A woman’s beauty is often associated with the length of her hair. It’s an easy identifier, a shortcut. A mark of beauty difficult for me to let go of, precisely the reason why I must let it go. A mark of beauty that makes me forget what truly marks the depth of beauty in a woman. The mark of a woman is found in the searching of her eyes for where she can be of assistance; it is found in the bravery of her mind to explore uncharted dreams, perspectives, and experiences; it is found in the daring dance of her lips to speak up for what she believes in; it is found in the strums of her heart longing to live for a purpose outside of herself, for God, for the greater good of those around her. To me, this is the mark of a woman, and hair has nothing to do with it.
I wrote these words on the day I cut it all off. I believed every word of it. And I still do. I wrote these words out of conviction of the core, but still, many a times I had to look back to them to be convicted once again.
It’s been more than two months already, and to be honest, I’m still getting used to it. Today, I was accidentally called “sir” for the first time. A little taken aback, I stumbled in my speech. I didn’t want it to, but it did sit with me for a bit. And in that moment, I had to remind myself that my womanhood it completely independent of how others perceive me. Besides, I knew this was going to happen when I did it.
When I first chopped it off, for a brief moment, I felt free. But just as quickly, that liberation morphed into worries that I looked like an Asian Justin Bieber (no offense, beebz). When I got home, I had to take a good look at myself in the mirror. Many times. I don’t remember when exactly this happened (perhaps a week into it), but when I looked into the mirror, I felt like I was seeing me as me, even though I didn’t really look like me. I was learning to see myself for the first time. I could no longer hide behind my hair as affirmation of beauty, so I was forced to look into the depths of my soul for it.
But of course, there were and still are times when I feel like I have to prove my womanhood by wearing earrings, styling my hair a certain way, dressing a certain way… looking feminine. I remember one summer day I had just gone for a swim… Of course there’s no avoiding the mirror in the changing room and I was unfortunately repulsed by what I saw. And honestly, until now, sometimes I find myself a little shocked when guys show interest in me… somehow there’s a little voice in my head that says “guys won’t find you as attractive with short hair.” I do know that some guys do prefer long hair, but I’d like to think if someone likes me with short hair, then they really do like me for who I am, less my appearance. But then again, should this even matter?
Is this what I am living for? For the approval of men and women alike?
NO! My existence is to live for God, for a cause grander and greater than myself. I have to remind myself that in order to truly love others as much as I wish, I must, first, love my God and, second, love myself. It’s so easy to mislay your worth sometimes. To find it in others’ opinion of you, your appearance, your intelligence, your success, your possessions… I think we’ve all fallen into the trap of it. Yes, you may feel a boost of self-esteem for long or short bit, but never is it for a forever while. Your worth is found first and foremost as a child of God, the Almighty Creator of the UNIVERSE! You were created and destined uniquely to absorb the beauty of our Creator and cultivate the beauty within His creation. You’ve heard joke when they say “you are unique just like everyone else”? Ok, technically, maybe the fact that you’re unique like everyone else doesn’t make you unique in that aspect… but that doesn’t discount the fact that you are one of a kind! You were created for a mission. To love unceasingly, to build unwaveringly, to grow resiliently, to give abundantly. You were created for so much greater. Some of you reading this may not believe as I do, or might find what I’m saying to be too good to be true… But I say it’s true! There’s nothing more I believe than this.
So, friends, strangers, family from far and close, I urge you to discover the mission for your life. I would only wish for you to discover the joy I have found abundantly in Christ, but that’s for you to decide. If anything, I urge you at the very least to find a passion and use it for a mission that goes beyond yourself. If you’re passionate about medicine, bring medicine to those who lack access to it. If you’re passionate about painting, bring color and vitality to your wandering community. If you’re passionate about hair styling, use it to help someone envision a better life. (The links show people who have done exactly these things.)
Bottom line: 1) You were fearfully and wonderfully made. Anything you do or don’t do does not take away from the worth instilled within you. 2) Having a life worth living requires purpose beyond your own. What is yours?