“Almost cut my hair
Happened just the other day
It's gettin' kind of long
I could've said it was in my way
But I didn't and I wonder why
I feel like letting my freak flag fly
And I feel like I owe it, to someone, yeah”
“Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, Almost Cut my Hair, Deja Vu”
Well, I didn’t almost cut my hair.
I let most of it go. In a mild restructuring of sorts. A partial work-over. It has since grown back into the wild burning nest that it is.
And Biggie, my alter ego in the anti-blogosphere, is on strike. So let’s leave him be.
Back to hairy matters…
I have Indian hair. It gets wavy and mullet-y in the back with a top that stands up like it has been electrocuted, when too long.
When my hair is longish, I look and feel like a wannabe extra from the 80s in a bad MTV video.
When my hair gets long-ish, I start feeling itchy in an ants in my pants kind of way.
When I start getting antsy, I do silly things.
And thus, in such a moment of hair-rage antsiness, I decided to cut my hair.
Not a big deal by itself.
BUT, I decided that I should try cutting it myself, and flex my gut and do it without a mirror.
Cutting hair without a mirror is an exercise in foolery. Because you can't “foresee” what the end outcome is.
No. I am not being punny.
My hair has always been my crown jewel, not in terms of quality or lock lustre.
Merely in terms of how much it crowns (and crowds my vanity).
Add further, I have experienced trauma through a few minor hair cutting incidents early on in life.
As a child, my uncle accidentally cut my ear when cutting my hair. Live on sweet little indentation, legacy in my left ear.
And then there was the time, I had to go to work for an entire month looking like Jim Carey in Dumb and Dumber because of presumptuous hairstyling.
No, women can’t sport microscopic bangs.
I looked like a bowl. It was ridiculous and unbearable.
A bad haircut, when you don’t have much hair, can be catastrophic. Disruptive to a point where it can cut into your psyche.
So why do it?
As a test. To set an experimental bonfire to vanity.
This is rightfully a fool's errand.
But this year, I am running a number of fool’s errands.
To try and break the mould of TOTS (taking oneself too seriously).
I have been plagued with TOTS here and there. Nothing good really comes off TOTS.
Invert subvert controvert revert damn it.
So what did I learn?
Cutting hair without a mirror is a little of flexing gut, instinct and imagination. It is all touch and feel. You really get to know the intimate spaces of your head.
And visualizing what my awesome hairstylist Rita would do if I were sitting on her chair. It actually kind of works.
The method. Small increments in experiment
I started with a test on sideburns, hair over the ears, and the annoying mullet portion at the back of the head in front of a mirror.
The result. No material harm. Phew.
Relief. A minor muscle in accomplishment twitches. Capped by a moment of peace.
The next day, I went further and snipped away at portions of my head I could not see.
I did this for 5 consecutive days. All without a mirror, in the shower.
I of course, overshot.
For a week my hair texture was clumpy in parts, the sideburns askew. The back asymmetrical and uneven.
I chafed a little. And then the hair kinda grew over. And it was as if nothing really ever happened.
And amidst all of this, no one really noticed a shoddy head of hair. Even when I asked my friends pointedly.
Friends I have realized are better at giving unsolicited feedback.
Good stroke to the ego. If you think anyone is paying attention to you, check the box NOT.
Why the incremental cutting?
The incremental cutting was designed to dull the blow. To mute external attention by introducing change in small doses.
And to test my own incremental build up of self-consciousness.
How vain was I really?
Conclusions and findings:
I have one valid data point on my vanity.
I care a great deal about my head of hair.
Sometimes there is comfort in not knowing what is happening in the back of your head, literally. These I call literal blindspots.
The wonder of something that is happening outside of the realm of your perception is that you are not self-conscious about it.
It is a rare moment of freedom. I want more of that!
Joy be sung to the liberation of blindspots.
A blindspot can actually be enabling and not just disabling as I have long assumed.
Where you can intentionally play and experiment with literal blindspots, you can also play with self-consciousness, in harmless, small increments. To gauge what kind of discomfort that triggers.
Dulling self-consciousness, even momentarily, is incredibly freeing. To the point that, it empowers you to further make a fool of yourself.
And go about it to proudly, to the wide wide world, boldly in your awesome stripes, looking like a badly plucked chick or chicken, or rip-tat-wrinkle.
If done enough times, I wager it can get you into the realm of “I am awesome because I can’t stop laughing at myself and my 100% ridiculousness”.
An antidote to the whinging of the ego.
And this is my wish back at you.. Try your hand at anti-TOTS. Go on fiercely forward and flex one little muscle of anti-self consciousness at a time.
Laughing at thyself to start.
Laughing incidentally is good for the core.
Coming from a half-baked pilates instructor, you should take this with no more than a grain of salt. But laughing at yourself, is a double core workout.
Give it a jig.. a little belly chortling ain’t hurting anybody.