My entire life I've never liked my hair. When I was a little girl, probably kindergarten, I remember tossing a penny into a wishing well and wishing for big blue eyes and long beautiful thick blond hair -- princess hair.
I've never had either. Sure, my hair bleaches out fast in the sun and usually looks blond to many, but I wanted those golden blond waves a cousin of mine had.
Instead, I have always had stick-straight brown hair and hazel/green eyes (my eyes are now very much green but when I was growing up they were green-brown). I'd look enviously at magazine ads of beautiful women with thick long hair and think I want that. Thankfully I never got whatever those ads were advertising (something to do with hair) because I was way too young to even know how to order something through the mail. Plus, it cost money (advertisers make their money on telling us we are lacking something in our lives to be happy and they always have the solution for a cost).
When I was in third grade my mom had my hair cut into a short shag. I see pictures of me as a third grader and I was adorable, but as a girl all I could see was my hair was now shorter than it ever has been and totally not what I dreamed about having. I felt ugly.
In fifth grade I started getting perms. Remember those? Besides being straight my hair has a very fine texture so it usually stays straight even after I curl it. The curls only stay if I put loads of hairspray on them (which I did in high school -- the 80s and AquaNet. I definitely had big hair in high school). The perms gave my hair some body but I still never was satisfied.
Throughout my growing up years and even into my adulthood I was on a quest to get the perfect hair. Sometimes it would be short and sometimes long but no matter what it was, it was always inadequate. Oh, the tears Young Jane cried over her pathetic hair.
These days I'm just glad I have hair. It seems handfuls of my hair fall out after a shower. I always make sure all the hair has been combed out that is going to fall out before we go to church. Falling hair is not what I want to leave behind anywhere!
I have finally decided to stick with long because my husband likes it long and I don't like it short or long -- but it's nice he likes it. I haven't cried about my hair for probably 25 years. I've grimaced and sighed and put up with it.
Something funny happened with it the other day. I woke up with my bangs (they aren't really bangs -- I used to have a full fringe across my forehead but I can't stand hair on my face anymore) parted to the side rather than in the middle. I decided to leave it. And wow, wow, wow, it was like I had a totally different look. My husband gave me one of those "Come Hither" looks and I smiled. I told him I'd keep it if so little did so much.
I've learned to appreciate some things about my hair. It is soft. Most of it is still on my head. It is easy to brush out. It often is a nice color with the help of the sun (and whatever color I choose in a box).
I have always tried to emphasize body acceptance in my girls. I had such problems with this growing up -- did all sorts of dumb things because of it. If I ever had girls I just wanted them to love the shape God blessed them with. And I think they do (even though it's hard not to compare yourself when we're inundated with photoshopped images of stick-thin models). They know they are beautiful just as they are. And somewhere along the line God got me free of body discontent. To try and look like something that isn't natural (like extradordinarily thin or adding curves that aren't there naturally) misses the point of God's love of beauty and uniqueness. He made us all different for a reason. One design isn't better than another. They all are beautiful. I guess I ought to have come to that same conclusion with my hair years ago.
My daughter Maggie had beautiful hair. It was thick, a rich brown color and wavy. Gorgeous. One summer she wanted it cut short. My husband resisted but she wanted it so bad she cried big tears. So we cut it very short. She loved it. A few months later she decided to let it grow out. Along the way when it reached her shoulders I said to her, "Maggie, you have a new hairstyle every month as your hair grows. And you look adorable in each one."
She smiled big and said, "I know!"
What a memory! She knew was beautiful even though she weighed only 50 pounds one day of her and had two legs that weren't the same length and a funny walk because of it.
Oh, if we each could get to the point where we appreciate our own beauty and the beauty of each other without comparision. We can admire other people without wanting to be like them. We can admire other people without coming up short.
Do you have a problem with this? Take inventory. Thank God for your body. Thank God for how it works. Thank God for your skin and your fingers and your toes. Appreciate how they do what you want them to do. It would be glorious if Hawk could use his hands to hold things. I tell him while I am driving that it would be so cool if he could use a straw, if he could hold a cup and suck out of a straw. He could actually drink without my help. Can you hold a cup or sip through a straw or both?
The body God has given each of us is a miraculous creation. Think how it recharges itself. Think how all the innerparts work most of the time without us doing anything. That's incredible!
"Then God said,'Let us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky an dover the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.' And God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created them, male and female He created them . . . And God sw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good." Genesis 1:26-27, 31a
That's what God thinks about you and me. It'd probably be good if we agreed with Him.