Whatever Wednesday: A bit of exposure therapy

Me, as a Fradoodle

In elementary school, I had ridiculously long hair. After I whacked a bunch of it off in the first grade, my mom chopped the rest of it off. And then she permed it. I looked like a fradoodle. (Frazzled Poodle) That right there is the best photo I can find of my fradoodled do. I apologize for the graininess. It is not intentional.

It eventually grew out. I would waver back and forth between long and short hair for the better part of my life.

When I gave birth to my second daughter, I had long hair. Halfway down my back and Pantene commercial silky. Yes, I had THAT head of hair.

In college, I once had someone reach out and yank pretty hard on my hair as I waited in line at a McDonald’s. Yanno, to make sure it was real and not a weave or wig. And yes, I beat the ever loving crap out of informed her it was real and asked her to keep her friggin hands off please not do that again.

The evening I gave birth to our second daughter, I woke up around 10pm to use the restroom. Before I went back to bed (in the middle of the night at the hospital by myself after 42 hours of labor) I brushed and brushed my hair for 10 minutes. It was the first of many obsessive behaviors to come. It would not be the last time I would brush my hair for no reason at all.

A few months after my daughter was born, I cut my hair off. Why? To keep myself from brushing it so obsessively.

Flash forward to now.

My hair is long again. Not quite as long, but it’s below my shoulders these days. It’s thick, shiny, and silky. Totally enviable again. To be honest, the growth kind of snuck up on me as  I lived life. Sure, I knew it was getting longer but I had no grand plans as for the general direction of my hair and what I wanted it to look like.

A couple of months ago I began to feel some anxiety about my hair. I wanted to brush it. I wanted to brush it a lot. Every time I did brush it, I flashed back. I could see the old me, the hollow, lifeless eyes in the mirror pleading with the vibrant woman inside to come out. But alas she did not. These days, it’s the opposite. The vibrant woman is pleading with the lifeless woman to never come back again.

I didn’t cut my hair.

I decided to let it be. To finally face one of the demons from my past, if you will. I dared myself to brush it and walk away. To be okay if that lifeless woman popped by for a visit because I knew it was just that – a visit. No one can be 100% all the time, after all. It’s OKAY to collapse. It’s OKAY to have hollow eyes every so often. It’s okay.

So here I am. A month after making the decision to not cut my hair. It’s a little longer. It’s still silky, thick, shiny, and I can’t do a damned thing with it because it’s so heavy and silky. (Please don’t hate me)

But it’s HERE. And you know what? I’m okay with that. And seeing a hair brush no longer gives me the heebie-jeebies.

THAT is a huge thing for me. Huge.

I heart my long hair.

Below is a slideshow of my elementary hair and my hair now for those who commented and wanted to see photos:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


9 thoughts on “Whatever Wednesday: A bit of exposure therapy

  1. Pingback: Reanimating my past | My Postpartum Voice

  2. You are stunning my dear! I just want to run my fingers in your hair…creepy sorry.
    I had a flash back the other day while taking my son on a walk to the park. While it was very unsettling I felt a sense of accomplishment that I could see how far I’ve come.
    PS. Do you use Pantene?

    • Yes, I DO use Pantene right now because it is what was on sale when I last needed shampoo. (I Love Target!) The current photos were taken yesterday after having washed and dried my hair because well, like all good stay at home moms, I only get a shower every few days and it desperately needed a washing. I can’t even get this slippery stuff to stay up in a claw or bobby pins. I have to use a ponytail holder or a metal clasp to keep it out of my face. Somewhat annoying but eh… better than the permed mullet I sported when I was eight!

  3. and pictures of your hair now. (I’ll *TRY* not to hate you for your Pantene-commercial silky hair.) :p At least post one on FB. Pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeease. Make me jealous for a minute.

  4. I can totally relate to the lifeless woman that stares back at you in the mirror. I dont have children (yet) it I feel your pain. And your right, it will be ok. I keep reminding myself of that.
    Great post. Thank you for sharing!

    • I’m so glad you commented.

      It’s hard to remember it’s going to be okay even when things aren’t going your way. Sometimes we have to walk through the prickliest part of the briar patch to get to the sweetest berries. While the walk itself sucks, the berries are SO worth the nicks and scrapes – and they’re much sweeter because of it! May your walk through life be rewarding no matter where it takes you.

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