Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Identity Crisis

***Quick caveat- I wrote this over a month ago, but for some reason never got around to publishing it.  Oh Mommyhood...

Apparently every 4 years or so I feel the need to do something drastic, so I take it out on my hair.  I had a pretty good reason this time as Arella's little fingers were getting so intertwined in my curls it was hard to get her untangled sometimes.  Plus my molting season has apparently begun, and I clogged up the drain and the vacuum cleaner with my shedded remnants.  Classy, I know.

Since I discovered my freshman year in high school that my hair wasn't just frizzy, it had turned curly, I've loved it.  In college a few times I felt I needed a change in my life, so I took began to take it out on my hair- dyeing it, bleaching it (really bad decision!), chopping it.  I really wanted to shave it at one point, but I think that would've made my mom cry, so I left that to GI Jane.  Apparently, my hair had become my outlet.

My hair had gotten really long going into the 2004 Olympics, so following the Games, I chopped it big time again and donated 12 inches to Locks of Love.  I guess I forgot to cut my hair for the next few years, because it got really long again going into the 2008 Olympics.  So of course, following the Games I chopped it again, donated 8 inches to Pantene's Beautiful Lengths.  This time around I had about 8 inches again and let Visible Changes donate it.

When my hairstylist chopped off that braid, I immediately felt a weight lifted off my shoulders- one less hassle to deal with!  Welcome to Mommyhood, hair style included.  I felt so good walking out of there, but then I got home and just wasn't happy with the "do."  I didn't really care so much because it is WAY easier right now, but sometimes it makes me feel like I'm going through an awkward stage again.  Can't we leave that back in junior high?!

It really started to bother me that my hair style bothered me so much.  I never seem to like it when I cut it short, but yet I get tired of it long and always chop it.  So why don't I like it short?  I began to dwell on this, certain I could get to the bottom of this big stupid hair crisis mystery.  Then a light bulb showed up over my head.

I like my hair, and I like the way it looks long. This is the way people know me, this is the way I see myself.  With it cut short, it's like I'm having a little identity crisis.  The way I identify myself and they way others identify me, is often by my hair.  It sounds a little silly to write on here for all the world to see, but if I'm being honest, my identity is a little bit wrapped up in the way I look, in my hair.  It's a feature people always notice and give me compliments on.  It's a feature that I'm usually pretty content with.  And I just went a got rid of it.

It's made me realize that maybe I let myself wrap my identity in my hair a bit too much.  And that's not the only thing I've let myself be defined by- diving is my other biggie.  It's no secret I've always loved diving and had some pretty amazing experiences through diving, but I have let it define my life a bit.  Now, I'm not saying these are bad things.  We have talents and passions that very much define our path in life, but it's easy to let even good things take over too much of our life and begin to define who we are and not just the route we're taking.

What I've realized through my mini identity crisis this week, is that I've let many things in this world (including my appearance) define who I am.  When those things are taken away, I feel lost, abandoned, exposed.  But they are just things in this world that I'm clinging to way too tightly!  I'm learning once again to let the things of this world go.

"Do not let your adorning be external- the braiding of hair, the wearing of gold, or the putting on of clothing- but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God's sight is very precious."  1 Peter 3:3-4