This morning is the first time in over two decades that I’ve woken up with really, properly short hair. I’ve been playing around the edges of a shorter ‘do for a handful of years now, but last night, I committed to going pixie. Or a kinda long, shaggy, pixie. I feel a little like a lost Beatle. There’s definitely a 1968 vibe. . . In any case, it is not longer than a handful of inches on the sides, my ears show, there’s nothing hanging down the back of my neck. And when I jumped out of the shower this morning to figure out what to do with it, how to use my limited hair styling skills and interest to make it “presentable” for work, you know what I noticed?
I felt better, more at peace, with my body. My body?!
Here’s the thing. Before this morning, I would have described myself at a place of body acceptance, fairly neutral emotionally about the shape and size of my body. I don’t always love it; I certainly don’t hate it. It is. It is me. It gets me around to the places I want to go, and it mostly lets me do the things I want to do. This hasn’t always been the case. There were years of deep dislike for my body, especially my thighs and calves, which are large and strong, and have been for all the years except those directly after the most serious phases of some health issues.
My big thighs have always made off-the-rack women’s jeans a near impossibility, with a huge waist gap to accommodate the room I need below. Wide-calf boots are often still too narrow. And I’m always at least one size larger on my lower body than my upper body, making many dress styles and fitted women’s garments pretty much off limits.
When I was younger and perhaps more androgenous (or at least more gender fluid) in my presentation, I solved this challenge by simply wearing men’s clothes, which tend to be looser and more forgiving of differences in body shape. I liked that they were utilitarian–made to cover and protect my body, not to put it on display. There was perhaps a decade when I wore men’s clothes 80-90% of the time.
And here is where I think we get back to the haircut. This style is bringing me back to more openly expressing my queer self authentically. It’s a subtle nod that I don’t connect with the femmey rules of body presentation–that these days I’m letting go of that feeling, that implied need to show up in ways that others define as acceptable. And that queer self? Doesn’t care about the shape of my body or putting it on display. I don’t have to meet someone else’s expectations of womanhood, squeeze into a pencil skirt and attempt to deemphasize the size of my thighs or calves. I can just be me.
Women’s beauty standards, the way we are expected to prance about on display for others to take note of and judge, have always annoyed me. I didn’t realize that I was still judging myself against them still until just now, in this moment that I’ve cut my hair. Makes me want to go clothes shopping in the men’s department.
Hey, you made it this far. Would you do me a favor and share this post with someone you think would enjoy it? Thanks!