I’m not used to talking about this in mixed company, much less in public; but desperate times call for desperate measures, so I’ll just pretend I’m sputtering to my spouse and see what comes out. It’s embarrassing to admit that one of the great traumas of my life at the moment is my hair. But it’s true. My hair is driving me crazy!
One of the hardest parts of any move is finding a new stylist. Since you may be about to remind me that it’s been over a year since I started on this venture, I’ll rush on to say that I thought I had landed somewhere. After a few disappointing attempts, I started seeing Susan regularly. As with each new possibility, I explained that I like it feathered back and simple to style. I don’t use gunk on it, and am happiest when I can do my thing fresh out of the shower and forget about it for the day. The first round went pretty well, and I went back 6 weeks later with one minor complaint about the unruly section behind my left ear that refused to play by my rules. One cut led to another and I’m now long, full, shaggy, and waiting bravely for tomorrow’s appointment with Laurie.
Don’t get me wrong: I have no one to blame but myself. Every time I have set down in anyone’s chair, I’ve been asked what I want. And with each cut, I’ve become less articulate and more indecisive. I think it’s fair to say that for more than 35 years my style has been variations on a theme; the theme has mostly varied with the stylist. It’s been slim and trim, even when I wasn’t. I went to one stylist for more than 12 years, and each time I visited, she began by asking, what are we doing today? Every time my answer was, same thing as always. I began to have some sense that maybe she was hoping I’d dare venture out, but that’s not what I do with my hair. This time, in an attempt to deal with that quirky little corner, we decided to let the back grow out. Much to my horror, not only did I grow longer hair, but I sprouted curls – of all things! It’s true that there is a strand of my family blessed with curls (or maybe not blessed – I have one niece who would seriously challenge the use of that word), but that has never been me. Apparently it is now, At least I currently have an unruly mess following me around, annoying the daylights out of me. I know that tomorrow Laurie is going to ask me what we’re doing, and I honestly don’t know what I’ll say. To change or not to change? I can’t rewrite the fact that my hair now likes to curl, but I can have her cut them off. Unthinkable as the thought is, I suppose I could try to make friends with them. I could try to get back to the way things used to be, but I find myself wondering if new times, new hair call for a new look. But if so, what?
Here’s what I really need to confess: I don’t appear to be the universal proponent of change that I like to think I am. For years, I was the one in the church who prodded people to accept the fact that we no longer live in the 50’s, in terms of language, images of God, programming, admission standards or dress. My credentials slip a bit when it comes to church music: while I love world music and rocking rhythms, new tunes as well as new words to old tunes, the musician in me loves those 16th century chorales way too much to throw them out. I lose all credibility as a change agent when Ben shows me his newest finding in the world of technology, and describes the benefits it offers. And I have to work really hard when he wonders about rearranging the living room furniture; I honestly do try not respond with, what’s wrong with the way it is? Change may not be a 4-letter word, but I’m disappointed to accept how cautious I can be. I refuse to use the word “conservative”, but maybe I could. I guess it’s time to admit that I can be as much of a stick in the mud as any other old fart, just selective about the arenas of my obstinance.
Not everything needs to change, and a lot of the time, I get to figure out what works for me. But I also don’t want to spend my life looking back, longing for what used to be. At some point, I need to decide what to say when Laurie asks me what to do with my hair. If I can’t risk a little variety with something that is as changeable as the stuff on my head, I have to wonder what sorts of new discoveries and real adventures I might also be missing out on.