My husband used to tell me that once I lost weight I would feel a lot more self-confident and my whole outlook on life would change. He wasn’t saying it to be judgmental about my weight. He made the comment because I do have a problem with low self-esteem. When I was running and dieting last year and started shedding weight, I truly began to feel an inner happiness that felt great! Since unintentionally dropping that healthy lifestyle, I have beaten myself up on a regular basis over my weight. Getting started on that healthy routine again has been difficult. Add to that the fact that I don’t like looking in a mirror. The appearance of my weight isn’t what bothers me, I am more concerned about my health being at risk because of the extra pounds. So looking in a full length mirror is not damaging to my spirit. But when I’m at work and use the restroom and look up from the hand sink and see myself from the neck up, I cringe. I have super curly, super frizzy, super unmanageable hair. On the days that I don’t put product into it (which is most days), it looks just as I described…curly, frizzy, and just all around not good. Back in October, I gave up the dream of having hair down to my waist and got my hair cut to just an inch or so past my ears. Since then, it has grown back nearly down to my shoulders.
Knowing that I’m not happy with my hair, my husband had suggested maybe going to the salon and getting it cut into a modern style…one that doesn’t just allow my hair to hang in one length on the sides of my head. It sounded like a good idea. That was a few weeks ago that he made that suggestion. I would have to go to one of those fancy salons with the actual word “salon” in the name to get that done and apparently, finding a hair stylist that you like is hard work, or so I had heard from the ladies I work with. It became one of those things that went to the back burner and was something that I didn’t really think about much after the conversation.
But then I got hot and sweaty one day this week at work. My hair, thick and curly, blanketed my neck and caused me to bring out the ponytail holder that I never leave home without. Yesterday, I went to work in the morning knowing that I needed to do something about both issues…the look of the frizzy mess, and the insulating heat it generates around my neck. Knowing that the back of my neck is not the smoothest skin, mostly due to the presence of skin tags, I have hesitated to get my hair cut very short. In college, short spiky hair was my jam–I didn’t have all the rough skin on my neck as I do now. Or maybe I did and just didn’t care. After all, college was a pretty rough time for me with my mental health, it is entirely possible I was not concerned all that much with my appearance.
So yesterday, while on morning duty, I admit to being on my phone and searching Pinterest with the terms “short curly haircuts”. I found a pixie cut that I liked and got determined to make it happen that day. Fast forward several hours and a conversation with a parent volunteer and an impromptu hair appointment with her stylist later that afternoon. When I finally got home, I did not have the same hair style I left with in the morning. All my fears of my round face making a short hairstyle make my face look fatter, or my skin tags making me feel self-conscious because now my neck is exposed, everything, every last self-conscious fear associated with my hair was gone. I, honestly, felt like an entirely different person. If I had known that changing my hair in such a drastic manner would have made me feel so good, I would have cut it all off months ago.
Of course, I worried about what my husband would think. He never really liked the extreme short cuts I donned in college and always commented on how much he liked my hair long. He didn’t know that I was so determined yesterday to cut my hair. Upon talking to him while he drove the hour and a half home from work, he asked me to send him a picture of the haircut. I did as he requested. And when I didn’t get a phone call back in response, I sent him another text asking him to lie and tell me he likes it even if he really doesn’t because I am madly in love with it. He arrived home soon after and as soon as he walked in and saw me in person, he smiled a genuine smile and said that I looked beautiful and that I did good getting it cut in the style that I did. Not that his approval was necessary, because it wouldn’t make my hair grow back any faster, but it did feel great to know he liked it.
Which brings me to this moment, right now. With there being one full day since cutting my hair, I have come to realize that even though it’s just a haircut, it has already worked amazing wonders on my self-esteem. I’m still heavier than I have ever been, but looking in the mirror with this new look makes my heart flutter. To put it very simply, I feel pretty. My husband tells me that I’m pretty all the time, but it’s only just now, that I believe him. I have been in a giddy, happy mood all day and had an incredible amount of singing and dancing energy while I was cooking dinner. Whatever it was that I needed for motivation to start exercising and taking care of my health again, it has been found. My head is lighter from the weight of my hair being taken away, and at the same time, my heart is lighter from the weight of my own self-loathing being lifted away.