It began in middle school, really. I remember looking around the home class and staring at every other girls’ hair, outfit, and painted faces. Comparing myself to the countless blue-shadowed adversaries I found I was lacking in everything. How could I grab Andrew’s attention, (the top basketball/football player with gorgeous blue eyes and witty humor) without spending hours straightening, plucking, purchasing, and investing in my looks? Why didn’t my hair straighten like Susans? Couldn’t I stop biting my nails like Karen? What about Carrie’s nice clothes from Aéropostale? I had to own an American Eagle pair of clogs or else I’d just die (as I explained with passion to my mother).
After many years of struggling with self-worth and finding pride in my appearance, I’ve learned to love myself. I’m not happy dressing and looking like every other girl. I love myself now with grace, love, and a lot of empathy. I wear what I want and enjoy artistic expression through the way I dress and do my hair and makeup. I take pride in my body modifications and enjoy challenging the status quo. Can a “good” person have tattoos? You bet. Can a “Christian” woman take great care of herself and look beautiful? Of course.
Who I Am Now
Now, ten years later I’ve grown and have become what I never wanted to be: myself. Tiffany. I have beautiful blue eyes that change shades depending on my emotions, my hair is uncontrollably curly but has learned to love me back with a little care and attention. My nails grow strong and love the color blue on them, my lips are full and I can easily pull off full bodied dresses and skirts with my womanly hips. I also have acne scarring that reminds me of the countless trips to the dermatologist, some stretch marks that I’d rather not flaunt, and some extra pounds in the midsection. Overall, I see myself as my best friend. A girl that’s lived a long, hard but blessed life that will be there for you in an instant and can emphasize with conviction most life issues.
So this brings me to my hair. I adore my hair. My hair is a way for me to hide some scarring on my right temple from acne and also helps to distract from my chubbier chin (or so I think in my mind). My hair has become a love of mine and I take care of it like a mother. I invest in great haircuts and spend a lot of time conditioning it and using organic products. I’ve spent many years perfecting the art of my locks and I beam when anyone compliments me on them, especially Dustin. When I am feeling fat or rather ugly I always combat these thoughts by assuring myself; at least I have pretty hair. I tie my identity as a woman to my long curls and cannot even comprehend myself with short hair.
This is why I am cutting my hair off for India.
In some way, whether intentionally or unaware I’ve placed a lot of my self-worth into my hair. How? I’m not sure but I know that our process of traveling and serving in India is an act of selflessness and I want to transform my posture to one of humility. In some ways I will be free and forced to live face forward, without hiding behind long hair or a styled look.
So, will I cry when the big chop comes? Probably. Will I hold the ponytail and rub it against my face and keep it by my bed for months? Creepy… No.
I’m donating my hair to Locks of Love, an awesome organization that uses donated hair to make wigs for economically disadvantaged children that have long term illnesses that results in hair loss. If you haven’t heard of the organization, where the heck have you been? It’s a great organization that’s been around for years. You can stay tuned for the big day that has yet to be determined. If you can’t wait until then have fun looking at this photo of when Dustin and his good friend Brice shaved their heads to donate to Locks of Love a few years back. P.S. Dustin’s bare head does indeed look like the moon. Hence, he won’t be shaving his head for India.
Until then, I’m enjoying my long locks and intentionally leaving the windows down for some wind-blown attractiveness.