At a certain moment in time this year, I made a decision. Although this was a pivotal moment I can’t even pinpoint exactly when it happened. Isn’t that the funniest thing about big decisions, sometimes they aren’t always big moments. I made a decision to care a whole lot less about the way I looked to everyone else. We live in this crazy world where we structure our lives to appear perfect and “together”, when actually, life doesn’t really look like that. Life is messy.
Oh sure, I am no where near as far along in this journey that I would like to be. One cannot simply just stop caring about what others think. That is most definitely a process and probably a long one but it’s a process that starts with a decision.
I made a decision to stop doing my hair.
At least, I decided it wasn’t necessary to do my hair everyday. Maybe this doesn’t seem like anything to you, but it was a big deal for me. I’ve got a very “done” look when it comes to hair and I never used to go anywhere without first washing, blow drying and then straightening my do. I took pride in it, thrived off compliments and was pretty stoked when people would ask for recommendations on which products to buy or where I got my hair done. It was my ‘thing’. If all else was failing that day, makeup, outfit, personality – at least I could count on my hair! It’s funny how quickly my little ‘thing’ turned into a big problem. Somehow, in the crazy part of my brain.. I developed this odd little complex, that if my hair wasn’t “good”.. no one would like me. I felt the pressure to succumb to comments like ‘Steff, your hair never looks bad’.
It was actually really hard to give it up, to just do my fringe and leave the rest to do its thing. My close friends seemed to understand what was going on and always complimented me more when I hadn’t done my hair. I saved time in the morning and tried to convince myself that I just didn’t really care what my hair looked like anymore. Eventually, it sort of worked.
What’s funny is – people like my hair this way. It would sort of curl in weird ways and there were parts that just didn’t look great. It was natural and it wasn’t perfect – yet somehow I still received compliments and I still had friends. Who knew?
Does this sound at all like you? Now more than ever aren’t we so concerned with perfection? Homemade meals now need to resemble Masterchef creations. #summerbody campaigns encouraging a faultless image. Instagrams staged to create an illusion of ‘indie/chic/hipster/coolness’. We’re changing our outfits and buying more clothes than we can afford so we aren’t seen in the same outfit twice. How many likes we think we’ll get determines everything and it’s all getting a little out of control.
I always get caught up on this lyric from Sara Bareilles’s song ‘the light’ in which she sings ‘Such a beautiful mess, intertwined and overrun’. I always wondered how ‘messy’ could be construed as beautiful. That never made much sense to me until now.
There is something beautiful in allowing your vulnerabilities, the things you wish to hide from the world, to be seen. Allowing those perceived faults or even legitimate faults to be visible says that being liked by others isn’t your highest priority. I found I had a crazy love for people who said in spoken or unspoken ways ‘You are safe with me’. ‘I like you just the way you are. My affections are not altered because of trivial superficial things. In fact, my affections are not altered at all because to accept the good in you, I also accept the mistakes’.
By trying to claim perfection am I not actually discrediting all that work that was done on the cross? If I am perfect then I have no need for help, or grace, or a saviour.
I am so, so far from perfect and so I wonder why I always feel the need to project an image of that which I’m not. I must give up the need I have to be perfect.
And so I stop doing my hair. I stop caring what other people think. I stop trying to make my life appear ‘perfect. I start trying to love better instead of trying to be better in order to be loved. I let people see the best side of me but also the worst because in actual fact, being completely yourself means a crazy beautiful mess of both, the best and the worst.
Better a diamond with a flaw than a pebble without. (Confucius)