Saturday, September 15, 2012

A Hairy Tale

I’m not fond of change. Never have been. In fact, I’ve had the same hairstyle for twenty-five years—long, straight, with bangs. Can you imagine?
But there are valid reasons for this, I assure you.
In 1982, my friend and I went to the mall. As we strolled past a salon, she pointed at a poster. “That’s what you need, Deb.”
Don’t you love it when others tell you what you need?
I paused and eyed the woman’s picture. Dark curls hung loose around her glamorous face. She looked like a runway model from Paris.
I shook my head. “No thanks.”
“Oh, come on. It would look amazing. Are you going to wear the same hairstyle the rest of your life?”
Didn’t bother me. I didn’t want to look like a runway model from Paris.
That same evening, I mulled over my friend’s words. Maybe a change would be nice.
A week later, I sat in a chair, in the same salon. A male barber—sent by Satan, if you ask me—wrapped a cape around my shoulders. “What can I do for you today?”
“You would look great with a bob.” He finger-combed my hair.
I sighed. Why does everyone keep trying to change me?
He gave me a conspiratorial wink. “Well, what do you think?”
“No, just layer it all over, trim the ends a little bit, and give me a perm.”
So he did.
At least that’s what I thought.
Tears filled my eyes as I stared in the mirror. My long locks were gone. I looked like an older version of Orphan Annie, minus the red hair.
He patted my shoulder. “You look beautiful. You’re just not used to this.”
Beautiful? I looked like a poodle.
The evil man laughed. “The curls make it appear shorter than it really is. I have to tell you, though; I never dreamed your hair would process like this. As long and straight as it was, well, it’s just unusual.” Another pat. “Don’t worry. Once the curls loosen up, it’ll be fine.”
But he lied.

After I climbed in the car, I pulled on one of the corkscrew curls, just to see how far it would stretch. Several inches later, it popped free from my fingers, as though it were trying to escape another attack, and sprang back into place.
I vowed I’d never get another perm.
Idiot that I am, though, I decided to try it again—five years later—a body wave this time—with a different beautician.
She piggybacked rods all over my head, led me to a dryer, and set the timer. “You’re probably going to need a few extra minutes to process. Your hair’s straight as a stick.”
I held up my hand. “No, it processes just fine, trust me.”
But she didn’t.
Why don’t people listen?
Still, my hair didn’t turn out bad at all, until a few days later.
My luscious locks turned a funny shade of red.

Soon after that, they fell out by the handful, leaving me with a bald strip down the top of my head—definitely not a runway model from Paris.
I haven’t had a perm or body wave since.
But do you know what? None of this would have happened if I wouldn’t have allowed someone else’s viewpoint to get to me.
And now that I’m older, I see things quite differently.
When God prompts me to change something, the results aren’t catastrophic. Yes, I might be hesitant at first, even scared, but I later discover it was for my own good. And the things I feared the most weren’t that scary at all. But that’s because God loves me, wants what’s best for me. He accepts me for who I am.  
I just hope He never asks me to get another perm.  
Note: Today's post is part of the CW blog chain. The topic is "Change". Please check out my sidebar, further down on the right, to see some great posts by other writers.