I’ve been toying with the idea of cutting my hair off for awhile. I wrote in another post about the story of my hair–how I’ve always had it short and then I decided one day to grow it out because I was sick of it and I didn’t want to think about it anymore. It’s now the longest I’ve had it in years, but whenever my hair is this long, I rarely last more than a year before I get antsy and need some kind of change.
What I’m trying to figure out is why I feel like I need a change right now. Women’s identity is often tied up in their hair and oftentimes we make rash decisions to change it based on something that is happening in our lives. Life has been changing for me lately and the changes have been stressful–my husband is moving to second shift at work and will be signing up for classes in the mornings, which means long days with the kids for me; our van decided to start stalling while driving and so it’s currently in the shop, but it’s fixable, so that’s good news; and because of the van, our emergency fund is now depleted. I know that the purpose of an emergency fund is to cover emergencies and avoid going further into debt but it’s really hard to feel like we’re ever going to get ahead when these things keep happening.
My husband listens to the Dave Ramsey podcast and he says he gets irritated when people call in saying they paid off $100,000 of debt in less than a year…usually because one of them went back to work and the other one got a super awesome promotion making six figures and so of course it was really easy for them to pay everything off. He says that when we are finally debt free, he is going to call in and say, “Woohoo, we’re debt free, but it took FOR-FUCKING-EVER!!!” Because that’s how long it takes for a lot of people!
In any case, I’ve been stressing over our finances…worried that there isn’t going to be enough, that a car is going to die and I’m going to be stuck at home with the kids during these long days, wondering if I made a mistake quitting my part-time library job…that we’re never going to be financially independent and I will never get to do the things that I stupidly did not do when I was young–like backpack in wild places, travel to Europe, India, and Thailand, road trip across Route 66 and down Highway 101, retire in a small town on Lake Superior and write for the rest of my days.
So yeah. What does this have to do with hair?
Like so many other women, I tend to cut my hair when my life is in crisis…when I feel like things are spiraling out of my control, so I reach for the one thing I know I have some say over. Especially when I see pictures of cute, seemingly carefree women with pixies on Instagram (I set up my account again…no Facebook AND no Instagram was too Luddite for me)…then I think, I want to feel that way again–the way I felt before I was married and had three kids and a mortgage and a stupid loan that I regret with every fiber of my being (the loan and mortgage, I don’t regret the first two). So I cut my hair and then I am left with my life being exactly the same way it was before. Except now I have short hair and a monthly maintenance bill…which doesn’t really help the whole financial independence thing. I’ve yet to see a frugal blog with a short-haired protagonist.
While I’m trying not to fall back into old patterns, I was contemplating this move before all of this happened. I like my long hair, it’s easy and cheap to maintain but I thought I would do more with it. I’m not much of hair girl…I don’t like fussing with my hair beyond an occasional blow dry and flat iron (and it better not take longer than a few minutes). So what usually happens is that my hair ends up in a ponytail or a bun and that’s the extent of the so-called “variety” that I expected from long hair. I could make more effort, but I stay home with three kids…one of whom is a messy toddler and it seems sort of ridiculous to put a lot of work into a hairstyle that is overkill for a day at the zoo. I’ve never been that dressy mom on the playground because I’ve never been a dressy person. The closest I’ve ever come to being put together every day is when I had a pixie because it took five minutes to fix my hair. Long story short–I am a simple maintenance person. I’m not fancy, I prefer comfort over fashion, and while I would never wear socks with sandals, I’ve committed many fashion faux paus in the name of comfort…to my trendy sister’s everlasting horror (she hates my Keenes…I can’t live without them). A pixie fit my style because it allowed me to look fashionable without investing a lot of time. Long hair also fits my style because it’s easy, but I feel like I’m starting to fall into the “mom” trap of just looking like “blah” all the time. Invisible. That’s how I feel. Invisible.
I don’t really know what I’m going to do and the odds are very likely that I will do nothing. I’m just thinking out loud about things that are silly and it’s my blog so I get to do that. So if you came here looking for deep exploration of minimalism, frugality, beauty…that’s not happening today.
How do you handle stress and change in your life?