This getting old is a good thing….
I used to wonder why lots of older women cut their hair short. I was just visiting my parents at their Florida gated community, and I noticed that almost all of the seventy plus set have similar short hair. They usually say it is easy to take care of. I think some of it is also not worrying as much about being a long-haired sex symbol...letting go of all that and the stereotype of hair=beauty. Realizing that it doesn't mean a thing...that hair or any of those external things don't bring happiness or health. I have heard women say that they feel invisible after they hit forty or fifty. They say this like it is a bad thing. I remember when I was in my twenties and thirties going dancing at clubs with women buddies. We hated the attention we would get and the guys bugging us. We just wanted to dance our little buttinskis off. Then in my forties, I visited an old friend and we went dancing to one of our favorite bands from decades earlier. We were surrounded by twenty-somethings. We were invisible. I looked at my dancing buddy, Wendy, and her hips where just as sexy and moving just as fluidly to the music as they had twenty years before. Her face was just as sweet and her smile was just as contagious. Together we had a moment of mourning the loss of being the center of attention…realizing we were now invisible. Then we talked about it and laughed at ourselves realizing we had gotten exactly what we had asked for two decades earlier. After that epiphany it was pure joy dancing together and not being noticed or harassed by any men.
Can you pick me out from the pictures below?
I went from long curly thick hair to a short haircut on New Years Day this year. I went to the yoga class that I go to at least two times a week and no one noticed that I had cut my hair. The 30 or so people there spend over five hours a week with me. I was soooo happy. I said to my buddy Adena, “I love that no one noticed my haircut. I love that my hair is not the center of their universe.” All these years I have been trying to get the “right cut” for my face and body. And I could have saved myself all that concern, since no one notices it anyway! My meditation teacher, SN Goenka, has a great discourse on attachment that includes a story about hair. In the story, the husband loves his wife’s hair. Long beautiful thick black hair. But as soon as even one of those hairs appears in his food, he is disgusted by her hair.
So yesterday, Adena and I stopped by the shop that cut my hair on New Years Day. We were both going to get a trim. Somehow in the excitement of it all, we talked the hair cutter into cutting my hair really really short. I think I secretly hoped that when she was done I would look like Halle Berry. (Can a haircut change your total genetic make-up including your race and age?). When we left the shop, Adena and I were convinced that I looked like a sexy Italian artist or a sexy Italian lesbian. We kept stopping and looking at our reflections in the windows of the auto parts store next to the salon. We were sure that I was now a sexy Italian lesbian artist.
It wasn’t until I got home and had a really good look at it in the mirror that I realized it actually looked more like one of those pictures of Jewish women who were in concentration camps and their hair is all uneven after about a month of growth. And still, I am smiling about it….because it is just HAIR! It is the dead cells coming out of the scalp on the head of one of the 6.7 billion people who have infested the planet who are about as significant as ants, if that. And, maybe they aren’t even as significant as ants who will be here long after humans are gone.
And, someone in Haiti who has lost their leg from a building collapsing on it would give anything to have their concentration camp hairdo be the biggest item occupying their mind and blog.
So this getting older and letting ego slip away and getting a perspective on what is and isn’t important is so wonderful.
The Earth School curriculum is never ending.
I am still working on gratitude and appreciation. I am judgmental and critical of the people who I am closest with each day. Well actually, the two I am with everyday, myself and JC, get the worst of it.
NPR had a story on last night about an American guy in Haiti who has been sitting outside of what was a hotel in the capital waiting for them to uncover the body of his French fiancé. He will not leave until they uncover her body. He is hoping for a miracle and that she will be alive after weeks of no food and water and being trapped under an entire hotel. He was crying and everyone around him was crying as he told their love story. I was crying as I listened. I vowed right then to be more appreciative of JC and less argumentative with him.
An hour later I was snarling at him because he was using a spray bottle of tamari and got it on my computer and some dvds.
Again, I just have to say, that a person in Haiti with just one leg would give anything to be in my shoes and have JC spray Tamari on their computer. And in the moment I forgot about Haiti and I forgot to be kind and I forgot to be grateful. It is such a lifelong practice….no shortage of opportunities for learning to keep things in perspective.