Day 23,678 –  A Hairy Tale:

The mirror has not been kind lately. Neither has my frizzy hair. I am blessed with lots of thick hair that’s neither curly nor straight, and not even uniformly wavy. I am not blessed with hair styling skills. It was an achievement as a young mother to learn to French braid my daughters’ tresses. They can now do it themselves, but I can still only do it on heads that are not my own. I learned to do for them what I never could for myself.

Changing a hair style requires a certain kind of courage, and more so if you are older. Should I go short, or does that instantly make me old in a way that is no longer recoverable? Do I have the two years it would take to grow the damn thing out if I hate it?

Should I keep it long? Does that just make me look ridiculously sad trying to hold on to youth for too long?

As in all stages of life, it turns out the hair conundrum is just symptomatic of all the other unanswered questions being grappled with at the moment. However, when more serious decisions elude a woman, there is always the option to deal with her hair – either by changing the color, the cut, the length, or look. It is not a stretch to say that highlights make you feel more optimistic, a short sassy cut makes you feel courageous, and long locks can feel sexy.

I started my latest quest by searching photos of women of a certain age with cuts recommended just for them. Some were enticing, but then I realized many of them were likely wigs. Perhaps I should just invest in a few different wigs to test new styles, colors and curls. Why do celebrities always looked so coiffed? They have on site hairdressers and wigs!

I went to the hairdresser today and as the professional she is, she humored me, and finally every so gently counseled me that the answer to my problems – you can guess this – was me. One daughter, finally vindicated, happily texted me that she had been telling me this for years. I am not patient enough. I don’t try hard enough. I don’t use the right tools. I just don’t do the required work, or invest the time. I don’t use enough product!

Yes, the easy answer was product. At the exact same time of my life when I am trying to use up product, not buy new product, and become more natural by indulging in only the most organic body care products, turns out I need to go back to a volumizing mousse (back from my decades-ago Farrah Fawcett feathered shag days) and pomade (something shunned since my brother’s own 1950’s Grease phase).

Hair, it turns out, is the obvious top of mind symbol of what I need to pay attention to in my own life. I need to find the time to devote to myself and create a stronger habit of self-care. It feels a bit like work even though I will look and feel better for it. But then, so does exercise at the gym, which, if anything, makes my hair take the hit for toning the rest of my body. No one comes out of the gym right away looking the better for it. Sweat and sweaty hair are not a pretty sight.

Today I am sporting a new look. We were going to go shorter, but my wise hairdresser knew to ease me into it. I do love it, but the success of this latest experiment will be judged in a day or two when I have to replicate it myself. I have already purchased the required new products; that’s the easy part. Doing the rest of the work, well that’s always the ongoing challenge. Keep your fingers crossed and roller brushes at the ready. I haven’t been in training, but I’m entering the hair care ring. I am committed to battling it out and coming out the winner.

Staying Gun Sanity Focused: Check out the latest post Gunning for Change.