Growing into Me

I didn’t get in for a haircut before I left for my trip, a huge mistake I discovered. My family had worried that my weak neck would suffer under the weight of the helmet but the real issue became the itchiness when I got so hot. I imagined shaving my head bald during those long times between stops when I tried to stick a straw between the padding and my head, trying to scratch where my fingers couldn’t reach. Much like wearing a cast in the blazing sun, I was desperate for relief. As soon as we stopped, the helmet came off and I scratched furiously about my crown. I should have taken the time for a hair cut. I mentioned it at least 1 million times to my Chef in our daily calls. “Yes, my back is fine. My pelvis is still in place. I need a haircut!”  A minor thing became a huge annoyance, the mosquito effect.

The morning after our return I stopped at the first place open, a local men’s shop. I have gone there before since  a now wear my hair short. I am not huge on style anymore and the gal does a good job. I go with my Plum and Chef when they are getting styles, real ones. I skip the hot towel and shave. It has been working for me. Why would I think differently?  I ran in with no Plum or Chef. My gal wasn’t there. A new girl, who wanted to chat and I was still decompressing from the trip. Minimal answers to her questions. I am used to professionals understanding when I say cut the whole thing off knowing that this means they need to take control and just offer me some water. She asked those polite questions about why I had planned, I said I had just gotten back from a two week trip on a Harley and needed to figure out if my cats were still alive. I focused on the Olympics playing on every tv, regardless of how she turned my chair. She asked if I was into those. I said I hadn’t seen any coverage, needed to catch up. I really just wanted a haircut and some peace.

It turns out she just shy of shaved my head. It will be weeks before I can attempt at a style which I now think might be important. It occurred to me later that maybe she made an assumption about me based on the clues given, that maybe I was a lesbian. I certainly look for all outward appearances now as the stereotype. Not a lipstick lesbian.  I appear as if I should know how to use power tools. (This is the place where I say sorry to lesbians for stereotyping YOU!) My Chef who was so happy to have me home was quite taken aback when I got into the car.  “Holy Shit, ” I think was his supportive response. This haircut is not just a bad one, it is a statement. The problem is that for those who go to church with me, it is a statement that brings confusion. Did she mean to do that? Is there trouble in that marriage? What really happened on her trip? You know a haircut is bad when folks comment on your shoes. Shoes you have worn forever.

The deal is, I rushed, I didn’t tell the whole story and I got an identity that doesn’t fit. Someone else took pieces that I had laid out and made a choice of who I was and I have to live with that for a few weeks. Fortunately it’s just hair and it grows. Fortunately I don’t really care what others think of my sexual orientation except that has been a newsmaker in the past. Along about 1994, I stopped displaying any femininity. Baggy dark clothes to hide my body, no jewelry to enhance or draw attention, make up by the wayside, I stopped shouting that I am a woman  and instead whispered please don’t see me. I only recently started merging this other part of me back in, slowly, just a bit at a time. Putting in some earrings, wearing clothes that don’t blend into the woodwork. I am 52 years old and still working out my identity. I am still working out what I tell others affect how they see me. I know that I get to decide who I am but not telling also leaves them with little choice but to fill in the blanks.

I am learning, one bad haircut at a time. I am a Harley riding Grandma who loves cats and her family, not always in that order, who watches sports and sappy movies. I am a woman who is figuring out that earrings go with sweatshirts and mascara is ok. I haven’t worked up to lipgloss. What do you think of my shoes? My hair will grow along with my opportunities to be me.

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