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My Hair. My Sexy. Me.
I grew up with my hair cascading down past my butt. It was kind of my thing- a symbol of my girliness that I easily allowed to represent me.
Fast forward to my twenties and my hair took on a whole new power. It was long, it was curly and with it held a great deal of my sexuality. For most of my twenties I was fed by the positive reinforcement I received from both men and women. I was the sexy one. And this was a role I took on proudly and loudly.
I remember one time I was at a bar in Sea Isle, NJ surrounded by a group of sweaty, drunk, young professionals, cherry jelly shots staining their tongues as they yelled, “Go hot girl go! Go hot girl go!” I was dancing my short shorts off, long curls swinging behind me and eating up every second of it, along with my jello shots.
And it’s perfectly ok for a woman to be sexual and hot and vivacious and to flaunt it up and down the street. I’m cool with this. But for me there was one problem. It fed me in a very unhealthy way. I was insecure and clung to this status like a kuala on a bamboo tree. I always needed to be the hottest girl in the room. And often times I made sure of this by making a spectacle that worked the crowd like an art form. I was goooood.
And my hair was a huge part of this. From my head hung curly wisps of sexual energy that attracted men like Medusa’s snakes. It was effortless. And didn’t feel like a problem. Until I realized it was.
And then in the summer of 2009 I chopped it all off. I remember that moment in the hair salon. It was the most dramatic cut my stylist ever had. It felt like 500 tons were lifted off of me. I donated it all to locks of love.
At that time everything in my life was changing- the food I ate, my relationship with alcohol, my friendships and on the top of that list was the BIG realization that I allowed myself to be sexualize by men in a way that continued to disintegrate my self esteem. In other words, the way I put myself out to the world was for them, not for me.
And it’s not a coincidence that all of these changes coincided with my very first service trip to Cambodia (after fundraising $20,000 with Off the Mat Into the World). My world was rocked and the mirrors started to shatter. I was slowly rediscovering myself and realizing that my looks weren’t the most important piece. I was starting to dive into who I really was. And after teacher yoga for six years it was about time.
Over the following years I kept my hair short, donated dozens of high heels I no longer identified with and started meeting men who didn’t score the women they met (seriously, I hung out with guys like this and so desperately needed to be accepted by them). I covered up my body and let go of the need to be sexy. Basically I went to the other end of the spectrum. Afraid of misrepresenting my new self, I kept my sexuality quarantined.
And in the last year or two I’ve once again found a new relationship with my hair, my sexuality and myself. And I must say it feels the most authentic. After 7 years of short hair I’m finally growing it out. A few years back I tried to grow it out as well but wound up cutting it. I now see that back then I was wanted to grow my hair for my partner. Not just for me. And the reason it feels right now is that it felt safe to be in my body in a sexual way on my terms.. To reclaim my sexiness and put it out to the world. And while I felt very sexy with short hair as well, long hair feels different for me.
What I am still learning is that a woman’s sexiness is sacred and hers. As a woman it’s hard not to be conditioned by the messaging out there telling us what sexy is (long hair included). Our sexy is shamed. Our sexy is ridiculed. Our sexy is commercialized. Our sexy is objectified. And for a long time I thought that meant that I needed to let go of sexy. But that’s not it at all. I needed to let go of societies idea of sexy.
And I’m not saying that I don’t find subscribe to societies sexy at all. I wear make up. I have a few new pairs of heels. And I’m growing my hair long. And I’m also not saying that I don’t look to my partner to tell me I look good. Because at times, it do. Old habits die hard.
But the difference is that at 36 years old I’m reclaiming my right to be a sexual being on my terms. And right now this goddess wants curly long hair. For ME.