My hairstyle as a metaphor for my life

So, my hair. I’ve had an interesting relationship with it. Mostly, we’ve gotten along and it’s a strong friendship formed over these many years. But, like with any relationship, there are things I don’t like about the other party. I wish my hair was thicker and either curly or straight, not this weird in-between place it likes to call home. When it’s hot and humid out, I get little curly cues at my temples – not the cute kind you see on toddlers, but the frizzy why-won’t-you-just-lay-flat kind. Like most things in life, I wish I could control it. But alas, my hair is its own person and I have to accept her for who she is.

Its only been in recent years that I’ve been diligent about keeping my hair cut and styled on a regular basis. My usual pattern is to cut it short, then let it grow long….then get tired of it and cut it off again…then get tired of short hair…and the cycle continues. I only went to the hair dresser every six months or so, when I absolutely couldn’t stand it’s scraggly state any more. My hair has been in a short bob for a few years now and I started going to the stylist regularly in Colorado. My friend cut my hair and I realized that it worked for me to make appointments before I left. I needed structure. Plus, with short hair, you have to keep it more maintained than when its long. So I started getting my hair cut every six weeks and it looked pretty cute, if I do say so myself.

This year I’ve decided I’m tired of the short hair and I’m ready to go long again. The problem is, my hair naturally looks good short and, in all honesty, its not in top form when it falls past my shoulders. Oh, it’s fine, but it lays kind of flat and doesn’t get a lot of attention. But I love the convenience of long hair! I can throw it up in a ponytail whenever I want and it just doesn’t take much work in the morning. I’m all for low-maintenance.

I’ve been kind of excited about growing it out, but if you’ve ever done this, you know that it is a painstaking process. I went to the hair dresser a couple of months ago and had her cut the split ends and make it all healthy – to ensure an optimum growth environment. I had another appointment yesterday and before I went, I thought it was a little unnecessary because my hair was doing fine. A trim would have spruced it up, but it wasn’t vital. I went to the appointment and sighed with pleasure as Robin shampooed my hair and massaged my head. Side note: is there anything better than having someone wash your hair?! Heaven. Anyway, she washed, she cut, we talked. As she was finishing up, she mentioned something about keeping it at this length, is this how I wanted it, yada yada yada. And I thought, oh no, we are not on the same page. She obviously didn’t realize that when I said I wanted to “grow it out,” I meant until it fell past my shoulders. I got frustrated because I didn’t know how to tell her that I no, I didn’t want it in a bob anymore and yes, I do want it to be long. I even told my sister one time, “I don’t care if it looks good short, I want it long!” But I didn’t know how to tell Robin because, after all, she’s the expert. She knows how my hair would look best and I didn’t want to hear her to say that it actually isn’t a good idea for me to have long hair.

Right now, I can’t believe I’ve written this much about my hair. But stick with me, I’m going somewhere…

As I left Robin’s house yesterday with an adorable haircut and a scowl on my face, I realized that my approach to my hair is how I approach life. It is interesting to me that my big issues in life manifest themselves in small ways. No area of my life is free from my personality. This issue with how I want my hair is the same way I feel about my career. When I was a teacher, people told me how good I was at it, but I brushed them off and said that I didn’t care because what I really wanted to do was Young Life. When someone says my hair looks good short, I think they better not get too attached because I like it long. I get this idea in my head of what I want and nothing else will do. If I want long hair, by golly, I’ll grow it out. If I want to go on Young Life staff, I’m gonna try my darndest to make that happen. I completely shut out the opinions and wisdom of others to pursue the thing I want. This has happened in my relationships too. In the past, I didn’t listen when people said, “Don’t date him,” because I wanted to. So I did. Apparently nothing can get in the way of me getting what I want.

I would like to think that it’s endearing to be stubborn. You know how sometimes people refer to a person’s stubbornness with a chuckle and playful punch in the arm? They say things like, “Oh that Kate, she just always has to learn the hard way.” I think deep down they’re frustrated and just laughing it off. As far as I know, stubbornness isn’t a fruit of the Spirit. It’s not one of those things Jesus encourages us to have. In fact, I think we’re meant to be the opposite – to heed wise counsel and die to ourselves. We are meant to put aside what we want sometimes because our flesh usually doesn’t want the right thing. So I started thinking through this yesterday and thought about what would happen if I *gasp* listened to the people in my life and took their advice. Now, the hair thing is trivial and whether or not I wear it short or long isn’t going to affect the state of the world. But I want to listen to people’s advice in other area’s of my life. I want to take a step back and think, “Hm, why is it that I don’t want to teach? Is it my stubbornness or a nudging from God to try something else?” When the people in our lives help reveal to us who we are, we would be wise to listen.

I haven’t decided what to do about my hair. I didn’t make another appointment with Robin because I figured we didn’t have the same vision. I thought I’d just grow it out on my own and not go back until sometime in early December. But I’m not so sure now. Maybe if I learn how to take the advice of others in something small, it might be a little easier when something big comes along. I want to hear God’s voice even in the mundane and hear Him call me to something better through the voices of my loved ones. I don’t want to keep making the same mistakes over and over and just settling on the lie that “I just have to figure things out for myself.” What if I listened to my close friends and family when they cautioned me, even if I didn’t agree with them at the time? I’ve done the opposite enough to know that I usually end up on their side. When I get deeply involved in a situation or relationship, I have a hard time seeing the truth. So what if I said, “Ok, I love you and trust you, and you’re probably right,” the end? It’s something I hope I’m growing into.

And maybe it starts with a hair cut.

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