Thursday, April 17, 2014

Naked Miracles... Or, We're Off To See The Wizard

When we last left our heroine, she had just cut off thirteen inches of hair and suddenly had no idea who she was... 

"If I ever go looking for my heart's desire again, I won't look any further than my own backyard.  Because if it isn't there, I never really lost it to begin with." -- Dorothy on The Wizard of Oz. 

When I was a kid, the good, color TV we had was in my parents' bedroom.  We didn't have cable or a VCR or even an Atari system.  I wasn't really aware that we were "missing out;" as it was I watched a lot of TV.  I was a big fan of Tom and Jerry, I Love Lucy, Sesame Street, the Cosby Show, and even 20/20 (I used to beg to stay up past my bedtime to watch it).  Every year there were two major events on TV that got my whole family excited.  One was the prime time showing of the movie Grease and the other was The Wizard of Oz.

I remember sitting on the floor and marveling as the film transitioned from sepia tones to full technicolor.  I was afraid of the Wicked Witch of the West and her flying monkeys, and I remember feeling complete terror when the Wizard left in the hot air balloon and left Dorothy behind.  "How is she going to get home?" I wondered.  I felt so relieved when Glinda the Good Witch showed up and taught Dorothy that she had the power to get herself home all along - but she had to learn for herself.  As she clicked her heels together and repeated "there's no place like home...there's no place like home..." I marveled at the fact that she was transported home.  I didn't really get it when my mom said that she was dreaming the whole time - in my mind, Dorothy went on a search, got lost along the way, and then got to go home.  

As I wrote last week, I started a novena to Saint Anthony in order to find "the One."  I've spent so many years searching for happiness and fulfillment in others (especially romantic relationships) that I never dreamed it could be in me all along.  I decided to relinquish my trauma and choose the miracle and realized that I am the miracle, therefore I choose me.   I finally see myself and I have a sense of joy within that I have craved my whole life.   This same sense of joy and freedom led me to cut off 13 inches of hair and now that I've learned to blow dry it correctly and my hair isn't in shock, it looks pretty damn sassy and cute.

Short hair selfie

I didn't feel so cute the first few days after cutting it.  I didn't regret cutting my hair, per se, but I wasn't prepared for how naked I felt.  I was afraid and insecure and I felt ugly and enormous.  I felt like people were staring at me as though I had a dragon tail or perhaps a second nose.  I ran my fingers through my hair and felt like I was missing a limb.  All the joy that led me to cut my hair was suddenly fighting with the creeping doubt that was taking over again.  I suddenly could sympathize with Samson, the Biblical character who had a pretty impressive head of hair.  When it was cut, he lost all his strength.  Cutting my hair meant I lost everything that made me special.  I felt like I lost my identity.

For years, I arrogantly held the notion that I didn't hide behind my hair.  I wore it pulled back all the time, and I rarely had my hair in my face.  I scoffed at the idea of hiding behind one's hair - I am a performer and community organizer - I am always speaking in front of people and I do so confidently.  Hiding isn't an option for me.  What I didn't realize is that there are lots of ways in which one can hide, and I was hiding behind the idea that my hair made me special.  In my mind, I was attractive because of my long hair.  If someone wanted to talk to me or date me or sleep with me it was because I had waist-length hair.  If someone complimented me, or found me to be funny or talented, it had to be because of my hair.  With all that hair gone, who was going to find me attractive?

Who was going to want me?

Short hair also made me realize that I felt a sense of security when it was long.  I felt like my long hair hid anything I didn't like about my body and with it gone, I felt exposed and naked.  I didn't want to leave my house and when I did, I wanted to wear sweaters or a coat (it was 70 degree weather, there was no way I could hide in my clothes).  I began to panic - "what did I do?  Why did I cut it?  I didn't need my hair this short!"

Yes, I do need it this short.  I had to cut my hair to finally see myself completely.  I had to stop hiding behind my hair, my insecurities, my past traumas, my body and the ridiculous notion that I am anything less than worthy of love and happiness.  Cutting my hair made me see myself and made me face my new reality: everything I am is everything I need.  The whole time I was running from relationship to relationship, making deals with the Universe, searching for my perfect partner, I was avoiding myself.  I didn't have a problem facing trauma; I didn't want to face the fact that I was healing and yes, I was finally in a better place.  I wanted to keep running because it's so much more familiar to be wounded than to be healed.

I finally got to a point where I couldn't outrun myself anymore.  I no longer have anything to hide behind.  I've stepped into the light and I see myself clearly.  I still don't always like what I see.  I don't always feel like I'm enough for myself.  I have moments when I still get lonely for a relationship, or I want to start running from myself again.  There is no perfect formula for healing - but the constant that remains is that I know I am my own anchor.  Anytime I begin to search elsewhere for happiness, I remember that it's within me - "if I ever go looking for my heart's desire again, I won't look any further than my own backyard."

Short hair, long hair, single, in love, running or standing completely still:  I am my own miracle, and this miracle loves her sassy, short hair.

Next time: Once Again, Babies.  

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