Yesterday afternoon, January 20th, it was 85 degrees with what seemed like 200% humidity in the city. I was pondering what had happened to winter while looking in the mirror at my frizzy and limp hair. Being a new mom, I hardly have the time to tame my tresses so I often walk around with my hair all frumpy and undone. I don't wear much makeup either so it's been a bit hard to feel feminine and sexy. I'd been complaining about my hair for a while now. A lot of it fell out some months ago and so I have a combination of the longest hair I've ever had with patches of the shortest hair I've ever had. Even when I blow dried it straight and neat it was frustrating b/c the tiny hairs would frizz and it looked funny. I had pretty much had it. I started pondering a pixie cut again. I've done this before and I loved it and thought it would be a relief. So I went to the salon and got my hair cut. As short as Halle Berry's signature cut. It felt GREAT and looked adorable.
Fast forward to 6am this morning when I woke up to use the bathroom, took a glance in the mirror and started sobbing. My very supportive and sensitive husband already knew that while I needed to do it, something was brewing just beneath the surface. When he heard my little one and I stirring, he came in from the living room to greet us good morning and hugged me while I continued crying. I honestly felt ugly. I didn't want to get out of bed. But, I got to the point where I realized it was silly to ruin a perfectly good day because of short hair. So, my little one and I got up and we all went on about our day.
All day I've been thinking about where my tears came from. Sure, it's shock and perfectly normal to have a reaction, but I honestly felt- on some level-unworthy of womanhood and very unattractive. I thought and thought about it all day and this is what I've come up with.
"Being a woman" has many different definitions. In some countries it means being subjugated and obedient. In others it means being wildly feminine and emancipated. Nowadays women can be and do anything they choose to. Beneath the surface though is still this idea- even within women- that there are still some rules to adhere to (I'm sure this writing could be applied to men, but I'm writing it about women because I am a woman and that is what I know). Perfect example: I haven't pierced my daughter's ears yet and I'm not going to until she tells me she wants to. But 2500 people- mostly women- have made a comment about it from the very subtle to the overtly rude. I think somewhere inside of me I was abiding by some rule that states "women should have long hair" because I have been fighting with my hair since I was 12 years old and started being self-conscious of my appearance when I realized all the most popular girls had straight, long, blond hair. I have blow-dried and relaxed the heck out of my hair (putting hazardous chemicals near my brain- jeez what was I thinking) for the last twenty years and I am sincerely over it. I was over it before so imagine now, with a baby who's mobile. Who has half an hour to spend on hair that's only going to frizz in the nasty mugginess of the tropics the moment you walk outdoors? Maybe I'll want long hair again one day, but not right now.
This morning though I had to really remind myself that it's okay to have short hair and break with convention. I had been thinking about it for a while and I had brought it up to my husband a few times. He's really the one that has to look at it the most and I know he loves long hair (he can't help it either, he's a Hispanic male that grew up in a very male-dominated society- there's some serious male indoctrination there). Just a couple of days ago he said in passing, "Cut your hair if you want, babe..." and so I did. It's not that I ask his permission but I do care about his opinion. I am all for him getting a green spikey mohawk if he wanted one but I wouldn't necessarily love it. Anyway, it's gone. It was the longest I've ever had it and now it's all gone. I miss it but I choose to get out of my funk about it.
It does bug me a bit to realize that I still have some of that societal junk in my head. So much for creative expression and diversity. Society breeds sameness and complacency. I mean, I understand, I am part of this society whether I go with or against its flow. While I realize I do go along with some things, I do ardently disagree with A LOT of them. I guess I'm not free of all the nonsense yet.
I will say one thing... HOO-frikkin-RAY for not having to blow dry my hair now!