Friday, February 11, 2011
Red Writing Hood: Then the World Shifted
Neither Hair Nor There
I could never have imagined how much it would change me.
It was the stuff of fantasy novels. Not quite curly, not quite straight, and so full of volume I never needed hairspray.The cascade of fiery red locks that fell in waves over my shoulders and down my back drew compliments left and right:
“Oh, it’s such a gorgeous color!” they’d moon.
“Is it natural?” they’d say disbelievingly.
“I wish I had hair that thick and healthy,” they’d pine.
Through the sticky hot Texas summers I bore the weight of that cursed blessing, wearing it piled in a knot atop my head, the massive mop too thick and heavy to do anything else with in the torrid heat. I’d complain and threaten to cut it, always to be badgered by my friends and family: “But it’s so pretty! Why would you want to cut it off?” You can have it! I wanted to scream at them. I’m tired of the ponytail, tired of the nicknames, tired of feeling so plain!
But I couldn’t bring myself to step out of my safe little box.I could never look good with short hair, I told myself.I didn’t have the bone structure, and it would just look awful.My insecurities waged war with my inner hot mama and won every time I thought I might try something different.I fooled myself into believing that the compliments were enough and that it didn’t matter what I thought.
And then came the summer that everything changed.My marriage fell apart and my life went to hell in a hand basket.I lost almost 20 pounds, started seeing a therapist, and had some of my worst mommy moments ever.The woman staring back at me in the mirror was no longer scared and insecure.She was hungry and the look in her eyes told me she meant business.
Suddenly, I didn’t give a rat’s ass what my insecurities said anymore.I didn’t care what people thought.I’d allowed their words and thinly veiled threats to take root in my soul and shred any sense of confidence I possessed. So what if it looked stupid? So what if it looked awful? I didn’t care. It’s just hair, I told myself. Woman up!
I crawled out of the little black hole of despair I’d called reality and started combing Google and gossip websites for inspirations, ripped pictures out of fashion mags at the doctor’s office, and repeated my mantra in the mirror every day: “It’s just hair. It’ll grow back."
I sat in front of the salon mirror, watching as the hairdresser behind me finished picking at individual pieces of the side swept pixie cut he’d razored into those thick red tresses. The remnants of what had been lay on the floor, mixing in with the brown and blonde of previous clientele.
“Well?” he asked.
I stared back at the woman in the mirror and nearly burst into tears.
She was gorgeous. She was sexy. And she was me.
“I love it,” I said with a vehemence that startled everyone around me except the hairdresser. He grinned.
I sauntered out of the salon and the whole world shifted.
Total Word Count: 522
This post was written in response to this week's prompt by the Red Dress Club. The prompt asked to write a piece that begins with the line, "I could never have imagined" and end with the line, "Then the whole world shifted" with a max word count of 600. I welcome and appreciate any and all feedback!