I suppose everyone does this, don’t they?
I look back at the very few photographs I have and think that, actually, I was quite good looking. By which, I mean that, at the time, I didn’t realise it or I thought that, whereas not downright ugly, I was not “all that”.
And, of course, at that moment, what I thought looked really cool, actually may not have looked that good. But looking back at these phtographs, I realise that, actually, I was quite good looking and I wish I had known that then, at that time and, better, had done something with it.
But, physically, my ideas of how I looked are NOT the same as the reality.
For example, for many, many years, in my head, I had a button nose. Even when I looked in the mirror, that’s what I saw. I hated this button nose. I wanted a long one, perhaps more of a Roman one. In fact, I would spend time pulling my nose down and out as I really hated this button nose.
It wasn’t until I mentioned it one time in company that I was put straight about this thing. I didn’t have, and never had had, such a thing as a button nose.
Now, although I realise this to be true, my mind plays tricks on me and, occasionally, I still think of it as a button nose. Which, even as I think about it, I know not to be true – like now, when I’m writing this. Still, in my head (at this moment), I think of it as short, stubby abd turned up.
The other thing that’s important to me, as far as physical looks go, is my hair. This has been so every since I can remember. At 12 I was telling my parents that “everyone has long hair at school, and I want long hair too”. Really! I only “saw” long hair on other kids but now, I realise, this cannot have been true.
My hair has always been ‘important’ to me. When I was about 17 or so was the ‘best time’ (apart from the other best times, of course). In reverse order, I’ve had very short and natural grey, very short and not-natural, almost-black, slightly longer and black, shortish and natural, longish and natural, spikey and long and blonde, normal and natural, long almost to my waist and natural, longish, just past shoulder-length and natural (the ‘best one’), spikey and sometimes blue and before that I don’t remember.
But, since F convinced me to stop dying my hair (and I ended up with the first one in the above list), I haven’t been entirely happy. So, since the summer before last, I grew it.
In my head, it reminds me of the ‘best’ one from when I was 17.
In the mirror, I see a head full of hair, longish flowing locks, nearly as it should be – but not quite.
And then I see photos of myself now. It looks quite dreadful. In the photo. In the mirror (and my head) it looks nothing like that. I picture myself as I was at 17, just back from holiday, brown, with these flowing locks and looking really good.
And, even if I know that the camera doesn’t lie, I still think that it does. Or, at least, it distorts. Maybe it wasn’t a good day? Maybe it was a little windy?
And my hair is thinner now. I know this for if I put a mirror to show me the back of my head, you can see I’m going a bit bald. Except I was thinking that about 20 years ago. It just never really quite happened! But I am certain it’s much thinner than it was and the almost-bald-patch is now almoster bald.
So, where were we?
Ah, yes. So, in my head and when I look at myself in a mirror, I am almost the same as when I was 17. Except I’m not, of course.
And I started growing it because I wanted a style. Some sort of style but I wasn’t sure what. I thought: if I grow it I can choose what to have. Except, after almost a couple of years I’m no closer to making a decision.
And, even if I’ve asked F for his advice, I get nothing from him. And I’ve been wanting him to suggest something or say something but I could solicit nothing.
Until last night.
For our anniversary, as normal, I came with a last-minute idea for a present. The present was one of those digital picture frames. I’ve always thought they were a bit of a waste of time but, you know, when you have little idea of what to buy, it came in a flash that this might be something he would like, being keen on photography and all.
And, it turns out, it was a great choice. He loves it. And so he spent a long time putting over 300 photos on it which he brought over last night to show me. Of course, they are 300+ photos of the dogs!
But in some of them, there is him or me (with the dogs).
One came up of me the summer before last, when we were on holiday in Umbria, just before I started growing my hair.
“You should cut your hair,” he says, when he sees it. “Short hair makes you look younger.” I tell him that I am very happy that he is making some comment. And I AM very happy. It’s just not quite the comment that I want.
Sure, I want to look younger.
I’m not that bothered about looking younger.
Maybe he WANTS me to look younger? Maybe he thinks that I look much older now? I want to do what he wants. I don’t care about being younger or older and, yet, …… I do care on some level.
Later I suggest that I need a style and should he see something, to tell me. His response was “It’s too thin.” He means, of course, go and get it cut, really short, all over – like it was.
In my head, of course, it’s not at all THAT thin. I reply that it’s been like this for years and years.
But he’s right, of course. He suggests that maybe I can keep it like this for the winter and get it cut in the spring. He doesn’t really think that, of course. He’s just saying that. Maybe my face said too much?
Of course, this isn’t really what I want to hear but, in his way, he’s being nice whilst being quite direct. This idea I had that I have hair like I was 17 or, even, that I had almost convinced myself that I look like some old, eccentric, English professor should be banished from my brain. Should be but it’s very difficult to do.
And, although I absolutely HATE the idea of not having a choice any more, he is, of course, quite right. And I am so glad that he’s finally said SOMETHING!
Now all I have to do is to summon up the courage to go and get it done! This is not easy for me and will take me some time and then I have to choose somewhere to have it done. This, too, is quite difficult. I have to pick the right place. I remember when I went from waist-length to quite short, when I first went to work. It was almost the most excruciatingly painful thing I had ever done (not physically but mentally). I can only imagine how Samson must have felt. This will be the same.
I am convinced that no one else has this problem (the pain of having one’s hair cut). For no one else does it seem such a big deal. I don’t even know why it is for me. It’s just weird! It’s the stuff in my head …. again!
Or, maybe I CAN find a style ………..?????