coming to terms with my vanity

by Christie Shumate McElwee

“We’re older but no more the wise

We’ve learned the art of compromise

Sometimes we laugh, sometimes we cry

And sometimes we just break down

We’re good now ’cause we have to be

Come to terms with our vanity

Sometimes we still curse gravity

When no one is around”

“Hey Cinderella”

Songwriters: Suzy Bogguss / Matraca Berg / Gary Harrison

I have a confession to make. It has been 11 weeks since my last haircut. A couple of weeks ago I had my sweet husband take his trimmer to the back of my neck to clean up the errant hair that stubbornly grows there. No matter what I do to it, though, it is in my eyes. I am constantly playing with it, trying cute hair pins and bandanas, yet it is still a mess.

I acknowledge this is not the worst thing that is happening these days. I read the news and see the devastation this virus has wreaked across the globe. I know I shouldn’t be worrying about my vanity…

But…my hair. What about my hair? Before Zoom, I never had to look at myself as I participated in conversations. Now all I can see is my hair. I fidget with it or attempt to restyle it as the meeting is going on. Truthfully, I’m annoying myself.

We women are our own worst critics. Every supposed flaw is torn apart. Billions of dollars are spent on creams and makeup and styling products in order to look pretty, but we can’t seem to give ourselves a freaking break. I know this because these days when I look at myself in Zoom or FaceTime all I see is an aging woman desperately in need of a trim.

I gave up coloring my hair almost two years ago, and I’m pleased with the touch of gray. I don’t wear much makeup, but I do enjoy a little if I’m going out. But…my hair. What about my hair?

Soon as the shelter in place guidelines are slowly lifted, I will tentatively tiptoe back to my stylist. Safe procedures are promised and I trust her to keep everyone safe. Small businesses need their customers and we need to support them. I also realize not everyone feels safe to visit some establishments yet, and I respect that. I know my anxiety levels peak every time I even think about venturing out in public. Wearing masks, washing hands, and practicing safe habits are our new normal. 

And after that first haircut in over three months, will I look at myself differently? Perhaps, but I do know a trip to the salon is a good boost for the morale. During these difficult times, we are all doing things to help our psyches. Some are planting flowers, others are knitting. Me? I scratch a few rambling words every week, but a trim would certainly help.

We are all just stumbling through this thing.

Be safe.

Be kind.

Forgive others and yourself because even Cinderella didn’t know how the story would turn out.

“Hey hey, Cinderella, what’s the story all about

I got a funny feeling we missed a page or two somehow

Ohh-ohhhh, Cinderella, maybe you could help us out

Does the shoe fit you now?”

Jane Jetson had it figured out. Now, where do I buy these masks? Amazon, perhaps?

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