Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Anti-Rapunzel

Need some inspiration in your life?  I've got something for you today.  Something really good.

I promised you a make-over story, and today I will deliver.  Well actually, Lisa will deliver (I'll just provide the visuals).  Lisa is a good friend of mine, so obvi I know she's one amazing woman.  But this story made me love her humor, insight, and spunk even more.  And I know you will love her too.

So to start us off, here's Lisa before this haircut decision.  (And actually, this was taken a few moths ago, so imagine like an extra inch or two on that mane.)

{at BART before heading to the SF Ballet Opening Night Gala}

And this is Lisa after.

{also look here if you missed it}

A beauty, eh?  Well here's Lisa to tell you how she got the chutzpah to lose more than 13" (13" was just the pony tail!!!) and end 24 years of long hair:

When Ashley asked me to tell my story from my haircut, I felt a little nervous.  What would I say?  How could I express the emotions that came with getting rid of what I now refer to as an adult security blanket?  What will people think when I try to make such a simple and silly event sound profound?  [Oh gosh, this is how all guest bloggers start off their posts, isn’t it?  What-oh-what will I write?  I might as well have just described the lunch/bar setting and what the latest actress wore as she breezed across the room to greet me and my interviewing pen with a smile --- side note from journalism 101, mentally apologizing to all of my professors, but I digress.]

{pulling back the pony tail for one last time}

So, I got my haircut.  Big deal.  Big deal?  BIG DEAL??  Yes.  It was a big deal.  A very big deal.  And yet, coming out on the other end of it, it wasn’t such a big deal after all [insert shy, devious smile here].  Law school has done funny things to me.  Every once in a while I’m kept up at night by sheer fixation on change.  As in, I need a change, and fast.  Usually eased by a quick trip to a fabulous store’s online web address and my virtual “shopping cart,” a few digits of my Visa entered onto the screen moments later, and voila! I’ve had my fix. 

{snip snip!}

This year was different.  Never mind that I'd cruelly inflicted a personal budget that left no room for any quick "trips" to an online store; in January, I started pondering life after law school.  That soon, in a few short months, I would end this transitional period I had entered thinking it would sail me into adulthood, and go on with my life, with only a bruised self esteem, more than a few pounds, and a shifted cynical view to prove it.

{the tail, which promptly went into a plastic bag}

Would I really exit law school nearly exactly as I had entered, I asked?  Brunette with just a few more inches to my coif to prove that time had passed?  It was at that time that the itch for change returned.  Only this time, I needed a drastic change.  Law school is stagnant.  It is overbearing and constricting and a porthole into time just passing you by.  I needed something to change.  I craved it.  And because I was of course going to finish school, wasn’t planning on breaking up with my boyfriend, and had already begun another self “project,” the change was going to have to be in my appearance. 

What exhilarated me about cutting my hair this short was that it was scary.  Remember when I said law school was stagnant?  Well it's also comfortable.  Sure there are a few oral arguments and sometimes you talk in class, but mostly you're not pushing yourself in any meaningful way other than begging your mind to hang on a few more hours to get in some productive study time.  And maybe this isn't just law school, but maybe it's life?  That we become comfortable in our routines; that we forget that pushing ourselves every once in a while is not only good for our characters, but also good for our souls.  Cutting my hair would be scary.  It would force me to abandon a look I'd maintained for the last 15 years, give or take a few inches: hair to the shoulder; hair to my top rib.  Hair back to the shoulder.  Oh, a few more months?  Hair back to my ribcage.  It's boring just talking about it.  But it was also comfortable.

One of the things I realized in the months spent pondering my big change was that long hair was an “easy pretty.”  I have never considered myself typically pretty and, like most women, feel I have left much to be desired about my appearance.  But long hair was the one thing I had that was typically pretty.  Never died, never permed, my virgin hair had natural highlights and, at its length before the cut, was synonymous with pretty, beauty, and femininity – and here’s the kicker – even though it wasn’t.  Sure I my hair was pretty, and long hair is certainly more of that “pretty,” but I finally realized that the longer my hair got didn’t mean that the “pretty” factor would continue to grow in conjunction with its length.  

What’s more: I’d had enough of the safe pretty.  I’d had enough of staying comfortable in my own skin, going to school every day and feeling like something’s got to be done to shake things up.  It was time to do that something: scare myself, push myself to try something different, and embrace my appearance in a way I’d never needed to before.

{Lynn in action}

Have I lost it?  Have I spent too much time pondering hair as a pathway into change, renewal, and overall personal energy? 


{fancy fingers}

But I also know that cutting my hair, abandoning that “safe pretty,” and forcing myself to push my comfort zone for a new look that is not typical, or one that fits into a commercial definition of beauty and femininity, has allowed me to grow in a personal way that could not have been achieved by another trim, personal project, or closet reorganization.  Perhaps I am just antsy.  And perhaps law school and its stagnant culture and daily routine magnify that antsy-ness.  But the itch was scratched.  And I will now exit this period in my life looking different than when I started, and having pushed myself on both an intellectual and personal level. 

{the finishing touches...}

The lesson here?  Change is good.  But you likely already knew that.  The real lesson is to help yourself grow.  Help yourself pass through the normal life cycles of change and renewal by pushing yourself on a personal level.  Whether it’s law school that’s constricting you, your job, or simply your daily routine, shake things up in a way that challenges you to accept and embrace the change; and come out on the other end thinking that wasn’t such a big deal after all.

{Voila.  Change!}

Thank you so much for being inspiring and funny and smart on this Tuesday morning, Lisa!!!


Citizen Doe said...

this put a huge smile on my face, and i needed it! love you guys. xo (this is savala - don't know how to make this show up as anything other than "Citizen Doe" -- very ominous)

Ashley said...

LOL citizen doe!!!! I love it. I'm so glad you're here, commenting :)

Kelli Matthews said...

Lisa, you're amazing and beautiful and talented and crazy smart. And you look fantastic with short hair. I think it's "you." And I can't wait to see what this (seemingly) simple change inspires.

Sherry Carr-Smith said...

Love it! I had super short hair for more than a decade and now it's just past my collarbone. People don't know how big a change this is for me, but it makes me feel so different. Congrats on making a change, you're going to love it!

Melissa Fundora said...

Lisa you look stunning!

Ash- thanks for posting this during finals... just the perfect reminder to stay present but also see the big picture.

Rebecca said...

Wow this is so awesome! I wish I had the guts to cut it all off like she did =)

Dana Rosenberg said...

Well put Lisa-- you're awesome and I can totally relate. If only we all had the courage you do...and could look so fabulous while doing it :) xoxo

Lisa P. said...

Gosh what nice comments! I'll guest post any day! Thank you all for such kind words. That was fun :)

Ashley said...

I'm so excited you all loved this post as much as I did - isn't Lisa awesome? I'm lucky to have her as my friend :)

And Meli - no prob, I promise to continue to keep you distracted for the entire finals period!

Lauren said...

Lisa, to say it again, you are AMAZING & soooooo inspirational!!