Sunday, March 02, 2008

Some perspective

People who know me, know that I have been trying to grow my hair long for many years (ie. my whole life). Because of the curl it seems to grow excruciatingly slow... and it's taken about 5 years to get to the stage where I felt like it was a 'long' length... And I loved it. However one does still have to get trims-so this weekend I went to get nomorethananinch taken off the ends.

And, as many women will attest- once in that chair- I instantly became unsure & mute- acquiescing to the will of the girl holding the scissors. The girl who has probably only been cutting hair for a couple of months. The girl who may or may not have experience with curly hair. The girl who was clearly not listening to me or reading my face as she chopped away. I told her less, I told her just a trim. I told her I wanted longer hair. She said my hair was unhealthy and could do with a good cut. And I should get some layers to bring out the curl.
I post-rationalized with thoughts like "well she does this for a living... she does this all day everyday. She's the expert..." and I let her cut thinking "yes you're right a few inches will look much better. Yes the layers will look good..."
Well I've got news for you- layers DO NOT look good. They look horrible. They look like I got my hair cut by my 4 year old neighbour wearing a blind fold and cutting with kids scissors. My hair is now back to that awkward "growing out" phase that I have been trying to get out of for FOUR YEARS!!! She was not the expert.... I have lived with my hair for 32 years... WHY didn't I listen to ME?!

Well I felt truly devastated by anyone who has been within earshot of me the last day can confirm. BUT... it's only hair. And hair grows. And yes it grows crazy slow and I will have to live with the consequences of my not speaking up when I know better, for the next two years, but it will eventually grow back.
And here's where the perspective part comes in... and why I'm able to adopt such a rational attitude when women traditionally are anything but rational about their hair:

My cousin CB is in Africa right now- teaching in Ghana. I saw pictures of him the other day - working in the school room, which lacks a back wall, standing beside the water reservoir... which is almost dry, and speaking to some village elders, who have no shoes and little in the way of clothing. I've heard that many are sick and have worms from the dirty water they have to drink, which they have to walk 2km to get. These are real problems. This is real life.

In the pictures I have seen, people are smiling. People look happy. They are not just surviving but are living. Children attend school to learn their prepositions. Students invite my cousin to their house for visits, open their homes to him and share their lives. And I'm pretty freakin' sure that none of them are losing sleep about their hair being too short or in a 'growing out' phase.

So I look at these pictures (I'm posting 2- hoping CB won't mind: he's published them himself on his facebook page) and take a deep breath and remember all that I have. And think about what's really important. Not my hair- or lack of it- but my family and friends and health. I have these in abundance... so I can shelve my 'devastation' for another day. And just wear hats.


Robyn Vickers said...

Darling friend, I know the pain. I just wanted you to know that if your nose turned purple over night and your hair actually fell out I would still love you. Big hugs.

The Hansens said...

I can relate, as you know. Just this weekend when I was crying about my terrible haircut (from a hairdresser who also told me layers would be better, and they certainly were not better) I told my friends that I wouldn't carry on this way any more given the millions of people being infected with HIV... I'll be alright. We'll be alright. =)