I’m ready for my close up…

Yesterday I tried a new stylist since my regular one is on her honeymoon. 

Unfortunately, I ended up with a bad haircut. By the way, there’s no hiding a bad haircut–when you have SHORT hair. And for some inexplicable reason the stylist (who’d endlessly complimented my hair texture) decided to leave most of my head with less than an inch of hair all round–barely enough to pinch. She did however, kindly leave me a small fringe in front and wisps near my ear lobes. So I kind of still look like a girl.

After viewing the damage in the salon mirror, I did something that in a previous life I would’ve never done. I summoned a brave smile, swallowed my disappointment that the outcome looked nothing like the magazine picture that I’d given her, and I tipped her. She’d given it her best shot, afterall, and we did have a wonderful chat, so I also gave her an extra fond hug since it’d be my last visit.

When I got home and looked again in bathroom the mirror I was again saddened…and overwhelmed with helplessness. I’d just started a new job in a conservative industry 5 weeks ago!

My 4 year old son gave me a hug and said “Mom your hair smells good and I like the way it feels!” My 6 year old daughter took one look at my head, saw my red eyes and instinctively said “Mom, I like your hair!” Then she too hugged me.

I cheered up.

Although I rarely wear earrings, I decided to try on a bold pair that I’d never worn. Then I rimmed by eyes with black eyeliner, from a makeup set that I’d receieved as a gift last year but had never used. The effect was a little Annabella from Bow Wow Wow-ish (circa early ’80’s.)

At the end of the day, bad hair cut or not–it is still me. So I scooped up my adorable tribe and exited the building. After all it was a great day out.

Hello…hello

Recently I started saying “Good morning!” to everyone I’d meet early in the day. This simple gesture not only put me in a more upbeat frame of mind but also put smiles on the faces of most folks that I came across.
Emboldened, I extended my greeting to “Hello!” and “Good night!”, conversations, even. Next, I began holding the door open for the next person behind me, offering to get anything from the pantry and cafeteria for colleagues, while I was there. And, asking to join sole diners during lunch.
Some people seemed surprised at my gestures…of kindness, I guess. I’ve learned, for the first time in my life not to avoid doing something out of fear of rejection! Now, I embrace rejection because it tells me that I tried.

I feel like these simple acts are stoking a fire that’d dimmed over time and now my spirit is on fire.

Gamine by nature

After a little accident by a former hair stylist, I headed to the Red Door salon in Chevy Chase in search of damage control.

I’d been “growing” my hair the past year to…regain my sexy after a failed love affair. A year ago my ex-boyfriend, who didn’t know me when I had long hair told me that he preferred me with long hair after seeing a picture of me from 10 years ago. His insensitive comment really affected my self esteem. What I should’ve said at the time was that I understood and that I too preferred his picture from 10 years ago and what you see now is what you get! Instead, I did what many women do, I tried to change myself to please him and the relationship ended for other reasons. Since it was never really about the long hair, of course.

Anyhoo back to my story, post hair consultation, the stylist asks “so you want me to give you a cute short hair cut?” I nodded and thought briefly of my dating prospects this year. But then I remembered that before the ex. my pixie hair style seemed to attract more attention.

Later, in the ladies room, a fellow customer said “you have such beautiful eyes! I was staring at you in the other room and saying to myself how I wished I looked like that!” I was surprised and actually looked into the mirror–she was right, my features are enhanced. I left the facility full of renewed confidence, after flirting with the parking garage attendent.

My outward gamine appearance now better matches my free spirit nature.

Sometimes we need to see ourselves through the eyes of another to fully appreciate our beauty and sometimes…we don’t.

Trust Inside

I used to give my trust quickly and without discretion, asking nothing in return–very much like the gift that was not appreciated because of its (lack of) presentation.

Resulting bad experiences would lead me to have feelings of low self worth, and eventually I stopped trusting myself and could no longer rely on my own judgement.

Disappointed, I eventually learned not to trust others at all–giving up a key ingredient to enjoying life.  

I’ve since learned that trust is earned–a thing of consideration, if you will. It should build over time and eventually reach a tipping point where it’s either given freely… or not at all.

But when it comes to trusting yourself–do it absolutely without hesitation.

Hot legs

All my life, my breasts have been a touchy subject (no pun intended.) When I was much younger–a mere teen with a tiny frame, I was conscious of their lack of symmetry. In reality, looking back, given the amount of attention they attracted–they were likely close to perfection. Despite frequent assurances from boyfriends and even having gathered the confidence to frolick topless in South Beach Miami, I remained convinced they were somehow flawed. To me, bigger boobs were more ‘womanly.’

In fact, I became more critical over the years and the unrealistic images of enhanced breasts presented by the media didn’t help. After my second child was born my body image hit a new low. So much that I made a trip to the plastic surgeon for an evaluation. “You look to be between a 34A and a 34B.” I nodded. “I could get you much bigger breasts. Take a look at these pics.” I slowly reviewed the picture album filled with images of women with what seemed to me to be enormous boobs. “Um, aren’t these too big for me? I’m a size 4.”

The doctor confidently assured me most women wanted to go as big as possible and often returned to replace the original implants with much larger ones. “You know what they say–the bigger the better!” 

Suddenly, I became uncertain, I mean I could handle going a little bit bigger–but I didn’t want boobs anyone would actually NOTICE. I wasn’t used to my boobs being noticed anyway, afterall I had great legs. Suddenly I wondered why I was making such a fuss about my boobs–they’d nurtured two perfect children and, because of their small size were holding up splendidly against the forces of gravity. Much better than my more endowed sisters.

Now, when I see my reflection in the mirror while undressing, I’m glad I didn’ t make a drastic decision to alter my breasts. I’ve come into my own and don’t need large breasts to define me as a woman or to declare my attractiveness. Beauty afterall, is in the eye of the beholder.

Besides I have great legs.

The boys are missing out!

Women (and girls) are the primary targets for offensive marketing. There’s a market for clothes designed to “camouflauge” our “figure flaws”, plastic surgery to bring out the “best us”, products and implements to straighten and layer our thick, unruly (naturally curly?) hair and “add body” to straight hair. Diets for curvy gals and implants for thin ones. The “natural” woman these days is the man-made one (and I’m not talking transgender) and the un-enhanced woman is a diminished one. It’s unclear with the advances in feminism why this should be the case. That said, with equality among the sexes, why has the beauty bar for men remained the same over time or more likely declined?