Waaaybackwhen, in late summer, before the school year even started, I had a blog mini-series called The Killing of the Beast, dedicated to my journey towards chopping off the foot of thick massive hair I’ve toted around with me for all my life.
I hated it.
On a good day, my appearance was satisfactory to me–on a bad day I absolutely loathed it. This sounds extremely vain to admit, but there you are. In short (hah), there was a lot of it, there was a lot of frizz and flyaways and there was very little motivation to do fancy girlish things with it. And so it stayed down. Every day.
I’d taken to calling it “The Beast” because of its abhorrent and untameable nature, and joked around with my friends about it. “I’m wearing a hat because The Beast wasn’t cooperating today,” or “You know, sometimes I think I might be almost pretty were it not for The Beast.” We all laughed about it; in truth, all through last year I suffered through seriously low self-esteem (not just because of my hair, but that was certainly a contributing factor) and developed disordered eating habits, compulsive exercising habits, and did a lot of hiding behind hats and headscarves. I feel sick to my stomach writing about this; I’m aware these are really new world teen girl problems, but I do think they’re serious problems nonetheless. If something had enough power to degrade my confidence in every aspect of my life and make a whole year a hell of hiding behind a mask, it’s by my definition a serious problem.
I recovered. Obviously there was a much longer backstory involved, but to avoid making this post too long I’ll just say I did a lot of thinking and healthy exercising and eating, and eventually came to a place where I’m okay with myself. Not narcissistic by any means, but friends with myself. I accept my faults and forgive myself if I screw something up, much the same way I would with my best friends. It was a long, excruciating process, but I like to think I’m back now.
Ever since that process began, I’d toyed with the idea of chopping off The Beast–the great majority of it. It wasn’t just a haircut for me, but something very symbolic. I was quite literally cutting that toxic era out of my life and welcoming in the new Girl in the Orange, someone who wouldn’t be ashamed of herself and wouldn’t be afraid to know herself.
At the end of the summer, I went out on a limb…and just did it. (Allow me to add: BAAH THAT PICTURE DOES NOT LOOK LIKE ME; MY FACE SHAPE HAS CHANGED SO MUCH IN THE PAST SEVEN MONTHS.) I remember the night exactly–I’d made beef-less stroganoff because beef stroganoff had been my favorite meal as an omnivorous wee young sprite, and I served it over egg noodles, but we were running late to the hair stylist’s so I couldn’t eat it until after the appointment, which ended up being about 7 o’ clock, which is usually SO LATE of a dining time for me. (It takes A LOTTA TIME to whack that much of a girl’s hair off.) But adrenaline and endorphins kept me running throughout the appointment and I probably could have gone to bed without supper…which would have been a big first. 🙂 As it was, I didn’t eat right upon getting home–I zoomed into the bathroom and promptly snapped about a bajillion pictures of myself, something I’d NEVER done before–and, yes, most of them turned out dorky, but I was so happy feeling like a normal girl and feeling pretty and taking pictures of myself.
I felt pretty.
Girls aren’t supposed to admit this because it sounds shallow or something, but feeling pretty is important to us, mmmkay? Maybe it’s shallow and vain or whatever, but I don’t really care. Personally, I am a firm believer that a gal can be empathetic AND passionate AND intelligent AND a great person WHILE STILL caring about her appearance and wanting to feel beautiful. Some biological instinct, some characteristic of estrogen, who knows…it’s important to us, so it better be important to everyone else. Whether it’s getting a haircut, wearing a favorite color, wearing heels or makeup or jewelry–I’m a big supporter in anything that helps a girl feel more beautiful and confident and more like herself–and that’s exactly what this haircut did for me.
More than anything, killing the beast gave me confidence. This is the kicker, people. More than anything else–shiny hair or fancy dresses or a nice figure or sparkling eyes–the thing that makes a girl seem beautiful is confidence. No one is attracted to a girl who believes she’s worth less than someone else or doesn’t respect herself. Don’t get me wrong, you don’t have to go full-out diva–you can still be kind to others, considerate, and responsible while treating yourself like the prize you are! Making the conscious decision to realize you have EVERY RIGHT TO BE ON THIS EARTH and are worth just as much as any other girl, any other person on this planet, will transform your life.
Not only did my life take a positive U-turn with the Beast’s death, I participate in life more now–I suspect it’s a combination of a new self-image and starting this positive creative outlet of a blog, but I now feel like I deserve respect and am less likely to waste my time with people who won’t give me that. Additionally, I feel way more confident jumping into activities or passions that I would definitely have been too scared to try previously, thinking that people would judge or belittle me (*coughcough* food blog *coughcough*) or that I would judge or belittle myself. (I was really good at doing that.) Getting my hair cut off, starting this blog, making a conscious decision to get my life back on track and gain killer confidence with it–that’s when The Girl in the Orange was born.
On that note, I want to thank all TGITO followers who have supported me through this journey through your simple presence and your feedback! This sounds like a farewell–I promise, I won’t be leaving the blogosphere anytime soon 🙂 so don’t worry; this post has just got me feeling sentimental. I love and appreciate you guys so, so much. Thanks for reading my ramblings and putting up with me. 😀 (*snifflesniffle*)
Now whenever I see a girl who’s so obviously hiding behind her hair, I just want to reach out and chop it all off and tell her she’s beautiful!–too bad that, I assume, such an act would not be met with positive reception. 😉 Ah, propriety schmopriety.