A Very Bad Hair Day

Apparently, my hair is my life. Believe me, I am as surprised by this fact of vanity as anyone. Had you checked with me about my philosophy of life a mere ten days prior, I can assure you that my hair would not have made the cut for my Top Ten Important Things.

Sure, I’ve had the typical number of issues with my hair over the years, but since I’ve always had plenty of it, I had options. That is until that day when I got a bad haircut.

I could go into long and agonizing detail, but suffice it to say I went in with a full head of hair and came out five pounds lighter. Let’s just say that Mr. Salon Owner (not exactly your Edward Scissorhands) thinned me out—a technique only fitness trainers should attempt.

To say I was beside myself is to make a gross understatement. I cried. No, I wailed. I shampooed, conditioned, blow-dried and styled. But to no avail. What hair remained was thin and stringy—a situation without possibility of repair. I didn’t need extensions, I needed a miracle. Only time could heal my broken heart. Not even my husband’s choice words of compassion (“It doesn’t look any different to me …”) could console me.

A year. That’s how long it would take for all the short layers to grow out to a respectable length. In fact, I told my dearest friends to mark the date on their calendars. I would not be fully happy again until a year from that Friday.

Over the following few days, something remarkable took place. Being jerked from my haircare rut forced me to learn some new techniques. I tried a new hair product (can you say “volumizing?”), I perfected a new styling technique. I chose to see this situation through new eyes. I got a new attitude. I decided I could choose to be miserable, or I could grow up. Believe me, the words shallow and self-absorbed crossed my mind and not in a welcoming way.

Everything is going to be okay, became my new mantra. In fact, ten days does make quite a difference not only in hair but in all kinds of life surprises. Time does heal, and attitude changes can make all the difference.

What I was sure would take a year to placate required less than a month. Perhaps even a couple of weeks. I have to admit that the new feeling of “lightness” was not all bad. I didn’t have a single headache for days on end; my hair dried in half the time and I saved a fortune in shampoo.

I’m determined to not forget the lesson of my bad haircut. Any initial jolt in life whether financial, physical, relational or spiritual—can hit us in such a way as to completely skew our vision. It’s difficult to see the big picture because we are too close to the event. But choosing to step back to see the situation in a better light and from a different perspective can do wonders. What appears to be hopeless one day, isn’t quite so bad the next and can even help us to grow and be better after a little time has passed.

Of course a great can of hairspray can’t hurt.

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Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Luisa

    Good story with a good point, Mary. Some of the changes that have most disturbed me have been among the best things that ever happened to me.

  • Sherry Flowers

    How 6.6 million women would love to have your, so called, frightening dilemma. (I’m not being snarky) This topic touched me personally and I felt compelled to comment. We have to admit at first glance a woman’s hair speaks volumes about her beauty. It’s part of our identity. In part it’s how society judges us. We cut, style, color, grow, braid, put up in a messy bun, shampoo and condition with the most luxurious products because we love our hair. What I’d give to have a bad hair DAY, WEEK, MONTH again! Not a life long sentence of having to wear a cap, of sorts, every single day of my life. My hair is thinning to the point that I can no long conceal my scalp? I no longer feel attractive. I start my day, every day, like any other person, showering, dressing, and putting on my make-up to feel marginally attractive but the one difference is I also have to put on my cap. No matter where I go I have to wear a cap. Consider what it’s like to have to shop for or wear a wig? If I’m wearing my wig can I go outside if the wind is blowing? What about finding a beautician that is skilled in cutting and styling a wig? How many times have you diverted your eyes when you saw a women with thin hair? Being grateful for thick luxurious hair and a bad hair day is a blessing.

  • Bookworm

    I wish you had told us what you use for volumizing. I recently discovered hair powder. My hair is thinning with age, and hair powder is my salvation. But your point is well taken. Some things just aren’t the major setback they appear to be at first. Thank you.

  • Cath

    Well said. A good lesson for us all. I’m going through a rough patch now and need all the emotional support I can get. Regarding short hair, I gradually worked my way to a fairly short haircut and, while it may not be dazzlingly beautiful, I sure love how it feels. I particularly love not having hair in my face when I look down, or when I’m outside on a windy day. I always chuckle at men who wear their hair long. I want to tell them they’re lucky to be able to wear it really short. What’s the point of wearing it long? It certainly isn’t attractive. Just extra work. How about some photos of your new do? I like the one just to the right of the comment box.

  • MSGOOCH

    You think YOU had a bad hair day? I was a receptionist in a beauty parlor in N.Y. One of the stylist told me he knows a way to frost and perm a hair in one shot. I said “REALLY!!!!” He said “REALLY.” So guess what? You got it. Most of my hair fell out. Thank goodness it was summer. I had a crew cut all summer long. Just sign me STUPID.

  • Shelley Holmes

    Thank you Mary. I’m going through a terrible, terrible emotional time which has nothing to do with money or work. I’m fighting hard to keep a positive attitude so I can look at the situation differently. Unexpectedly, your column touch me in a very emotional but helpful way. Thank you.

  • Amanda

    Unfortunately, many of us have experienced a bad hairdresser, but thankfully, it does grow back! In my case, it was my aunt who decided she didn’t like my down-to-my-backside hair & chopped it shoulder length. Mind you, I was no teenager, but an adult pregnant with my 3rd child. I thought my husband was going to have a heart attack when I came home! I forgave her, but never allowed her near my head again.

  • Sandra

    That’s a beautiful Angora goat! As to haircuts…recently, due to an unfortunate mis-communication on my part, my hair was cut much shorter, with layers (which are also awful on me) than I wanted or liked. Fortunately, hair grows and in 3 months, it won’t matter. In the meantime, I finger comb and avoid mirrors. lol