Imagine golden, fairly full ringlets cascading down the mid-back… That was my hair about 6 months ago. I moved to Nashville last August and my hair was kickin. I had been growing it out for 2 years, taking loads of Biotin, and something was working because it was looking better than it had looked in ages.
Feeling totally content with it, I went to a local salon simply to get it re-highlighted and trimmed. I walked away with still long, but very dark auburn hair. I was beyond outraged. What had some imbecile done to my hair?! I went back to get it fixed, and came out with it only darker, redder, and nearly maroon. It seemed like the one solution was to hide myself in a closet for the next 6 months. And thus began a newfound fixation with this mop on my head.
Everyday I stared in the mirror, analyzing what to do: should I lighten it, darken it, cut it, straighten it? My poor roommates heard me incessantly jabber about how I could best beautify myself.
Finally, almost despairingly, I decided to cut it. Chop it, rather. I went and had it cut to my shoulders. Yet still unsatisfied (and at this point exasperated) I took the scissors and thought I’d make a few tweaks myself. A few clips here, a few snips there. But once I started, I could. Not. Stop. An hour later I stood there, with bunches of hair off my head, lying in the bathroom sink.
“What is wrong with me?” I thought. “This is not normal behavior!” What was so wrong with my hair in the first place again? Clearly this unrest was about something much deeper.
We women want so badly to be beautiful—and for our beauty to be enough. And many times that “not enough” can get projected onto one or multiple specific things…I hate my nose, I hate my arms, I hate my body, I hate my hair.
I continue to hear: “Your hair looks precious! You can wear your hair long or short! But you are so beautiful!” Yet since this escapade has occurred with my hair during this dry Lenten season, I have thought to myself: “What if I’m not? What if I don’t look the way I want to look? What if I don’t have the hair I want to have? Why is that so terrible?”
The problem does not lie within the ability to have the hair or face or body of our dreams….The problem is that it matters so much. Even if I looked exactly as I wanted to look, my outer beauty (as well as the rest of the world’s) is fading every day. And sooner or later this idol of perfectionism is going to have to die.
Lent is a time of purification. A time when we can let go, and die to make space for the crucified One to save us from that which crucifies us. I know there are many idols I hold on to, to tell me who I am, to give me my sense of worth. And sometimes I guess God’s mercy comes in the form of scissors. To cut off and cut out the ropes and chains (and yes, even the hair) that keep us from the fullness of freedom and life He so longs to give us.
Copyright 2015 Kara Klein.
Photo: via Morguefile.