80’s Helmet Hair

Confession: Jewelry and makeup really aren’t my thing. I have worn the same silver cross for 12 years, and the same three Cover Girl eye shadow colors since I was 16 years old. Shocking, I know. Before you report me to Oprah, read on.

My hair….now that’s another story. Even as a starving artist in Nashville, I saved my pennies to go see Mark at one of the best salons in town. He knew just how to shape my tresses, and I felt fabulous every time I walked out the door.

Two years after leaving Nashville and my beloved Mark, I have had one bad haircut after another. One lady took a pair of shears and thinned my locks down to nothing. My mom thought my hair had fallen out. Last October I made it back to Mark for a rescue-style while I was in town. But 6 months later, and no Nashville trip in sight, I knew it was time to search out a good Swiss stylist.

A friend recommended a guy she called “one of the best.” At $150 for just a cut – not including wash, blow-dry, or styling – he was sure to do the job well. She gave me a first-timer’s coupon for 50% off, and I was on my way.

Everything started off wonderfully. He spoke English fluently. I explained exactly what I wanted. “And absolutely no bangs,” I said. “Every time I get bangs I regret it.” It was Doug’s one request before I left the house. He likes my hair long.

We looked at pictures. Everything was set to go. He gathered up a big clump of hair on the front of my head and, shhhhpppp, sliced several inches off the top in one chop. My hair, not having been that short in decades, didn’t know what to do. It pinged around on top of my head, refusing to lay down. I sat there shocked and humiliated, feeling all too reminiscent of my 6th grade picture day.

As time went on, I kept wishing he would fix it. I held out hope that, though this was NOTHING like we discussed, he somehow would make it right. But no.

I walked out with 80’s helmet hair, complete with feathered edges. Just a little teasing and some aerosol hairspray, and I am Bill Champlin, lead singer of Chicago: “Look away, baby, look away. Don’t look at me. I don’t want you to see me this way.”

So how am I coping? Well, I try to use a strait iron and bobby pins to hold down the madness. I tell myself it will probably grow out in a month or two. I fluff it up and sing 80’s hits into my hairbrush to make Doug laugh. I’ve looked for some redeeming lesson in it all, and here it is:

It’s just hair.

For so long I’ve attached my self-worth and self-confidence to my hair; good hair day = confidence, bad hair day = shame. And, of course, God doesn’t want me to live this way.

So, while I still struggle to feel pretty, and Doug has agreed to say “you’re beautiful, Audrey” thirty times this evening, I see that God is bringing me to a new level of freedom. He always sees me lovely. Styling my 80’s helmet hair every day, I get good practice at believing this truth.