Posted in Faith, Mental health

Forced to Look

I got a haircut last week, for the first time in about 9 months.  Usually, I wear my hair long and wavy.  Or, more precisely, tied back in some version of a classic housewife-style ponytail or bun.

This time, I was up for a change.  Here is the picture I showed my stylist:

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The model’s waves, I thought, are similar to mine, so maybe this style would work for me.

The hairdresser gave it a quick look and proceeded with the cut.  She decided to straighten my hair prior to cutting it, to make sure she got it even on both sides.  And she cut it a little shorter in the front than in the picture I had showed her.  So, although I got a nice cut, rather than looking like the model above, I left the salon looking more like the aged Mandy Moore on “This is Us.”

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The next morning, after seeing the new ‘do for the first time, my nine year-old told me I looked “kind of like Grandma.”

Now, I believe that my mother has beautiful features, but that’s not exactly what I was going for.

It all reminded me of what a seasoned hairdresser once told me.  She said that she had often endured being sworn at or abused by customers.  I was shocked, and asked her why.

“People are so broken,” she explained, “they hate themselves so much, and have so much pain, and they want me to fix them.  To make them feel better about themselves.  But I can’t.  Only God can do that.”

This isn’t the first time I’ve gotten a haircut and felt a little disappointed that I didn’t come out looking more like the model in the picture.  And if you’ve experienced this too – (be honest…I think many of us women have) – you will know that the pain it uncovers is extremely real.  It’s more than just shallow vanity.  This is a deep-cutting, heart-rending kind of pain, that has less to do with our hair than it does with something that runs far, far deeper.

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James, the half-brother of Jesus, wrote in what became a part of our Bible (James 1:22-24) about a person who looks at himself in a mirror, goes away, and then immediately forgets what he looks like.  He is using this metaphor to describe a person who reads the law, but doesn’t remember it or follow it.  I think I get what he’s saying.  If you are one to study the Bible, you will understand that it can be like a mirror – revealing who you truly are.  And that, truthfully, can be uncomfortable, just like coming to terms with your reflection in a physical mirror.

“For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.”

Hebrews 4:12‭-‬13 NIV

How many times have you looked in the mirror, but not really looked?  I don’t always want to see that latest pimple (yes, I still get them), crease, or grey hair.  I don’t want to accept that my skin has loosened and softened after the birth of my children, or that I have a few more inches sticking to me here or there.

It’s easier to take a quick glance, just long enough to sweep my hair back, give my face a quick wash, and then go on my way.  Maybe, in my mind, I look like Jessica Alba.  Or Charlize Theron.

But the truth is, I don’t.  I’m not a model, or an actress.  And in the process of fixating on what I’m not, I may walk away from the mirror and forget all of the things that I am.  

I am: a wife and mother, who often messes up, but is working hard to do what’s right.  I am: no longer a youth; no longer a woman in her 20’s.  I am: a woman in her mid-30s who has learned a few things, and also has a lot left to learn.  I am: able to make sacrifices and put the needs and wants of others ahead of my own.  I am: endowed with a limited measure of intelligence, creativity, and abilities, that I can use to improve the lives of those around me.  I am: looking more like my older sister and my mother as I age.  I am: dependant on Jesus for strength, guidance, acceptance, and forgiveness, every single day.

I am who I am, and no, I don’t need to look in the mirror only to look quickly away, because my reflection doesn’t comply with some fleeting combination of features and qualities that I wish I had.

And so, although I dislike posting pictures of myself online, here I am with my new haircut.  (For the record, I never said make-up and soft-focus lenses were out of bounds!) πŸ˜‰

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I don’t look like the model I showed the stylist, or the aged Mandy Moore, or Jessica or Charlize or even the lizard I used as the featured image for this post.  I look like me.  No hairstylist, however talented, will ever be able to change that.  And that is actually ok.

Do you need a haircut?  How do you like to wear your hair?  Do you have any “I am” statements to make?  I would love to hear about it in the comments section below.

Warm wishes,

Lisa

Author:

Hi, I'm Lisa, a born-and-bred-in-Manitoba mom of 2 boys. Having lived in 7 different Manitoba towns or cities, I've managed to stay warm in them all πŸ˜œβ„. I am trained as a music therapist but currently work as a fulltime stay-at-home-mom by day, and a piano teacher in the evenings. By night, well...I sleep. Usually.

19 thoughts on “Forced to Look

  1. Looking good! And this is a very good message. When I say my prayers in the morning I am always thankful for each member of our family and I take a moment to think of each of us. When I think about me, though, I sometimes have a hard time picturing what I look like. Do I not look enough? Can’t I picture who I am – like, who am I? But I should look more often, you’re right. I’m okay and happy being me!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Looking beautiful Lisa, and a beautiful post as well. I’m dreaming of a haircut – we’re not there yet in Ontario – but the dog got into the groomer today – his hair is better than mine.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hahaha! I felt privileged because I got in before anyone else in my family. My friend owns a salon. πŸ˜‰ Now my husband has also gone but my poor boys are looking a little shaggy! I waited too long to book them in; they have to wait almost 2 more weeks. There’s a backlog of appointments but the salons can only take a few people at a time due to physical distancing.

      Thank you for your kind words and I hope things will be able to open up where you are soon!

      Like

  3. This post!!! πŸ‘ŒπŸ»πŸ‘ŒπŸ»

    I love your hair cut! But I totally know what you mean. I’ve also cropped my hair in hopes of looking youthful and ended up aging myself 10 years πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚ The struggle is REAL 😩 But now, at the age of 32, I think I have finally accepted the fact that I am not a model, and I actually am happy about that. I feel beautiful and my family loves me for me. I wish I would’ve been able to say that at 20, but it took a long time for me to accept myself as I am.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Lisa, I love your haircut and the face it frames! You are perfectly beautiful and so is this blog post! In our crazy culture – it is a struggle to really see ourselves and not only embrace what we see but love it. Everyday, we are sold lies from a twisted and perverse society who would rather embrace the phony than love what’s really real. It is hard sometimes to remember that WE ARE ENOUGH exactly the way we are. Our worth cannot be tied to anything subject to change – including our physical appearance. Only the love of our Father can make us whole.

    I love and admire your honesty and transparency. I’ve shared your post on social media and hope many ladies will come & read your words. I believe you will help many women, including myself, to remember WHO and WHOSE we are. There’s *nothing* wrong with the way you look and I am thankful that Abba is helping you be more at peace within yourself. We all need that!

    P.S. Love those glasses on you too!

    Sending all my love and deepest gratitude for your heartfelt and touching post. Love it and love you, sis! β™₯

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Loved your writing SO much! There’s so much honest truth to what you shared, but I love how you incorporated the humor as well. πŸ™‚
    Also, I know you didn’t post a pic just for a compliment, but you look beautiful! πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

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