Posts Tagged ‘long hair’

The symptoms of shock

08 Jan

So I took a combined First Aid/CPR course this weekend. And as if I didn’t already know this, they harped on the fact that shock is a very dangerous condition – something that requires immediate, advanced medical care. Symptoms of shock include feeling weak or nauseous, chest pain, dizziness, faintness, or lightheadedness, feeling anxious, agitated, or confused.

Yep. Sounds familiar. I think I felt every single one of those things as I sat in the chair on Thursday afternoon having my first hair cut in 3 years. But luckily for me, it was merely a mild form of psychological, and not physiological, shock. I didn’t require immediate medical care. I just required a glass of wine and a perspective check.

As I wrote previously, I have been growing out my hair with the ultimate intention of donating it. And this past Thursday afternoon, I made the big cut. Because my hair is so wavy/curly, it always appears about 3 inches shorter dry than it does wet. In fact, I didn’t really have a concept myself of exactly how long my hair was until I arrived with a wet head of hair at the salon and they combed it out for me. This is by far the longest my hair has ever been. Ever.

Now, here’s the shocking part. No. Not that those jeans do not do my rather prodigious butt any favors. I think that is clear to everyone. No, that’s not shocking. Okay, maybe a little surprising. To me, anyway. I mean, I love those jeans. They are way comfortable. But this is the first time I’ve ever gotten a back view of myself. So, yeah, a little surprising. And also surprising may be the fact that I got this hair cut at a children’s salon called Doodle Doo’s. A place where they sell a lot of toys and dolls that many of my friends think look super-creepy. Surprising sure, that I didn’t go to a grown-up salon, but to people who know me, not really shocking. But wait, I’m way off topic here. Back to what plunged me into my psychological shock. The big cut? This much anticipated and 3 years delayed hair cut? Took approximately 4 minutes. No joke. With a quick snip, snip, snip, snip of her scissors, Cynthia had me completely shorn. And as she spun me around to look in the mirror, with my ponytailed hank of hair held in my hands, my mouth fell open and I, yes I know this is going to be difficult to believe, I was speechless.

Here’s the thing, as excited and ready as I was to donate my hair. And as much as I feel grateful for the ability to do it at all, grateful for my health. When I looked in the mirror at my new short hair, it was like looking at a stranger. Just as I had no idea how wide my butt looks in those jeans, I had no idea how much of my self-image, no that’s not the right phrase, maybe my self-impression, was tied to my hair. I instantly looked and felt fundamentally different. And it was, well, shocking.

I have been jokingly referring to my long locks as my “college hair.” Because when I was in college, lo those many (many, many, many) years ago, I did have long, wavy hair. I took just about as much care of it now, as I did then. Shampoo, conditioner, towel dry a bit, hair product, air dry. Never touch a comb or a brush. Rarely pick up a hair dryer. Don’t bother fighting the butt-center natural part. Don’t even attempt covering the broad, high forehead with bangs. Just let my head-strong hair do what it wants, and let it grow. Yep, my college hair. And having all that long hair now, well, it made me feel younger somehow. Despite the fact that even my gray hairs were getting longer, it still made me feel, I don’t know, sexier. Which of course is an asinine statement. I was not sexy in college. I was a flannel & ball cap-wearing, grunge/indy-rock loving tomboy who lived in (apparently wide-ass accentuating) Levi’s and Chuck Taylor All-Stars. Yep. Pretty much like now. Except back then I was even more of a neurotic mess. Completely unsure of myself. I may have had a better, more athletically fit body then, but I don’t think there was anyone who would have said, oh, yeah, that Krista girl is sexy. So why now, at my more advanced age and in my time/baby-softened body, would I believe that having my college hair made me look sexy? An utter mystery.

But I sat there in the chair, having a Samson moment. Because staring back at me from the mirror was the pure mom version of me. There was no more pretending that I was some cool, young thing. That girl in the mirror, with her hair hanging in wet curls above her shoulders, definitely drives a minivan. Which made it all the more ironic when Cynthia said it made me look younger. I don’t want to look younger! I don’t need to look younger. I want to look cooler.

So to be frank, despite feeling really good about the gesture I was making, and smiling like an idiot in the picture as I held my ponytail in my hand, I was hating my hair cut. The rational side of my brain knew that it was a good cut, one I’d worn before, that would be easy to handle and would grow out well. The rational side of my brain knew that it was probably more fitting to my face, my personality, my lifestyle than those long, flowing locks. The rational side of my brain knew that Cynthia had probably just transformed me into the person I should be, instead of the girl about whom people might think, who is that almost 40 year old kidding with all that long, wavy hair? But the irrational side of my brain? It was screaming and wailing like one of those idiot girls on America’s Next Top Model who freaks out on makeover day.

But what was that I said I needed? Ah yes, a glass of wine. And some perspective. So I came home, still in shock, hair still wet, and started with the glass of wine. Which did have a nice calming affect. Then I started thinking about why I did this. Why I made this big cut, instead of just having Cynthia trim the ends to maintain the health of my hair. I was doing this drastic thing, making this big cut, so I could donate my hair to Beautiful Lengths. I was giving my hair to a group that makes wigs for cancer patients. What if I was the one who lost all my hair? And I mean really lost it. What if I was the one who needed a wig to make me feel more beautiful, to help me feel less sick? I might think that above the shoulder bob was the cutest, sassiest thing I’d ever seen. And I used my 38 year old brain, dug down into some of the wisdom I’d accumulated and stored away over the years to realize that confidence is far sexier than my hair could ever be. My hair was sexy in college, but overall I wasn’t. My body was sexy in college, but overall I wasn’t. Why? Because in so many ways I lacked confidence. But I have that now. And even if I don’t have that same tight body. Even if I don’t have that same long hair. I’m sexier now than I ever was then.

And yeah, I do drive a minivan. Because yeah, I am a mom. But hey, no matter what you think of my Levi 515′s, at least they aren’t mom jeans…

© 2010 Krista Lindsey Willim