When I look in the mirror these days I feel weathered. Not old, I get too many things done and carry far too many boxes of books to feel old. But the mirror was not showing me things I wanted to see. I kept noticing wrinkles, and other signs of aging. I’ve always been one who believed that wrinkles add character and create beauty. I’ve always intended to be a person who doesn’t mind them, and treats them as badges of a life well lived. And I have been that person, except lately, when I feel weathered.
On some level, I knew that my negative observations about my appearance were not because my appearance changed dramatically. I don’t look visibly different than I did three months ago. The difference is psychological, not physical. I feel grubby, boring, unattractive. This is the quite understandable result of being task focused for several months. My primary focus for personal grooming was to ready myself for the job ahead of me. I had no time to spare for more than the minimum of getting dressed and keeping my long hair out of my face. This past week I had time to pay attention again, and this is when I noticed how I was feeling about myself.
For some people fashion is a business or an industry. Some people consider it a social imperative. For me, fashion is a folk art. It is something I do because it gives me pleasure. I knew I needed to make an effort to put it back. What I was not sure of was how to go about that. I decided against going shopping for clothing. I’m feeling very cautious about spending money until after we see how well things sell at our GenCon booth. I seriously considered cutting my hair short. There are things I miss about having short hair. I played with the idea of coloring my hair as well. But a good cut and color are not at all cheap. And I did not want to have to explain over and over again why I had cut my hair. The point of the hair cut would be to infuse me with energy, which gets sapped by having to deal with other peoples reactions to the absence of long hair. (Side note: If you have long hair and cut it short, everyone wants to know why. Then they want to lament for the long hair that is now gone.) Add to that the knowledge that most women make drastic changes to their hair when something else in their life is askew. I knew this was exactly why I was considering a drastic change. I also knew that I was on the way back to being balanced, so I waited to see if the mood to cut would go away.
For me the point of long hair is the beautiful styles that can be created with it. If all I am going to do is throw it into a braid to keep it out of my way, I might as well cut it off. Then Last night I googled historical hairstyles on the internet. Once again my head is full of possibilities and many of them do not take much time at all. This morning I took a few extra minutes to put my hair up. I even stuck a flower in it. It is not much. I still don’t like everything I see when I look in the mirror, but I like it better than I did yesterday. I see the improvement in my face as well as in my hair, which makes clear to me that the faults I am seeing are as much inside my head as they are outside it. This is why I try not to listen to the voice which enumerates my physical faults. That voice has motives that I should not trust, no matter how loud the voice may be right now. Easier said than done, but I can get better at anything if I’m willing to practice.
As a side note, I’m extremely grateful to have time for folk art again.