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Hair Aspirations (and the battle within)

This post is one I never thought I would ever write…and (understandably) it’s taken me a week to do it.  There are some things in my life I’m scared to bring to light…to share in such a public place.  But the more I battle through this THING in my life, the more I realize I need to get it out (because the more I hide, the more I’m able to deny I have a problem).

*deep breath*…alright…enough stalling…let’s do this…
Call me shallow, call me vain…but I have always dreamed of having hair like this…

 

 

…or this…

 

 

…or even this…

 From celebrityredcarpet.co.uk

Beautiful, no?

Unfortunately for me, when I sit upon that salon chair and the scissors descend upon my tresses, I always end up with something similar to this.
Straight, parted to the side, with side bangs – so typical, so redundant, so BLAH!
I don’t have enough confidence in my hair to try anything other than this tried and true style.  I’ve mentioned in a post a while ago (here) that I’ve never had a great relationship with my hair.  Well, there’s a reason for that.  To put it bluntly, I don’t take very good care of my hair.  In fact, I do something that most people around me find appalling and cannot seem to wrap their heads around.
I pull out my hair.  Constantly.

And by “pull out,” I don’t mean handfuls at a time like they do in cartoons.  I pull out hairs one or few at a time.  In fact, if you have been around me, it’s very possible you have seen me do this.  It’s almost involuntary now, this hair pulling, and I don’t even realize I’m doing it half the time.  Of course, with the constant pulling out of the follicles, it’s pretty easy to see how my hair would end up like THIS…

…getting a little thin on top…

And this doesn’t even scratch the surface.  Much of the inner layers of hair on either side of my head is gone/slowly growing back (only to be plucked again here and there).  You can’t see it, but my hair isn’t just thin…it’s SPARSE.  This makes it difficult to cut/style, and I always feel bad for anyone who attempts to do so.  So I just ask them to do what they can, and this is normally what we end up with.  And even if they do try to style it, it’s what I end up with when I try to style it myself.

So, knowing all this, why do I keep pulling my hair out?  Apparently, there’s a word for this behavior.  It’s called “trichotillomania” – an impulse control disorder characterized by the compulsive desire to pull out one’s hair. While I haven’t been officially diagnosed, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to put the pieces together. The inability to resist the urge to pull out hair to the point where bald spots appear, both the conscious and unconscious pulling of hair, and the associations with other psychological issues – depression, frequent anxiety, etc…it all adds up.  And with every hair pulled, there is a feeling of relief.  Yes.  Relief.

(Curious? Learn more at the Trichotillomania Learning Center website.)
I’ve had many people in my life ask me why I do it, if it hurts to do it, or why I just don’t stop it…and my answers are always the same:
I don’t know why I do it.
No, it doesn’t hurt to do it.
I wish I could just stop doing it.

I’ve tried to stop myself.  I’ve tried to cut my hair short so I wouldn’t feel I would need to pull out my hair.  Even my friends (because they love me so much) have tried to keep me accountable.  But for the past 22 years, and I’ve not been able to “get over it” and stop pick at and pulling out my hair.  It’s not that I don’t WANT to stop (after all, I want a stunning head of hair like the pictures at the beginning of this post).  But I’ve come to realize, after many years of self reflection and muddling over this issue, that none of the methods I have used to try and stop this habit scratches the surface of the root problem.  There is something dark and ugly in me that doesn’t allow me to feel comfortable with myself.  So I feel have to try and tear pieces of me away, giving me that facade of getting rid of the ugly.

I want to be beautiful…and I have a need to pull out 
everything in me that I don’t think is beautiful.

And it’s not simply the ugliness of imperfection I see in my hair.  It’s the imperfection I see in ME!  It’s the physical flaws I see in the mirror.  It’s the things I do (or cannot do) that make me feel inadequate.  It’s all the people I disappoint along the way because I cannot be what they want/expect me to be (yes, I’m a people-pleaser).  It’s so much more than just hair…it’s dissatisfaction (or more accurately, UTTER LOATHING) I have of myself…and my obsessive-compulsive need to make myself “perfect”.

So I want to know, all of you who thinks I should just “stop it”…how?  
How do I just get over this?  What therapy or medication will make me
accept myself for who I am…and who I want, but cannot, be? 
The answer is simple – I CAN’T!  No earthly power/treatment can.  I have a problem that I (or anything else around me for that matter) cannot fix.  So I need One, who is so much greater than me or anything else, to remind me over and over again that, while I am inadequate by my own power, I’m so much more capable by His.  I need to be reminded of grace that overcomes all of my ugliness and shortcomings, if I’m willing to believe, accept, and trust.  In short, I need something I cannot, and none of my loved ones, can offer me.
I need to be changed…way deep inside where no one other than He can reach.
So perhaps by writing this blog, it is my first step in the process of seeking true and lasting healing in Him.  Maybe it will be another one of my failed attempts at breaking myself of this habit.  It will be a struggle…and it’s a long road to healing.  But I know my success will depend on who I rely on to guide me down that road.  Will it be me?  Or will it be Him?
Lord, let it be You…because I can’t do this on my own.

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