Hair Peace: It’s a nice sentiment (one of the better phrases popularized by John and Yoko) but how many of us really experience peace with our hair? It’s not easy, even though from what I can gather most of the contributors to this site are at various places on their various paths to accepting their bodies. But hair? That’s a politically charged topic.
I’ve had several variations of the chin-length bob since I was five years old and one shorter “shag” cut when I was in high school that resulted in me being frequently called a lesbian. Yeah, I don’t know either. Will someone please explain to me what your hair has to do with your sexuality? Nothing? Yeah that’s what I thought. In middle school, desperate to reclaim my childhood blondness, I decided to start lightening my hair with that awful Sun-in crap. I also decided to grow my hair out to shoulder length. Someone should have stopped me. I’d call it my worst hair style, but I don’t even think you can apply the word “style” to it.
Since then, I’ve only dyed my hair once. Because of my aversion to hair dying (or to put it simply: my cheapness and laziness), often my friends like to use me as an example of their natural hair colors. “Oh my natural color’s sort of like Lani’s,” a.k.a. boring brown. Thanks guys.
But since I started the road to body acceptance I’ve learned to shrug off and deflect the comments about my hair and hair color. I don’t care what they say, because I don’t have the time or the desire to blow a good portion of my disposable income on my hair. I have the cheapest, most utilitarian haircut possible. It looks good on me even when I do nothing to it (other than wash it, comb it and sleep on it when it’s wet). So take that!
When it comes to body hair, I’m of the school of thought that you should have however much hair you desire. I shave my legs and arm pits, and er, other places, because I want to and because it makes me feel good. It may seem consumerist and stupid, I know, but I like it that way. And considering that I’m very single, it’s really only for me and not anyone else.
My largest stumbling block when it comes to my hair (of various types and locations) is my eyebrows. I’m so incredibly insecure about them. Yes, I realize how silly that seems, but I inherited my dad’s eyebrows. Now, big, bushy, Walter Cronkite eyebrows look great on my 57 year-old father. On me, however? Well, let’s just say it’s not my look.
Since I was thirteen, I’ve plucked them obsessively. Because a “friend” told me, straight up: “YOU NEED TO PLUCK YOUR EYEBROWS.” Rude, but message received. Hemingway wanted to write one true sentence, I just want two perfect eyebrows. When my brows start to grow out (about three or so days after I pluck them) I start to think and feel less highly of myself. It’s so ridiculous, but they’re my eyebrows; they’re right smack dab in the middle of my head, so my gaze often lands there when looking in the mirror. And often, I don’t like what I see.
I used to stress out a lot if I knew I wouldn’t have time to pluck my eyebrows at least once a week. For a while, I was even plucking them twice a week. I brought a facial hair trimmer to try and manage them; it just made the hair grow back thicker. Good one!
Recently, I tried waxing and I like it, except for the part where my hair-stylist or friend rubs hot wax on my face and pulls out my eyebrows. I like that it lasts. That I can let my eyebrows go for a few weeks and not constantly worry about them. It’s helping me to worry less about my how I look and use the time I used to spend plucking doing more important things, like I doing homework, writing, etc.
Threading my eyebrows is the final frontier, but it seems intimidating. It takes a lot longer than waxing, and I don’t know anyone who does it. Or perhaps the final frontier is learning how to not care what my eyebrows look like. My mom doesn’t care about hers, but hers are blonde and mine are half black and half blonde (like the bi-coat of a dog), which if you’re keeping score at home, means twice the plucking.
Someday, I won’t care, I just wish I that day was sooner. I wish that, as a woman, the idea that my appearance is more important than my intellectual or creative pursuits wasn’t constantly reinforced by media messages. I wish I didn’t subconsciously buy into it, and I’m trying to fight that and doing pretty well considering. But my eyebrows, they’re the last road block on my way to hair peace, and to whole peace.