accompany my youngest sister to the salon. We set an appointment for a consultation only. But I wasn't in there 10 minutes, talking with a couple people at the salon, when we hit upon a plan and I decided to quit waffling...I said, "Just do it". That was the scariest cut, the one straight across that took off more than 12 inches of my long hair. My identity. It felt so strange! But as he continued on with my hair, cutting layers into it, I got over the shock and I started to feel relieved....like I was finally moving on to new things. I hadn't even realized I was "stuck".
While it is true that I feared waking up the next day and wondering 'what have I done?!' ... to tell you the truth, the more I looked at my hair in the mirror (and yes, now I find I am starting to look in the mirror again!), the more I realized that it really did look better on me, the layers just somehow adding a little "style", lightly framing my face...and making my hair look even thicker. I woke up the next day and there were no regrets.
I'm still getting accustomed to my new hair...it feels as if there is nothing to brush in the morning, and it occurred to me that I need to tone down on the amount of shampoo I use now when I completely over-soaped my head. But it feels lighter and new, and I am hoping this will be the catalyst that finally pushes me onward to make other much-needed changes that I've been wanting to make.