Hair and Self-Image

All my life, starting as a little girl, in all the fairy tale books I had read, the beautiful princess had a long draping flow of hair down her back. To me, it seemed to simply complete the picture, of what made a girl a girl. People schooling me differently doesn’t sway me, as I apply this hardwired logic to only myself. It has deep meaning to me.

Then, there was me. A child with a round face, who in general, didn’t demonstrate a propensity to take care of her things in general, and was kind of messy. (To this day I am not a good housekeeper). I was kind of hard to figure out, and God bless the folks who were tasked with raising me.

But, I always wanted long hair. I was always discouraged by adults in my life saying, “No no, that won’t look good on you. Plus, long hair is a lot of work to take care of!” Of course, a child of the above description I would not, by default, be someone who could be trusted to take care of long hair!

But, adults who were stuck with me as their charge, could only go by what they saw. They didn’t know the yearning in my heart, that needing to maintain long hair would be something I enjoyed rather than saw as a chore. (I had been able to demonstrate patience in that I was a good knitter from a very young age).

I’ve also never been one for fashion. I would make choices based on what I like, and rarely consult whether it’s “in style” or “suits my body/face type” or “fits my skin tone”. Yet, that was often how I was taught to dress as a child. It seemed like everyone else qualified for the things that I was magnetically drawn to, except me. I’d be left to admire the hair on other people.

I often also, was a people-pleaser, and doing so often made me feel obligated to go against the yearnings of my heart to seek approval for how I looked. I was (still am) a Christian, who was taught to respect others, not realizing that when it came to my own personal choices, that is where letting others call the shots, abruptly ends. It carried through to my adulthood. I would try to grow my hair long, and then when it got to “the awkward phase”, I would just chop it off again. It would add insult to injury when people would gush over how beautiful it framed my face and improved my face shape.

There were three times in my life that I got my own hair down to about 24 inches in growth. Each of those times, there were circumstances, physical injury related, which resulted in me having to cut it all off and start over again. Each of those rare times I was in hair heaven. I am planning to get that back again starting from ground zero.

I started buying wigs a few months ago, and recently I have shaved my head to facilitate ease of wearing the wigs. However, I *hate* the “shaved head” look on me. And on Feb 28, I shaved for the last time, and have started to take weekly progress photos (not for social media) of the growth. I noticed a thinning spot that I mistakenly thought was alopecia, but turns out was due to other temporary health reasons, was growing back (the ONE benefit of shaving, I could see it properly). So in the meantime, I have bought a fair number of wigs, and have no intention of being seen in public without either a headscarf or a wig, until my hair has grown out again to *my* standards.