We used to be enough.
Back when our feet were muddy, our hair was tangled and t-shirts were the uniform.
We were enough and mirrors were just decor, most days we walked right past them never thinking to ask for their opinions.
But somewhere along the way started asking questions. Now it seems that’s all we ever do.
We stand in front of reflective panes, asking them to tell us what we’re worth. We swipe cards and search to find something, anything that will make it a little easier to stare at the image before us.
Back then we weren’t ashamed to speak loudly, to point, to call things like we see them.
We weren’t filtered and fearful, worried that someone might think our opinion useless or immature. We were inexperienced, but confident.
Age and experience do not make you more confident, it’s actually innocence that produces freedom.
I want to be unaffected, apathetic about what passes before mirrors. I want my voice to know volume and strength when it needs to be heard. I want to stop worrying about putting my best foot forward or dressing for success.
I don’t want to be the sort of messy that takes an hour to perfect, where people will cheer for my relaxed vibe.
I never had a decent haircut as a child.
Mostly due to the fact that my unruly hair was too curly to cut evenly. But Mom would always tell the hairdresser one thing: as long she can pull it into a ponytail, she’s fine.
Which was true. So, even though I usually left the salon looking like some sort of manic poodle, I never worried because my hair-tie came out immediately and it all went into its typical ponytail.
Years later, that stopped being the case. I worried about having the right hair cut, the right length, the right style.
Until recently, when I barged into a Great Clips and gave a random woman the permission to do whatever she wanted to with my hair. Okay, I gave her like 2 guidelines, but I mostly just told her to do what she pleased.
While she barely obeyed my guidelines, she took me up on the offer to do whatever she wanted.
And I left with what I consider an almost-mullet.
While I should have freaked out, cried, had a feedback talk with her about stretching the guidelines.. I didn’t. I paid her more money than I should have and got into my car.
I laughed the entire way home.
Because somewhere in the middle of getting the worst haircut of my life, I remembered those times of being little and my Mom saying that I didn’t really care what my hair looked like.
That’s a pretty great and rare quality for a little girl to be known for: not hard to please, not concerned with the outward appearance, content with what she’s given.
I’m not telling you to go and get a bad haircut. I’m telling you that it matters a lot less than we think it does.
So I have an almost-mullet and the world didn’t end. I don’t hate myself. I don’t think I’m doomed to be single.
I have an almost-mullet and I’m just as valuable as I was the day before I started resembling Thomas Jefferson.
We’re too concerned with things that change. Hair grows, weight changes, bank accounts fluctuate. They’re never going to sandwich you in, keep you safe, give you the confidence to stop questioning mirrors or use your voice for change.
If I’m being honest, I like myself more with this awful haircut. Mostly because I’m not relying on anything to do the talking for me. I’m not trying to craft an impression. I am a better person when I’m less impressed with myself, when my own flaws are on display. I don’t get the chance to fool myself, to let that piece of glass tell me that I’ve got it together.
I’m a mess right now, and not in a cute or enviable way. I’m not the kind of mess you would photograph for Pinterest and call stylish. I’m a genuine train-wreck of a girl who let some stranger give her a mullet and went out to buy NyQuil wearing men’s shorts & a stained sweatshirt.
But I’m content, more content with myself than I have been in a long time. Because the more I let go of the image I’ve clung so tightly to, the more I find permission to just be myself.
We’ve always been enough. It’s just that we’ve changed who and what defines that word.
I’m not saying that I’ve started wearing newspapers and stopped brushing my teeth. But rather that overvaluing my outward appearance created a debt in my heart.
Somewhere along the way I started asking questions to something that will never have the answers.
I stopped treating mirrors like decor and started treating them like wardens, asking for their permission to walk out the door.
I’m done being hostage to a piece of glass, an image in a book, a figure on a screen. I’m just a girl with flaws who is tired of being told that it’s a dreadful thing to truly be seen.