"Oh WOW! It's so YOU! You are so brave!"
Never before have those words made me feel so cowardly and lost in searching for my identity.
It's just hair. I believe I actually said that when my hairdresser (the fabulous Ola from Edward Carriere, should you be in Winnipeg) confirmed I was going short. It will grow back, if I need it to.
I've been wanting to go short since at least October of 2010. But cutting your hair short 9 months before your wedding is right up there with getting pregnant on the list of things every bride should NOT do. (In retrospect, since the biggest disaster of our wedding was my hairdresser NOT showing up to work that day, and never finding out why... still boycotting all Winnipeg Aura Hair Salons for that one... it might have been smarter to cut it then!). After the wedding, my Regina hairdresser moved, and then we moved, and it took a while to find someone I trusted.
What made it so much easier was the fact that in the chair beside me, a girl had her hair dyed black, but her roots dyed red, and was buzzing the sides of her head. It looks pretty bad ass. What I was doing, in comparison? Tame, mundane, basic. Different, but safe.
Slipping on my leather jacket, and stepping out into the trendy neighbourhood, I thought: "ya, I can rock this." After driving my family-friendly hatchback home to my suburban apartment, I wasn't so sure.
And the doubt kept coming...
... what if K tells me I look like a boy (She didn't)
... does it make my nose look too big (no more than it did yesterday)
... what if my niece and nephew don't recognize me (they're young, they'll learn to adapt).
As people walked into our office, inevitably they'd comment :"It's so you!" or "You're so brave" or both. I even had two people stop in whom I've never met (but are up and down our hallway every once and a while) to tell me how "me" it was.
Not having seen my reflection in a mirror, and not having the brightly coloured daring haircut in the chair beside me, I couldn't see what they saw.
Saturday morning was the hardest -- waking up with messy bedhead (and not in the good way), but having to wait to shower until after all the cleaning was done. There may have been tears, and curling up in the corner of the couch. But a brightly patterned head band and purposely crazy hair at least made me feel like I was in control of the ridiculousness long enough to get moving.
After my shower, I put on clothes that felt the most me, but it still looked like there was a stranger staring back at me. How was it that everyone could see this haircut was so me if I couldn't?
Towards the end of our crazy around the city errand running trek, I accidentally turned into Ikea's parking lot. As we wandered through the showcase I starred at the strange face staring back at me in every mirror. For some reason, making funny faces made it look a little more familiar (though may have made me look all the more strange to everyone else). By the time we left the mirrors in the marketplace (conveniently right near the end), I finally started to recognize myself... and realizing I don't necessarily look like a boy...
I'm still a little too self-conscious to leave the house without makeup and a feminine scarf, but I'm also realizing I actually am interested in the more girly patterns and styles, and might even give some lipstick a try. It's weird that a drastically different haircut can actually make you feel like you're starting to get to know yourself a bit better.