Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Samson and Delilah

I am beginning to fear one of my favourite hobbies is baiting hairdressers. I had a quick lunchtime appointment and, as usual, spent most of it asking their opinion on whether I should cut/style/colour my hair, watching their eyes light up, knowing full well I am not ready yet to do anything!

My hair is the sort that hairdressers itch to style properly. It’s long, thick, and is my mother’s colouring – a browny/reddy/streak-of-copper. At first glance it is the sort of hair people envy – usually for one of the reasons above. But would they envy what my hair signifies to me, I wonder?

  • I’ve worn it long ever since I realised I could hide behind it. That was many years ago now.

  • I’ve worn it long ever since my long term boyfriend told me he wouldn’t fancy me if I cut it as I’d look like a boy. Thanks for that, oh ex of mine.

  • I’ve worn it long as I didn’t care enough about myself to style it.

  • I’ve worn it long as I think if I cut it I’d be invisible.

  • I’ve worn it long as I think nothing else about me is worth a second look.

  • I’ve never dyed it as people tell me I’m lucky to have this colouring.

  • I’ve never dyed it as I’m scared of losing myself. Sometimes I feel so insubstantial that I fear a change would make me shatter.

  • I’ve never dyed it as I think the colour is the only thing that makes me 'me'.

Since when did I turn into Sampson? Is my hair seriously the only strength I think I have? Over the years, sad to say, this is exactly what I did think. It’s not good being that unconfident, and takes a very long while to change, but this year is all about embracing the change, growing as a person. It’s been a long time coming! But the confidence is stirring, very slow but sure, and finally I am starting to believe in myself, that I am a substantial person, that I signify, that I matter.

You’ll know the change is complete when I cut my hair. To everyone else it will just be a new hairstyle. But between you and me, it will mean the world.

Image: Samson and Delilah c. 1615, by Gerrit Van Honthorst


Wendy Ramer said...

So honest and beautiful, Jayne. If I may offer my two-cents, as a brunette who spent good money through her 20s and 30s to be a redhead, the only point I think you might stick to is not coloring. If your hair is truly a remarkable color, I'd hold since dye damages the hair forever and takes away natural shine.

As for the rest, I'm rooting (no pun intended) for you. Strong self-esteem goes a lot farther than long hair. (And short hair can always grow back...remember that.)

Old Kitty said...

Oh wow - I envisage you with pre-raphaelite locks!!! Wow!!

I hope you find the confidence to enjoy your hair, yourself and your beauty!

I hope you find that you no longer need to hide behind your locks -stunning though they are!! - but that you do find the belief and confidence to be happy with yourself.

Take care

Aubrie said...

If your coloring is beautiful, then you should keep it. I have the same problem: my hair is golden blond and because it's such a nice color I've never touched it. It's expensive to color or highlight and it damaged your hair. So, I'm kind of stuck like you. I get tired of the same old same old sometimes, but I guess we're lucky in the end.

TS Hendrik said...

I used to try avoiding getting my hair cut as much as possible. I liked it being long because I felt like I could hide behind it. It also probably didn't help that my mother told me she originally wanted to name me Sampson.

RawknRobynsGoneBlogWild said...

It is amazing how much meaning a hairstyle carries for a woman. I love the picture too. Thanks for the follow. I'm glad to follow you too.

Pat Tillett said...

Oh Yeah, I know exactly what you mean. Everybody always "wanted" my hair because it was so thick and curly. The only reason they could say that is because they never had to LIVE WITH IT...
thanks for commenting and signing on at my place. I'm liking what I see here and if you con't mind, I'm going to tag along!

mise said...

I've had the same style (or non-style) for years too, because I hate hairdressers so much and don't care for artifice in that one regard. But you sound as though you like your hair, so perhaps you should counterbalance those reasons why you haven't cut it with that good reason why you didn't. It sounds lovely.

Ed Pilolla said...

this is so great. can i confess? i had beautiful, naturally curly hair that made a crown of thorns around my head. then, as happens to a lot of guys, i lost a lot of hair. i'm still in the process of regaining my personal positive energy about my looks becuz of it. yeah, our hair is a major thing in some of our lives. some of us can really relate to sampson.
great post. here from the piedmont writer.

Talli Roland said...

Cut! Cut! Cut! :)

I am all about changing hair. It will grow back! Just be certain you want it before you go for it.

Anonymous said...

I've had my hair long for years, too, and I've always felt the same: as though my hair is my only "pretty" feature. When I finally cut it (not short, but still), I felt so much better. Though I still feel insecure, it was a step forward.

You definitely should cut it when you feel ready. :)

Fran said...

Don't dye, don't dye!

Happy Frog and I said...

I have very long thick brown hair that I have coloured for several years due to it starting to go grey quite young in my life.

I had 13 inches cut off 10 years ago on a New Years eve and it was a bit too much too soon to be honest. I did feel invisible after I did it.

However, I'd be happy to have short hair now, it was my self esteem that was the problem, not the length or colour of my hair.

I wish you all the best, whatever you decide to do.

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

Look at it this way, wearing it long means you can put it up when you wish and become a different person! At least that's what I do.

Eliza said...

Your hair sounds lovely Jayne. You hide behind your hair, I hide behind a name - no more *gulp* my Deed Poll arrived today!

The Words Crafter said...

I completely understand. I'm very much the same way. I also have glasses to hide behind. I won't go back to contacts mainly because of that...my hair is strawberry blonde. When I was young, I was teased mercilessly. Now, I'm kind of glad for the color...keep the color! I admire your bravery. I'm getting mine cut Sat! eeek!

The Words Crafter said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Alliterative Allomorph said...

Interesting that you feel that way. I've never cared about my hair all that much. I've cut it, dyed it, shaved it, fringe, straigtened, curled, braided, coloured extentions, THE WORKS! Love feeling like a new refreshed person every time too :o) Good luck! Don't feel so sad about it. Embrace the change. It'll probably do you good!

Carol Kilgore said...

I'd love hair like yours. Enjoy it. Mine is Hair From Hell.

Erica Mitchell-Spickard said...

This is was like reading about me, I completely understand this. I have long, thick, golden-blonde hair that people envy. I usually think it a curse but I have NEVER cut it above my shoulders and all of those reasons you listed is why. My hair became my identity as young as I can remember because I had so much of it as a child and all the mothers wished their daughters had that much hair to braid, do fun things with etc. I don't know if I could ever cut it D: It's hard to explain how this one thing holds so much identity and self esteem. Thank you for sharing cause I truley do understand. :)

TeaTimeandRecords said...

Kind of funny actually! I am a hair stylist and I work at an Aveda salon named Samson& Delilah's! I get people like you all the time, sometimes its just good to come in and talk things out- even if you don't get anything done! I do hope you find what you are looking for.

Priya Parmar said...

wow did that resonate. i had long hair--not thick lustrous hair, just long hair. i was stubborn and would not cut it. and then in the last decade it has been slowly shifting and is now super short, choppy and streaked with blond. i am not even sure how it happened. self confidence is definitely linked to hair.

Anonymous said...

What poignant honesty. Here's hoping you get the cut - or else choose to keep your hair exactly as it is, a crowning glory (not a way to hide.)

My best to you,

the victorian heroine

Jayne said...

Wendy – thank you for your lovely comment, and thanks for rooting for me! Will keep that in mind re: the dye.


Old Kitty – The Pre-Raph’s are my favourite Art movement – absolutely love them, so I do love that comparison thank you. And oh I wish... belief and confidence – yes, I’ll get there!

Aubrie – yes that is very true.


TS – Oh no! Long hair can be a convenient retreat.

Robyn – It totally is, and thank you!


Pat – Haha – yes, absolutely know what you mean. And I’d love you to tag along – cheers!

Jayne said...

Mise – Good point. I guess I have a love / hate relationship with it (which prob means I have a love / hate relationship with me, in a way...)


Ed – Great point about the personal positive energy – and I hope you continue to regain and build upon yours! Thank you for popping by, appreciated.


Talli – ha! If only it was so easy for me (and yes, I hear you – it IS that easy!)


Sandy – Thanks for that – so good to hear from someone else who felt the same. And that is brilliant you felt better by going for it – gives me hope!


Fran – it seems the consensus is no!

Jayne said...

Happy Frog – Interesting you say it was too much too soon. I was thinking that when I did go for it I would go the whole hog and just chop it, but it would be more than 13 inches, and maybe it would feel too drastic. Maybe I should do it in stages when ready? Something to think about. And yes, it is totally a self-esteem problem... you are right that in the end it has nothing at all to do with the length or colour of my hair. :)


Pamela – That is true, although it is very heavy and will not rest easy if put up. But this could more be my inaptitude with clips!


Oh Eliza, I also hide behind a name... ‘Jayne Ferst’ is a pseudonym. I hide behind everything given half the chance. But I am so excited for you about your deed poll arriving!

Jayne said...

The Words Crafter – your hair colour sounds gorgeous! I bet those kids that teased you were secretly jealous – so often teasing in children translates to jealousy. I hope your hair cut went well, and you are enjoying the new you!


The Alliterative Allomorph – I am so impressed with people that just got for it with their appearance. So much better to be like that! I do think by the time I do finally embrace the change that it will do me the world of good.


Hi Carol – Hee! Don’t be fooled – it can also be the hair from hell! But thank you for reminding me it can be nice.


Hi Erica – Thank you for sharing that – like Sandy above, it is so good to hear from someone else who feels the same about their hair. It sounds like we have had similar experiences, and yes, my hair is completely tied in with my identity and self-esteem (or lack of it). It is funny that neither of us have dared to cut it above our shoulders!

Jayne said...

Hi Tea Time and Records (it always sounds funny when you only know someone’s blog name!) How lovely to hear from someone on the other side of the scissors so to speak. Yes I imagine you do get folk like me a lot – sometimes as the stylist says what I ‘could’ do with my hair I sort of see it, and dream it, and for a while in that chair I live it... Sometimes I need that escapism so much!


Hi Priya. Your hair is gorgeous and suits you so much. It totally is linked – and I can’t wait until I feel free of myself (odd thing to think, but hey ho!) and experiment.


Hi Corra. Thank you for your good wishes for either decision. Your website is lovely, by the way, and will add it to my blog list!