Thursday, August 23, 2007

What a difference 10 inches makes


Are you thinking what I'm thinking?

I bet you're not.

Sorry, but I'm not talking that sort of 10 inches today. (I'll save that for another day. Promise.) Today I'm talking hair. My hair. And the sudden, refreshingly freeing lack of it.

You see, I cut my hair last week. Walked into a salon, plunked down in the chair, and said 'Cut it all off'. And they did. 10 inches of it. And let me tell you, I've never been happier.

A little background on me and my hair. I believe I was born into this world with long, luxurious locks. Or at least as close to it as can be. I've had a love/hate relationship with it since day one. I love it when it's not in my eyes and no one is trying to style it. Tied back in a ponytail so I can feel the heavy swish of it against my neck and shoulders? Bliss. I hate it when it must be manipulated to make me look presentable to the world.

Since I can remember, my mother has always fussed with and styled my hair. Always. Always, there were the straight-cut bangs. You have a high forehead she'd say you need bangs. And always the curls. This first pic? I was two. And look at that. Freakin' curls and styling and bangs. And we're talkin' mega amounts of Aqua Net hair spray. I think I inhaled enough chemicals in my first few years of life to preserve this old body forever. And let me tell you, oh ye who are but a few decades upon this earth, we didn't used to have curling irons and blow dryers and styling sprays. Oh no. We had curlers. And I've suffered through curlers for more days and tearful nights than a kid should.

It starts with the plastic jar of pink Dippity Do. Mom washes my hair, slathers on gobs of the pink stuff, then rolls it up on a plastic curler, which is usually secured with a sharp little plastic pick strategically placed to poke into your brain. Then, comes the pretty pink scarf to cover the whole monstrosity, and 'My, doesn't that look pretty?'. Not. The pink scarf was just a dupe to make me believe it wasn't going to be so bad. But have you ever tried to sleep in curlers? The kind with the sharp little plastic teeth that dig into your head all night, and in a corpse-like position with your head stiff so you won't accidentally roll over and stab your ear with a curler? Not easy. But that's how it was before blow dryers became an affordable, easy method to drying one's hair, and curling irons could create an instant style.

So nice hair was necessity when I was growing up. I know it was just because my mother fancied herself a stylist, and look at all that hair she had to work with. A mother's dream! Check out this pic. Mom was so proud of her work, she insisted the picture be focused on my hair. I think they added the mirror at the last minute when someone decided that maybe they should include the kid's face for posterity.

And here's another of the long locks. I can't even go into the skating costume. Besides a plastic ice cream bucket full of curlers and a never-ending supply of Dippity Do, Mom also knew how to sew. The horrors. And the polyester. Oy.

Anyway, here I am now. Forty-two years old (almost; B-day's this Saturday). I've had long hair since birth. I've been complaining about said long hair for a good decade. But always a wistful look from the hubby keeps me from cutting it.

Well, I finally just did it. Didn't tell anyone. Didn't over think it. Just drove a straight line to the salon, and took off my glasses so I couldn't witness the shearing. And you know what? I. Am. Happy.

But here's the funny thing. I'm not going to post a 'now' pic, because after 10 inches was taken off, I'm not thrilled with the style. It's not me. It's very boyish, and needs some fine tuning. I suspect I'll return to the salon within the month to get the 'final version'. But you know, right now I'm so utterly thrilled to be done with the hair I can't even be bothered with the fact that it isn't quite right. I am liberated! I am becoming more bold. I am learning not to second-guess myself so much. Sometimes you just have to go with your gut. Trust your intuition. Take the leap and go for the ride.

So what have you done, that you've put off forever, and when you finally did it, it changed you? Physically or mentally? Did you learn to take more chances? To listen to yourself? Or do you have something you wish you dared do, but keep convincing yourself you probably shouldn't?

Just to report: When you cut off 10 inches or more, you can donate your hair to Locks Of Love, which I did. So beside the blissful feeling of lacking hair, I also got a feel-good kick knowing something I didn't need anymore could be put to good use. Now that 10 inches will make a wonderful difference to someone else's life.



lois greiman said...

Hauf, you cut your hair? Wow. Is your husband in tears?

As for things I've wanted to do...I planned to try a triathlon this year, but just didn't find the time. Sigh. Maybe next year.

Good to try something new. Yay for you, Michele.

Samantha Hunter said...

Congrats! I'm with you 100% -- I had long hair forever, curly, country-music star hair, LOL, and Ikeep it chin length now, but would chop it boy length if it didn't spike up and make my head look like a bowling ball...

For me, traveling the thing. Stepping on the plane, having faith it will stay up and past that, learning over the course of the flights I've take to actually enjoy it, to embrace it.

There are a lot of things I would like to dare to do, some of the mentionable, some of them not so much. ;) One of the mentionables is karaoke (Sp?) -- I probably won't ever do this, but I think about it now and then.


Betina Krahn said...

Wow, Michele, what a step! Congratulations!
And how cool that you could donate to Locks of Love-- such a great charity.

Yes, there always does come a time in your life when you need to make a change with a capital C. . . to free yourself from stuff that's no longer working for you and try out something new.

For me, moving has been part of the process-- and the "ritual shedding" of material goods that are no longer of use or helpful to me. It hasn't always turned out the way I planned, but it's been positive and I had to do it alone. . . no one to rely on but me for decisions and consequences. After my first post-widowhood move, I realized I was grown up. buying a house on my own, moving, deciding what to keep and what to "shed."

Every once in a while, I eye my hair in the mirror and wonder what it would be like to have a "boy cut." My hair grows slowly, so that keeps me from experimenting too much. Someday, maybe.

Michele, we need a photo, love, so we'll know who you are the next time we meet!

Helen Brenna said...

Wow, Michele! Can't imagine you with short hair. So cool that you did this and love it.

I had long hair most of my childhood. Got my senior high picture taken and chopped most of it off. Kept it short, very short, most of my adult life. Growing it out about 5 years ago was liberating for me.

Sam hit the nail on the head for me on this front. I love to travel, but keep putting it off for kid stuff. Now that they're older I'd like to try some really adventurous stuff like Nepal or Peru. Someday, it'll happen.

Michele Hauf said...

I think the hubby is still in shock, actually. He hasn't said much about it. Did I complain the summer he decided to go completely bald, but didn't take into account that his face, ears and neck were all a dark, dark tan, and that scalp, well, it was pale as a baby's butt? :-)

Go for the Karaoke, Sam!

Betina, I love that 'shedding of things'. I'm constantly trying to do that now. Get rid of anything I just don't look at, touch, or use. It's very hard. Sentimental stuff especially. But I think less is more now.


Michele Hauf said...

Yes to traveling! Is it because we wait for the kids to be gone, or that we just don't take the 'dream' vacations with them? We take more kid-styled vacations.


Debra Dixon said...

Michele-- You go girl ! I was so disappointed not to see the new hair so hurry up and refine it.

In March I cut off 10" and sent it to Locks of Love. My problem with short hair is that my layered cut changes every week. Just when I learn exactly how to blow it dry to perfection, I go to sleep and it's a new style by morning. My hair grows pretty fast, not really that fast (g) but you get the point.

You get a sweet little card from Locks of Love.

Michele Hauf said...

Cool, Deb! Another 10-incher! :-)

See, my problem is, I just don't like to mess with my hair. At all. I don't do curling irons, or blow dryers or styles. I like to wake up in the morning, give the hair a toss, and hope it won't scare anyone. So far, I can slick the longer hair in the front back over my ears, and it looks like a boy, but it works. Or, I can let it all just hang there, and it reminds me of that non-style Darryl Hannah had in BladeRunner. Remember that choppy horrible do? Yeah. I need to get back into the salon.

Christie Ridgway said...

Oh, wonderful on you Locks of Love gals! That's cool.

When I was a teensy girl my grandma made rag rollers out of an old sheet and wrapped up my just-shampooed hair. I had (have) very fine hair, and a log of it, and it was down to my butt. I went to bed in said rag rollers. The next morning, my mom shrieked when she got me up. My long hair was now in corkscrew curls that didn't pass my neck and took lots of time and tears to comb out.

What would I like to dare to do? Hmm... Is this bad? Nothing immediately comes to mind. I'd like more of certain things (money, time, patience) but none of that requires me to "dare" to do anything.

Anonymous said...

Been there--done that. My hair was so long it got caught in my seatbelt, got tucked into my pants, was driving me crazy! I cut it to chin length and spent the next month flipping it around like a fool.

Dara Edmondson said...

Good for you. How wonderful that you could help Locks for Love! I always had the opposite issues with my hair. Mine is very curly so my mother kept it short. The moment I was in charge I started growing it. I finally cut off about 8 inches when I turned 40. But I doubt I'll cut it shorter than my shoulders until I'm at least 60!

Playground Monitor said...

Yay on the Locks of Love donation. My sister grew her hair out a few years ago just so she could donate it to them.

Since our nest emptied out a few years ago we've done lots of traveling. I sorta embraced that Tim McGraw song -- Live Like You Were Dying -- and while I won't try sky diving, I've gone 2.7 seconds on my husband's motorcycle, which I've nicknamed Fu Manchu. :grin: I just ride on the back and I've been on longer than 2.7 seconds, but you get the idea.


terrio said...

I slept in those brush rollers with the little pink picks of death. Those were horrible. I always had very long hair and complained because it tangled so easily and hurt like heck to brush. When I turned 8 my mother let me cut it all off and I had the Dorothy Hamill doo.

I eventually grew it long again but cut it all off after my daughter was born. Turns out I got lots of compliments about it and I love the fact I need nothing more than a blow dryer and a brush to fix it. As much as I'd love to be able to let it grow out again I never see myself having the patience to do it.

Congrats on your new doo and I'm looking forward to a picture as well.

Candace said...

I've cut my hair short twice and hated it both times. I just don't feel like me with short hair. Plus, when it's short, it resembles the 'do Shirley Temple wore when she was a tot. Not a good look on a mature woman.

I keep thinking there will come a time when I'll be "too old" to wear it to the middle of my back--but probably not.