Friday, February 5, 2010

Growing my mojo back

I feel old. And washed-up, physically and emotionally.

I think it started when I got my hair cut, somewhere between Thanksgiving and Christmas. It had been long - halfway down my back - and the weight of it in my ubiquitous ponytail was giving me headaches. I figured it was getting to be time for my once-every-two-years haircut, and I looked forward to a change.

In the hairdresser's chair, I confessed that I am not "good at" hair, and that I'd like a 'do that is low-maintenance while still stylish and youthful. She was excited by the challenge I presented, bringing forth countless hair magazines and style books for study. "What about this one?" she asked of a hairstyle that, to me, looked identical to the last three she had shared. I shrugged (again) and said, "Sure - whatever you think."

Eventually she settled on a look sported by Sandra Bullock on the cover of some woman's magazine. The cut was just above the shoulder, with sexy toussled waves and long, side-swept bangs. Sandra looked like she'd just had great sex while being done up by a makeup artist at the same time.

Yeah, okay, I'll have what she's having.

The stylist started snipping, and I felt good. Lighter. Ready to embrace my new look. Not scared at all, because it's just hair, right? And I felt proud when she held up the two fat braids that we were going to donate. Oh, and relaxed because I was there on a Saturday when Jason could be home with the kids, and I was sitting in a comfy chair with no little people trying to show me artwork or asking for another snack. Life was good.

Then the cutting was done, and it was Styling Time. A sinking feeling hit me hard as I looked at my reflection in the wall-sized mirror two feet in front of me. A professionally-trained stylist in a fancy salon, with all of her tools and products, came up with this look that I would never, ever be able to duplicate...and I hated it.

I looked ten years older. I had lost my ponytail and gained a head of wavy, shoulder-length, housewife hair. And it wasn't just me who thought I looked older. I stopped getting carded at the liquor store - all of them. Restaurants? Nope. Bars? Nope. The way the servers look at me now, they're more likely to ask me if I've had a chance to look at the senior specials.

So, since I lost my long, unkempt ponytail, I feel like I've lost something else, too. What happened to my sense of humor? Lately I'm just as likely to get teary at my husband's teasing than to snort and chuck a pillow at him. And where's my patience? Granted, I was never a champion in this arena, but I used to be able to sit through a guess-what-happened-at-recess-today story without fidgeting like a crack addict.

I used to be - on occasion - fun. I had some energy and some ambition. I liked the feeling of my ponytail swinging back and forth rhythmically as I walked with purpose into the gym or onto the playground. Now with my farty, motionless hairdon't, I walk more tentatively, and I no longer possess that "I can DO this!" spunk that made me the Horshack hand-raiser when volunteers were needed. Now I feel like a wrinkled-up raisin on the inside.

No, wait - a prune. That sounds older.