Monday, January 5, 2015

my hair

an out of focus photo of a photo of me and my brother, watching TV.

All my life I've had a love/hate relationship with my hair.

As a child I had thick hair from birth. Some of my earliest photos include pigtails and hairclips trying to hold heavy black hair out of the way of my eyes.

My father loved me having long hair, something he felt girls should have. I blame the church where he grew up. Most of my life my grandmother had waist length hair that was always wound or braided on top of her head. In 2nd grade he was devastated when I had my hair cut to chin length just like many little girls that year.

In high school I broke up with a boyfriend and had him tell me, "No one would find you beautiful without your thick long hair." It was heart breaking. Many people had commented on my hair and girls asked to play with it in class. Was he right? Was that my "best" trait? Why was I caring what an ex said to me?

It stung though. And like many things in those teen years stuck with me.

I wanted to be known as artistic. Or creative. A beautiful heart or mind. Loving. Not "the girl with the great hair". I didn't work for that. It wasn't a personality trait.

Shortly after the breakup I cut my hair. Short. Then I went to college and did it again. Such a mess. First off due to height and size I look rather masculine without hair. And it seemed weird to cut my hair when it was less itchy and more tame if it was long enough to do something with. Short hair seemed to draw even more attention or create the assumption that I was *out* for attention with my short hair.

I let it grow for a few years but then it hit a length where it was again what people mentioned to me first. I was the photo girl with the long hair. So I kept it long until my wedding. Once we were settled into our new place I did the unthinkable.

I tied the hair back, buzzed my head and sent the ponytail off to locks of love. I did it because I was ready for a change and because I was heartbroken for a mentor who had died of cancer. I wanted a fresh start. I wanted a new life with my husband.

I wanted to be more than the girl with the hair.

I think this is a factor into why I am enjoying covering my hair. When my hair is covered I feel like I am seen. I am here. I am eyes and face and expression. I am more than the sum of my parts.

If modesty is the covering of yourself in order for an internal reality to shine through then my head covering is my most modest self yet.

I will admit that at this point I am still fairly self conscious in public though. I've seen more than one quizzical look in the eyes of an onlooker. I'm wearing my scarves back enough that my hairline shows (although I prefer to be a little more covered) so that people can see that I do *have* hair. I'm not a cancer patient.

But I have to say, I am learning to embrace this.

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