22 November 2010

Inner Beauty

I had my hair cut this weekend. I vacillate between two extremes when I get my hair cut - I either tell my long-suffering (and very talented) hairdresser to do 'whatever' (because regardless of how brilliant the haircut is I'm never going to look any good) or I take along a photo (invariably of someone 'famous'). Does anyone else do that? On Saturday I took along a photo...this photo actually. (Ten points if you came name the person in the photo :)
And yes, I know I'm taking along a photo of someone half my age, but... I'm s l o w l y coming to terms with the fact that my hair is never going to be long and luscious :) See, like I mentioned in a previous post (Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow) I (for whatever reason) equate long hair with beauty. (Having that reinforced by a [male] work colleague hasn't helped this belief.) Unfortunately, I can't fight genetics. My hair is just not built to be long...or luscious.

I commented to my hairdresser that Emma Watson carries off the short hair beautifully - she looks gorgeous...and feminine. I just can't say the same about me. I look in the mirror and see...flaws. And that's the problem. I don't believe people - didn't believe my hairdresser on Saturday - when they (she) tell(s) me I'm beautiful. (*thinks* I think I've felt beautiful twice in my life.) Interestingly, that's one of the items on the list of the heroine from Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake (Sarah MacLean). The thing is, I think you have to feel beautiful (internally) before you can accept that you are beautiful...and that someone else believes that you are. And maybe that equates to love as well. You have to learn to love yourself before you can truly believe that someone else will love you. And to love yourself you have to know who you really are...flaws and all..and accept yourself as you really are. And maybe I'm wrong, but that seems to be the journey the heroine from Nine Rules is on. Thoughts?


  1. Hermione - Emma Watson for the 10 pts.

    Listen with all that goes on in this world, you must realize how beautiful you are. You are unique, you have a courageous soul, you care and you are beautiful; never doubt that.

    I grew up in a household where long hair was equated to beauty. My mother had hair down to her waistline. She struggled to wash it, dry it and keep it out of the way to deal with life (4 kids). I saw it as a drag. One year my father said something to her... she went out and came back with NO HAIR. She cut it crew-cut style. My brother, who would wrap it around himself (causing her pain), didn't recognize her and cried for hours. She said it was the best thing she ever did for herself. She felt free... her head didn't hurt, she didn't spend 3 hours fixing it and she could move without fear of getting caught somewhere. She's never let it get long again. She told me once that she didn't feel beautiful with all that hair, she didn't feel beautiful at all. She said that cutting it didn't make her feel beautiful... the act was what did it. That she chose for herself and became what she wanted that made her feel beautiful.

    I guess what one person sees as beauty, another sees it as a prison. It's funny, that I've never let my hair grow long. Right now it's the longest it's been in forever; and this only so I can donate it.

    I think it's true... you can't recognize love, until you know it for yourself. This is what I struggle to tell my daughter.

    I wish you well on your journey.

  2. I knew the name of the actress but you gave it away yourself already, lol!

    Your thoughts about beauty are interesting and I think you're right that it starts with thinking you're beautiful yourself. The beauty of beauty is that it's subjective: what one person can think is beautiful, another person can think is ugly and vise versa.

    What I like about the blogging community is that physical appearance doesn't matter, it's about you and your thoughts, not about your looks. And based on your blog I'd say you're very beautiful! :D

  3. Eh. I have crazy thick hair and it's maddening in its own special way. I've finally found a really simple style that works with my hair, my face, and my requirements (no layers, must be able to pull back in a ponytail, must not require special treatment beyond blowdrying).

    Not sure I feel beautiful very much anymore - mostly I just feel pretty content in my skin. I'm ok with that.

    *flashes to the song "At My Most Beautiful" by REM*

  4. Uh from a woman who has the curly hair that supposely everyone loves I have to say its not that great. Long hair doesn't equal anything. But, you are starting to realize that. Beauty is something that shines from within. Once you love yourself people will start falling over themselves to love you too. Besides we can never see how pretty we are until we except it as well.
    The best thing a friend ever did for me was make me sit in a mirror and list 3 things I loved about my phyical self then told me to list 10 things I love about myself that no one could see in a mirror (all internal things) ever since then all I see when I look in the mirror are the 13 things I love and everyday I find more.

  5. Mariana - 10 points to you! *grin* And thank you for your amazing words and a fascinating story. Your mother sounds like a truly amazing woman...and I know you are!

    Janna - I gave it away? *re-reads post* DUH! Fail! Do not pass 'Go'! Do not collect $200!

    The beauty of beauty is that it's subjective...

    That's so true. And thank you - I think you're gorgeous, with an amazingly generous spirit!

    Chris - I think feeling content in your skin in just as important...I think it goes hand in hand with beauty. And it's funny...I'm so focused on having thicker hair that I never really thought about how frustrating it must be to have thick hair. Reminds me of a university colleague - she always wanted to wear her hair in a bun (like I did), but her hair was too thick... I need to YouTube the REM song :)

    Sarai - it's a s l o w process, but...I think I am getting there :) Just taking me far too long, but...how long is a piece of string! *grin* And you're right - until we accept that we are beautiful, we will never see it. And WRT the mirror - YIKES! I think I'd be very hard pressed to do that. But I love that you still see them (and find more!) when you look in the mirror :)

  6. I had a really short hair like Watson's for a while, and at first it was totally awesome and liberating. But after a while I just felt so un-girly with it. If I wore dresses and more make-up it would have probably been okay, though.

    Hair is DEFINITELY equated with feminine beauty. Look at the paintings of the Pre-Raphaelites and how all the women have massive amounts of hair. It can be pretty gutting to your self-confidence to lose your hair.

  7. My hair over the years has gone from long to short to everything in between. My husband likes it long but I told him a long time ago that's it's my head and if he didn't like it if I cut it short, tough. Aren't I sweet? lol

    I have to say that it took me a damned long time to get to the point of saying that though. We grow up in a world where physical beauty is everything. I don't think it is. I think that what's inside is what's important. I didn't like myself (inside or out) for many, many years and that showed on the outside, I think. Once I learned that I'm me and people can take me or leave me and I was ok with that, my life improved by leaps and bounds. I'm not callous about it but I don't kowtow to anyone either. Beauty definitely comes from within.

    I'm with Janna - the blogging community is wonderful in that we get to know the inside of a person.

  8. heidenkind - I go through phases of feeling un-girly. I do think that shorter hair requires...more effort? And I completely agree WRT losing your hair - I think those women who grow their hair and then donate it for wigs are amazing!

    Tracy - LOL! And you're right, it is so your hair :) But...I know what you mean. It is so hard to learn to love yourself...and it's so important to learn to love yourself both inside and out. I'm working on that :)

  9. I love all the comments in this post. I read them twice. You ladies are awesome. I share your sentiments completely, but isn't it so wonderful to read what someone else has to say about such a complicated topic as "beauty" and feel validated in our beliefs of what makes an individual beautiful? I raise a glass to each one of you for sharing your beauty in these comments, on your blogs and in your every day lives.

    After you check out the REM song, check out the song "Just the Way You Are" by Bruno Mars. I sing it and dedicate it to my young daughters EVERY time we hear it on the radio--usually while we're in the car together which is great because they can't escape me. Of course, we (my husband and I) emphasize the utmost importance of inner beauty to our daughters and I think we've done a good job of showing them what beautiful individuals they are in the inside. Feeling good about how you look on the outside is also important, but learning to love your outer beauty is so hard for so many women--especially the young and impressionable tweens and teens who have misguided perceptions of what outer beauty is. To me, it's when one's inner beauty leaks out and makes you look beautiful. It's how you take care of yourself, how happy you look, how kind you are, how confidently you carry yourself... those are the things that make someone beautiful on the outside no matter what features you were born with. I know I'm just their mom, so maybe my opinion on their beauty doesn't count for much.. but I want so desperately to instill in them that they are beautiful on the inside and outside just the way they are.