Sunday, July 24, 2011

My Hair

So when I was a teenager, I really didn't know what to do with my hair.

My hair is straight, and fine, and sometimes it was long and sometimes it was short and mostly, when I was a young teenager (think, like 12-15), it wasn't very hip and cool or even, in my opinion, very attractive.  Up until I was 15, my mom cut it, so, you know.  Not really her fault, I just didn't know what to do.

When I was turned 15, my friend and I decided we would get perms.  (I know, right?).  Do something different, I thought...everyone, it seemed like, had lovely wavy hair, maybe I could be just like them.  Maybe then they would like me.  Maybe then I would feel like I fit in.

Except...I had no idea what to do with it once it was permed.  So it was just, kind of, there, and it grew out, and even I will tell you that it was not a good look.

Not long before I turned 16, I remember I was in Spanish class.  And I watched as across the room, 2-3 of the popular girls made fun of my hair.  They didn't think I could see or hear them.  But I did.

It hurt.  Adolescence sucks, can we just all agree on that?

For my 16th birthday, my parents took me (just me, not my brothers!) to Kansas City to celebrate (we lived in Kansas at the time).  They wanted to take me to the rotating restaurant on top of the Hyatt (I could order whatever I wanted)  and shopping for new clothes (I could get whatever I wanted) and everything else, whatever I wanted.  I remember going to the Nelson-Atkins Art Museum (in part for the lunch in the courtyard because I loved their cream of mushroom soup) and seeing "Out of Africa" (and developing a huge crush on Meryl Streep, sigh...).

So then my folks took me shopping.  After we were done we were walking through the mall and I saw a haircutting place.  I stopped short.

"I want to get my hair cut."  I said.  So, in we went, and I talked to my stylist, a very nice man, and for my 16th birthday I got my hair cut in a short style that was up to date and flattering.  I liked it.  I knew how to replicate it.  And pretty much, since that time, I have had the same hair cut...part on the left, layered back over the top and right...though getting shorter and spikier through the years.  A college friend found me on Facebook and declared, "You still have the same hair!"

Here is me, May 2010, so you can see what my hair has been like the last 10 years or so, in its "shorter and spikier" stage.

At the goat farm!

Then in February, I went in to get my hair cut, and the stylist said, "You could have a little fun with this.  You could totally do a faux hawk, and..." (she messed with my hair a little), "it seems like your hair wants to go that way today."

I gulped.  I mean the thing with my hair is, mostly, I want it to look acceptable, decent and orderly, and not draw attention (see above, re: mean girls when I was 15).  But then I thought, what the hell?  I mean, if I didn't like it I could always go back to the old way, right?  So, dear reader, we styled it in a faux hawk. 

And I liked it.  A couple of days later I went up to Arvada for my chiropractor appointment, and decided to style it that way again.  I was early, so I hung out in a Starbucks for a while, and watched as the very normative decent and orderly white folk stared at me.  And I didn't mind (which was kind of a shock).

So I thought about that for a while.  On retreat in April, I played with my hair a little and liked the look more.  Here's a photo I took of myself in my hermitage:

Me, the sun, a faux hawk, and the San Luis Valley.

But I wasn't quite cielo's ordination was coming up and I didn't want to debut a new style before that in case I decided I didn't like it (or she didn't!).

Then, a few days before her ordination in May, I got my haircut, and it was AWFUL.  Dude just did a bad job.  I was ticked, and decided it was a sign:  Time for a change!

So in June, my friend H came over and cut my hair.  She is brilliant at many things (theology, for one thing), and one of those things is cutting hair.  We talked about what I wanted and she did a great job.  And I LOVED it.  It took me a week or so to figure out the trick to styling it (and for my hair to realize we were doing A NEW THING) but once I got it, there was no turning back.  She has come back again and trimmed it up and I am just loving it.  Here I am:

Me, at the July 4th vigil at the immigrant detention center.

Now, this may not seem like a big deal to you.  It may not even seem like that drastic of a change...but trust me.  For me, this is a Big. Deal.  It's a big deal to do exactly what I want, and not really care what other people think.  It's a big deal to have it not be exactly the same each time, or for it to look a little messy and imperfect, and not really care what other people think.  It's a big deal, to let just a little, visible part of me be a little bit...indecent (in the sense of "not decent" in the sense of "not acceptable" in the sense of "not normative" for a nice Christian woman pastor) and a little bit...disorderly.

Which precisely mirrors my spiritual journey at the moment, of letting go of what is "decent and in good order" (quoth St. Paul and turned into paralysis-by-perfectionism in presbyterianism, my former denomination).  Being Decent and Orderly (which yes, there is a time and place for) has become choking to me, stifling, and God, She has been battering my heart asking me to let. it. go...let. myself. go.  (Into Her embrace, wholly and completely...)

At last.

So you see.  The faux hawk...symbolic of the inner journey of liberation I am on...