Being a woman, it follows that I hate almost everything about my physical appearance.
Maybe that isn’t true. Hopefully it isn’t true for any of the women who might read this. But, we are told by every commercial, every magazine, and every soup label that who we are and how we look is wrong.* Societal disdain is a hard enemy to combat and most days, I don’t even try. I accept the fact that I don’t look like a Hollywood celebrity – noting that most Hollywood celebrities don’t even look like Hollywood celebrities – and try not to think about how others would rate my attractiveness.
Age has taught me that none of it counts. Manicures are for twenty-somethings in the midst of quarter-life crises. Me? I have a dog to wrangle.
Except in one area, that is. I may have given up on having clear skin, may not have weighed myself in at least five years, and may have embraced the classic t-shirt as my personal statement, but I spend a superfluous amount of time thinking about my hair. It is a vanity I cannot dethrone.
This is not to say that I think it always looks photo-worthy. Please. I am not the kind of woman who gets up at three in the morning to spend four hours making sure her tresses gleam. At least, I am not any more. (See aforementioned dog.) If it doesn’t look remotely decent, however, I have difficulty holding my head high when going to the grocery store. I don’t care about my tattered jeans or my dirty shoes when running out for cat food. I have to make sure my hair is clean and in place. In an ideal world, it would also be trimmed every six weeks.
Clearly, things often amble far from the ideal. Six or seven years ago I may have subsisted on ramen in order to pay for regular salon visits, which may be a part of the reason I am in a bit of a fiscal downturn, but this wasn’t sustainable. The biggest problem with this: when I let my hair situation slide too far, my confidence slithers right along with it. Basically, if my hair looks like crap, I feel like crap.
It is a bit ridiculous, I realize. No one else cares or even notices. I never judge anyone else for something as petty as the shape, length, or style of their locks, It is foolish to hinge so much of my personal pride on a pretty mane.
Logic has no place here. When my hair has split ends up to my eyebrows, I can’t help but reflect on past splendor. It seems like just yesterday I was walking around with this super-cute style:
If I remember correctly, the colour lasted about a week before it turned poop-red. It was lovely for the seven days it hung around, wasn’t it?
Spending money on something that does not benefit anyone else makes me feel guilty. The simple desire to spend this money makes me feel guilty. Thus, even though getting a hair cut is a positive experience that improves my self-esteem, it makes me feel bad about myself at the same time. Which is why before yesterday, I hadn’t had a trim since April of last year.
There was a whole lot of not cute going on.
The above picture is from September and the split ends are mortifying. The mind boggles at how long my hair had grown in the five months since this was taken. I will spare you the horror.
Self-care involves taking the time for actions that have that have positive impacts on our minds and bodies. Self-care makes me feel guilty. Well, nuts to that. It is a little thing, perhaps a selfish thing, but it makes me feel so much more like myself. It should not be a source of judgement and shame. If self-care is a feminist act then maybe getting a hair cut can be too.
Or maybe I am just enabling an obsession I need to conquer. It is just head-covering, right? It might be time for an intervention.
Do you have any vanities you can’t abolish?
*Seriously, Progresso. I expect this kind of crap from yogurt, but soup? You have ruined what used to be a faultless comfort food.