For many years I had shoulder-length straight brown hair, parted in the middle. It was a low maintenance “do”, requiring only an occasional trim. Although I liked short hair, it required more frequent and skilled cutting. Regular trips to the salon were not part of the particular culture in which I grew up in India.
Short hair also meant a regular expense. At that time I had a lot of judgments about good/right things to spend money on and bad/wrong things. Haircuts fell in the bad category because I considered it materialistic to care about appearance.
But the day came when I wanted to cut my long hair. With the help and encouragement of friends, and now living in the States where regular trips to the salon were a part of the culture, I was slowly reexamining my beliefs. I was emerging from a period in my life in which I didn’t want to be noticed, and my hair was the next step.
Friends recommended a salon and I scheduled an appointment. The bald hairdresser listened as I described an asymmetrical cut and said, “You’ll have to get a new wardrobe, if I cut your hair like that.” Taken aback and hurt, I opted for something safe, a haircut I ended up not liking. I waited eagerly for it to grow out.
Some time later I tried again at a different salon. I may have simply said I wanted something shorter, something different. This hairdresser understood my desire for change and he also heard my hesitancy. He suggested we take it slowly. So we did.
Looking back, I see the struggle going on inside me. I wanted a haircut and didn’t believe it was okay to want it. I wish I could remember how I finally decided in favor of the haircut. I’m glad I did.
I feel more myself with short hair. This feeling makes it worth the investment of time and money every six to eight weeks.
Beneath this desire for a haircut was a desire to feel good about myself, to feel beautiful, to come into my own, to be more me. As I feel more myself, I am aware that I make more choices that reinforce these positive feelings. Choices that range from the right size and shape tea mug to the decision to create a business weaving kitchen towels.
My judgments and struggles around purchases haven’t completely disappeared, but with each decision that supports who I am, the less investing in myself feels like a frivolous expense. It’s a necessity if I want to be true to myself.
My invitation to you: What’s one step you can take for you to invest in yourself more fully than you have in the past? I’d love to hear.