Call it reclaiming my identity. Or maybe I was trying to craft a new identity, what with the new name and all. Or maybe I’d finally learned to trust my instincts. Either way, I did it. It’s a done deal. The hair that caused me so much frustration and turmoil is gone.
I walked into work today, and someone said, “Hey! It’s just like that sit-com where the girl felt like she had to cut all her hair off when she got married.” If I cared enough to look it up to understand the sentiment attached to that message, I might check it out, but as I smiled and nodded, I thought to myself, “Yup, sure, people are going to write this off as cliché. I guess that works.”
To me though, I don’t feel like I’ve made the change to scare off male attention or proclaim that I’m an old wedded biddy or anything like that. Chopping it all off was a thrill I rarely award myself — a liberating, hands in the air on a roller coaster ride, exercise of autonomy.
I still remember, quite distinctly, spending hours getting ready for my home-hosted shower with my dear friend — putting on the pretty flowery new dress that Current-then-Future-Husband had bought me, deciding to step out of my comfort zone with *gasp* wedged shoes, and taking lots of time to do my make-up.
When I finally, reluctantly, decided to tackle the onerous task of styling my long, scraggly mane, I was clueless. The curling iron wouldn’t heat up enough and I’d sprayed a nauseating amount of hairspray to hold the pseudo curls. A weird matted down curl in the front made me look like Alfie from the Little Rascals. I tried to fix it, and it wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t good either.
My heart started beating fast, as I remembered all eyes would be on me. I stared, nervously, into the mirror, not quite sure what to do. My friend assured me it was fine, but I quickly pulled my hair halfway back before we headed out the door, knowing I wouldn’t have any tolerance for fussing with my long mane when I arrived. During the whole car ride to what turned out to be a very happy tear-filled event, I sat there, silently. The hair had gotten to me. It had broken my spirit and sent me into a spiral of self-doubt and uncertainty. I knew it was ridiculous, but I was a girl. I was a future bride. And guys, let me tell you, that kind of pressure can cause some pretty insane thoughts to creep into your head sometimes.
There were many more instances like that, which I don’t care to remember. After doing the deed and bidding adieu to my unyielding mane (which, in all honesty, is great hair — I just don’t get hair-styling. I don’t have the patience for it) I arrived home. I couldn’t wait to show it to the Mister, who’d assured me that whatever I decided, it was just hair.
He loved it. I knew he would. He’s just that type of guy who knows how to pick you up and make you feel good. And later that night, after the fifth time of hearing how great I looked, I went to bed happy. I hadn’t reclaimed my identity, because I was never a short hair kinda girl. I’d forged a new identity, which matched my new name, my new role, my new me. And that self-defeat against self-compliance, in the end, was the biggest win. Somehow, through this small act of defying who I was to embrace who I have yet to become, I’d found a way to liberate myself from…myself.