Since having my girls I’ve changed my look about 1,000 times. When I say look I mean mostly my hair, although my makeup has gone through evolutions too. I get questions all the time about why and how. My cousin, who has been #bluntlife for all her life, even asked me if I was trying to reinvent myself then suggested I go on a crime spree because people would never know it was me. While this made me laugh, I will not be committing any illegal acts to see if I could get away with it. However, I’ll also not stop using my random look wheel to change my appearance whenever I feel like it (j/k there’s no wheel. I’d feel like it was telling me what to do).
I’ve even gotten the stink eye a time or two from my work associates, who seem to never see me with the same ‘do twice. I get it. They want me to look professional and stable, not as though I have a different facade for each of my many personalities ala Split.
In the past two years I’ve been blue black, which isn’t a far cry from my natural color. I’ve had shoulder length hair I’ve cut to a pixie. I’ve been bleach blond, enough so that my sister in law used the dreaded “Cinderella” to describe my look. I’ve dyed it burgundy, let it fade to a bubblegum pink, and then bleached it back to white. I’ve also lost a great deal of it to breakage since hair isn’t meant to be changed like outfits. Instead of getting upset over that, which was a legitimate option, I took it as an opportunity to introduce even more looks. I have wine red hair extensions that I love and, most recently, have started using a mix of black and blonde extensions that, when blended with my natural hair carefully, make it look like I have hair down to my rear end. I love it.
My husband, he just looks on with a sort of quiet patience. At most I’ll get a, “the red looks good today,” but not much else. He told me once I could be bald and he’d still think I was pretty. The great thing is I believe him. For so long, I couldn’t see myself as he sees me.
This isn’t going to be a rant about how I’ve never had confidence. That’s not true. I’ve almost always felt okay in my skin, a blessing I know a ton of women don’t have. However, I’ve always taken criticism really hard, especially if it came from people I love or respect. All I’d have to do is see my mother’s frowny face to feel incredibly stupid with any change in my appearance. I remember once in high school I had blonde chunky highlights put in on a rare occasion when I went to the salon by myself. Mom took one look at me when I got home, told me she didn’t like them and they looked cheap, and I went into a panic. I needed to change it back. I needed to change it back right NOW or terrible untold things would happen to me. It didn’t matter an ounce that I liked them. What mattered is that she was older, wiser, and beautiful, and she thought it looked bad. This is also not a rant about or against my mother. She didn’t like them. She expressed her opinion, not a crime.
But after having kids, I’m more comfortable with my body than ever before. It has done amazing things for me. It has grown, harbored life, gone through over sixty hours of excruciating labor (60+ hours and only two kids to show for it when, if the internet searched averages are to be believed, I should have seven and a half), and somehow shrunk down smaller than my initial pre-pregnancy weight. I have silver, tiger striped stretch marks. My face looks a bit older and thinner after gaining, losing, gaining again, and losing the weight again over just a few years’ time. I rock the sh*t out of a two piece anyways. I love my body, my story, my journey to get here. I love it, and I no longer care as much about what other people think of that. If I wake up and want red streaks in, then I put the red extensions in. If I wake up and want to look like Morticia Addams with my long black hair, then I do that. If, halfway through the day, I want to trade my Mrs. Addams look in for my natural shoulder length bob then I do. My look (or looks, plural) make me happy. And I’ve realized that’s all that matters. If someone out there doesn’t like them that’s really their problem, not mine. They are, of course, free to look away as needed.
The other day I changed my profile picture to one of me in a Batman mask. I look ridiculous and know it. The girls asked me, while pretending to be fighting the Joker (the most nefarious imagined bad guy in our household, even over Lord Voldemort), to be Batman. I whipped the mask my husband wore last Halloween out of the girls’ dress up bin and secured it on my face while announcing in my deepest voice that I was “Batmom, defender of toddlers everywhere!” A few years ago I would never have taken and certainly never have posted a picture of me in that silly getup. Now, now I’m proud of it. I was playing with my kids. They were having fun. I was having fun entertaining them. I don’t care if the internet knows it or thinks I look odd. This is me. I like it. Deal with it. I’ll probably look different tomorrow. Deal with that, too.
In many ways I’m so much more controlled as a mom. I keep my temper much more carefully in check, as I should. I no longer sit for hours at book stores, since I simply don’t have the free time to blissfully waste away and would rather be with my kids anyhow. My penchant for peppering my speech with expletives, my tone, even my TV choices are all much mellower now, as I’m always keeping in mind the two little ones who learn by everything I do and don’t do. However in this I’m freer than ever before. I hope they’re learning that, too.