A while ago, I decided to cut my own hair.
It was really, REALLY short. Like, I actually had a little bald spot short. This is what it takes for me to learn why there are some things that I need to just pay for like a normal person. Your whole life can’t be DIY – as much as pinterest would have me believe it can. Anyway, after some tears were shed and my scruffy head was adorned with a bow, I actually looked like a cute, sort of normal person.
This is a very, VERY flattering picture. I’m lucky my hair’s black, it hides all the uneven chopping very nicely. Hair grows back, so no harm done really. Except that my hair grew back very, VERY strangely. But I’d decided I didn’t like any of the hair stylists I knew, and I obviously didn’t trust my own hair-cutting ability, so I let it grow at odd lengths and amassed a large collection of bows and headbands to hide the strangeness.
Throw on a bow and pick up a cat, and people hardly notice you’re a weirdo in the hair department.
Anyway, it was with chopped up hobo locks that I went in for my yearly check up with my OBGYN. I know no one’s a fan, but it’s especially depressing when you have endometriosis. I dread it for a very specific reason. To me, it’s not so much a check up as a annual formal announcement that I’m still sick! Yessir, I am still in pain, I am still weak, and YES, it still hurts when you poke my tummy, WHY ON EARTH WOULD IT NOT?? Sometimes I want to poke (read: PUNCH) my doctor right back and ask if that hurt.
Of course this has nothing to do with my doctor or his staff. My husband always comes with me to hold my hand while they take blood (needles and me are not friends). Every nurse in the place knows my name and remembers little details about my life. And my doctor is friendly and optimistic. I’m almost always treated like a princess and shown tons of compassion and understanding. But I still always feel like crap.
It could just be the feeling I associate with that hospital, the place where I was diagnosed and operated on twice. Maybe my sourpuss attitude is a natural defense mechanism my animal instincts use to keep me safe in a place I associate with personal pain and sickness. Maybe I spend every day in total denial that I’ll never get well, and this is the one day a year I have to acknowledge that’s not true. I don’t know. But I become a straight up emo kid every time I have to go.
This time was no different, except that I had ugly hair on top of everything else. My mom had been pushing me to go let a professional fix it up so it can grow right, but I didn’t want to spend money on a hairdresser I either already knew I wouldn’t like, or who had the potential to get added to my list of
“hairdressers that make me loose faith in ever having cute hair again”. But this day, when I went to visit her after my appointment, was the last straw. My hair hung unevenly around my “I wish I was dead” face. And my chosen outift of sweatpants and a sad grey t-shirt wasn’t helping the overall look either. Mom handed me some cash and made me go to the Toni and Guy at Northpark.
One of the things I dread most about having my hair done is making conversation. I don’t like talking to strangers. Or anything that’s human, actually. But this guy instantly put me at ease. I admitted to taking scissors to my own head, and he assured me all would be righted. Talking to him didn’t really even feel like talking. I hate talking. But this was nice. He was so kind, and so quietly understanding, and so calming….it took me a while to put my finger on who he reminded me of…
I found myself a hair dresser.
After some quiet chats and comfortable silence, I looked in the mirror and smiled. My hair looked great. But what was more important is that I felt great. After a little pampering, a little friendliness, and a little vanity, I’d forgotten to be a sick girl. When I looked in the mirror, I really saw myself. I was radiating with life, not from my artistically snipped locks, but from my smile.
It was like I’d forgotten what I looked like when I smile. And how it feels to smile! I appreciated my stylist’s talent, but it was more than just that. I remembered how much I love my naturally black hair – darker than both my sisters. My dad always marvels at my hair when we’re outside. There’s no brown or red tints in the sunlight – my shine is black. I remembered how much I loved my eyes, and the way they scrunch up when I smile. I remembered how much I love me. And I conceded that my body, while perhaps a little broken, is not all bad either.
So maybe next time, instead of my “screw today” grey shirt and sweat pants combo, I’ll wear a cute outfit. Or at least one with color. Or, if I truly cannot find the motivation to put effort into my appearance, I’ll throw on some knee-high socks, so I can look down and remember that I’m fun and funky and young and spunky, and I am NOT endometriosis.
And if I have the money, I don’t think it’d hurt for me to upgrade my hair do, or get a mani-pedi. My body doesn’t like check ups. Or waiting rooms. OR FREAKING BEING POKED. It deserves a little TLC after such an ordeal.
They say that smiling naturally puts you in a better mood. I always think that’s such crap, because if I need to be in a better mood I probably won’t take kindly to being told to smile. But I think there is something in looking the way you want to feel. I can’t just make myself smile, I feel stupid and maybe even more ornery when I try. But I can wear some funny socks if I have to wear socks anyway. And I’m always surprised at what a difference it makes.
My latest attempt to look how I want to feel is a neon orange dye job streaking across my head that you probably noticed in my last video post:
While I am very very fond of my rare, natural black hair, I’ve always loved to have a little neon color. I had purple streaks at my wedding, and after they faded I was normal colored for a while. But, like bright knee-high socks, having punky hair streaks has always made me feel a little funner and a little younger. Being sick often makes me feel like a little old lady, so it’s nice to look in the mirror and see a rock star.
Looking that way always brings me that much closer to feeling that way.
Do I Look Sick?