Poetry & Blog

Becoming Ugly

I chopped off all my hair. I went to the beauty salon, sat in the chair, did the damn thing with out shedding a tear. The entire experience was completely therapeutic. I walked into the salon, asked for the hairdresser that had been recommended to me. She sat me down in her chair, ran her fingers through my hair.

“Are you sure you want me to cut all of this off?”

“Yes.”

“Why?”

“I want to force myself to face my insecurities. To look in the mirror and cry through the hurt consistently. I want short. Very short.”

I might have shocked her with my honesty, but she didn’t flinch. Instead she took her hands and placed them on my cheeks.

“I used to be like you,” she said. “I used to be my own worst enemy. I’m 56 years old. It’s been a journey. I’m still learning. It’s a journey–a process.”
The process of getting my hair cut was phenomenal. Each step from washing, drying, and eventually cutting was all very rhythmic.

Everyone searches for that one “movie moment”, the moment of perfect clarity in which their entire future presents itself in front of them. I thought my moment was going to be the haircut. I thought that after chopping my hair I’d feel some sort of release. Unfortunately, there is never one moment. For myself, it has happened quite slowly. In fact it’s been slowly unraveling since the rape. For the first time, I don’t know how to deal with my boiling anger. Should I laugh it away? Should I scream?

Where is the boiling anger coming from? From unrealistic beauty standards. From men. From my previous post, I made it clear that the point of my haircut was an act of rebellion–a way to force myself to face my insecurities. However, the most pertinent reason was to become repulsive. To become as repulsive as I can in order to insult men. So I cut my hair.

Now, I DO know that they are many attractive women who have short hair. I get that. But for me, hair has always been a huge part of my life. From a young age having long hair was deemed to be a measure of beauty. Especially in the black community–the longer, the thicker, the better. Even through the hair cutting process, my hairdresser ( a black woman herself) asked me 5 times before taking the scissors to my mane.

“Are you sure you want to cut it off? Are you really sure you want this gone?”

I cut my hair on Friday. On Saturday, I made a vow to rock my haircut for an entire day. I went to synagogue in the morning, and was graced with comments from co-workers AND students about the new cut.

“Why did you cut your hair off?” “Oh my gosh! I didn’t recognize you?” “Wow! Is this a new you?” “I wish you hadn’t cut it!” “You look better with long hair!”

I had put myself in the spotlight–a spotlight that I hadn’t wanted. Cutting my hair wasn’t about getting attention. It was about running away from it. Just like my eating disorder isn’t about getting attention. It’s about shrinking–becoming so small, that I become invisible. But, ah. I digress. … I spent the day with myself on Saturday. I took myself out in public. I tried to gauge at how other people were viewing me. Had I done it? Had I officially become “ugly”?

The next morning was hard. In the bathroom It was just my face starring back at me in the mirror. All face. No hair. I cried. What had I done? I washed my face. Brushed my teeth. Grabbed my wig and placed it on my head. I knew I had cheated myself. But, I continued. Got dressed. Went to work.

Vanity is the reason that I refuse to rock my short cut to work (I bought extensions/a wig). Vanity is the reason I’m having a hard time “quitting makeup”. Vanity is the reason I hired a personal trainer to whip my body into shape. However, through all this, I can’t deny my current impulse to become as ugly and unattractive as possible. My hope is to cause some sort of minor destruction to men–men who have not only taken my body for their own uses, but men who choose to take away my reproductive rights. Men who grab women by the pussies and then go on to become presidents.

So, what happens now? Do I dive head first into ugliness? Or do I wade in? Or do I quit the entire process all together?

XXX,

Tari

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