Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Glory Be

It all started when my friend who cuts my hair had the nerve to birth a baby.

She willfully made herself unavailable to oversee the maintenance of my hair.

(ok, so it's not her fault...in fact, she comes back at the end of this story and redeems the entire situation...)

For most of the spring, I have been growing my hair out. Despite the less-than-pleasing Sunday morning results, the effortless weekday ponytails were a time-saving treat. But my brother is graduating with his PhD this weekend, and I felt I should honor his accomplishment with a bit of a trim. (it's all about me, really:)

Saturday, I was able to secure an appointment at a reputable salon, where I have enjoyed occasional beauty treatments over the years. I told the "stylist" that I needed a "trim", that I don't style my hair everyday, and that being able to put my hair in a ponytail was "really important" to me. We agreed I just needed a bit of a "re-shaping".

She was sweet, and kind, and talkative . Her own hair was quite cute and her general appearance was a lovely blend of tidy and trendy. However, we apparently had a MAJOR break-down in communication.

From my front-facing vantage in the pump-it-up swivel chair, things went well. My bangs were good - not a lot of change. My sides seemed to lack sufficient layers , but, you can't judge until you have a chance to style it yourself. I never really saw the back.

Until it was too late.

There are few scenarios in life that render me speechless - incapable of sharing my honest opinion. Off the top of my head, (no pun intended) here are three: when a mom just giggles at her tantrum-throwing toddler; when someone smokes their cigarette near my lunch plate; and when the stylist hands me a mirror, reveals my fresh new mullet, and says, "What do you think?"

Gulp. "Oh, yes. It IS much shorter."

She happily agreed, "I took a lot of the weight off!"

Had she been referring to my belly or arms, and not the crown of my head, we'd be best friends today!

I paid her. Oh dear myrtle, I paid for this.

We parted ways and I assumed that whatever I had just seen in the double reflection was a grave styling error, or a difference in products, or the result of excessive teasing with hairspray. I pacified my anxiety with a big clip and the hope of a prompt shampoo.

After several more inspections at home, I began to come to grips with the harsh reality that I possessed three or four separate and painfully distinct hair-cuts: my crown has cut very similarly to my mom's...just a couple inches long, the bottom layer of the back lay resting at my shoulder blades, the sides along my face were all one length cropped just above my shoulders, and my bangs survived as a remnant of the spring - reminiscent all things reasonable.

A not-so-excellent adventure: Bill or Ted, you pick.

Bon Jovi?

No. Do you remember Elly May from the Beverly Hillbillies? Filmed in the 60's she had a bouffant on top, but she still managed to tie a long, curly ponytail behind each ear. Yeppy-doodles. Pinned the tail on the critter!

In total, somewhat uncharacteristic vanity and emotion, I literally cried myself to sleep that night. As I showered the next morning, I prayed for a miracle. I tiny little miracle for restoration. Nope. Just the opportunity to blow dry four separate lengths of hair...and then stick it back in a clip.

Those side dog-ear things were grace. Not kidding. They allowed me to pull all my hair up from the sides and back and twist it into a clip, cleverly disguising the crown of bed-head sprigs throughout two worship services and a choir meeting.

Monday morning, I texted my postpartum pal. I told her of my plight. She felt my pain and agreed to meet me that afternoon to "look at it". From my description, she could not make any promises concerning a solution.

She mercifully diminished her grin as I walked in the door. She brushed; I whined. She comforted; I laughed. I described; she laughed. While the giggles subsided, the verdict was reached.

As I had assumed, the only means of restitution was a "greater sacrifice" of hair. She had to crop and chop until the back made more contextual sense. She layered the sides and blended my bangs into the new do.

She was the miracle I prayed for. Sweet friend.

The kids LOVE the new summer crop. Philip is not a fan. He can say it's cute, but we all know the truth. He stated the obligatory: "I'd think you were beautiful no matter what." psh.

Now. The previous [ridiculous] paragraphs are filled with earthly perspective and discontent. It was real. The earthy discontent. The ridiculousness.

I think of all the women who did not have to struggle with extremely bad hair this weekend. Not just the cute girls who seem to sport perfectly sleek coifs at all times. But my friends and sisters who don't have to worry about bad hair, because they have no hair. Chemicals and disease wage war within their blood stream and cute hair has been the first of many casualties.

Moreover, this sequence of events causes me to consider the journey toward inner beauty. Sometimes, through negligence or maltreatment, horrible missteps are taken. It is a possibility to just to hide it, ignore it, wait it out, and deal with it later.

A better, less comfortable, more presentable option might be to "reshape" some MORE. Let Someone with a truthful eye and skillful, merciful hands cut and sculpt and shape and shave.

Though you never wished for this particular outcome, in light of recent mistakes, the redeemed version is quite preferable - more livable in the long run.

God, forgive my vanity. Forgive my covetousness and ungratefulness. Thank You, for friends and family who love me and look at me through Your loving mercy. Thank You for miracles of every kind. You are wonderful!

"There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed...What I tell you in the dark, speak in the daylight; what is whispered in your ear, proclaim from the roofs...are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows." Jesus, in Matthew 10:26-31