The last few months have been busy. Subsequently, I stopped getting a haircut. I often looked in the mirror to see whether the continually growing nuisance on my head had become “too long,” or outdated. Recently, I discovered, out of the blue, it’s become all these things and more. My hair is shaggy, untamed, and unfashionable. The tips are all untrained, falling past the ear line, and crossing boundaries usually kept in line by a sharp pair of blades and a buzzing set of teeth.
In the morning it may be pulled and combed into submission; straightened to follow the guidelines I lay down with the tooth of a comb and a careful aesthetic touch. It listens then. But, as the day goes on it curls, it wanes, it follows no rules. I can’t make it. No one can. No boundary is left unfiltered or crossed over. The wind gives it one direction, and the closing of a door calls it to go the opposite. It doesn’t know which way to follow and so it goes both. All these things happen upon my head, resilient to my being and desires. My hair flows to its own feelings and the changes in my environment. By the end of the day, I look a mess. The once ruled and tame mane has found a new path away from its pride and started its own journey. I am simply to bear the consequences. C’est la vie. Tis simply the ebb and flow of my hair since I resisted getting another shearing.
Each month or so when a hair cut threatens itself, I find myself astoundingly stressed. Not only about where I should go, but also which haircut should I get. Which one looks best? How should I present myself to the world in a way that they will like me? Hear me when I say, I’m no droning man looking to please all of humanity. I’m an artist looking to be unique and show new perspectives. Still I find myself on the edge, comparing my looks, desires, habits and all other personal aspects of life to others, to make sure mine fit. These pressures reveal themselves through the way I dress, the things I read, the songs I listen to and now even the haircut I get. The smallest detail, claimed by the big brother like voice in the back of my head telling me what’s socially acceptable.
I’m sure you’ve experienced this too. We’ve all experienced this to some extent sometime throughout our lives. You go online, into a mall, or out to eat with your own opinion, and return with some else’s. Whether it’s hair style, clothes, music, or body image. We all know the voice that speaks. And it wants to conform us into one conglomerate mass so that the color, isn’t as bright, the patterns, less noisy, and the voices completely silent.
How often have you or I tried to apply other values and approval to life instead of forming our own opinions? Often I find myself in despair over what to do in a situation, only to realize that the solutions I look toward are not my own. They are someone else’s solution to their specific unique problem. They usually are people who don’t think or live like I do, yet I try to imitate them. I should take classes other people liked, I should workout everyday like them, I should lose weight to look like them. I should. I should. I should. Not what you want to do, what you should do. Not what I want to do, but what I should do. And we’ve accepted this. We go online looking for an article on the top five ways to look attractive, or the twenty best ways to lose weight instead of actually doing anything. We get so preoccupied, that we never end up doing anything at all. We stay stuck in a state of pondering. By continuously questioning ourselves and our motives, we actually go no where.
This state of “no go” or suspended thought hurts us. It isn’t good for you at all. We question ourselves, what we feel, how we look, if it’s “normal.” We doubt that our passions are really worth anything. We often times crumble to others opinions instead of going with our own. We’ve seen this through the recent trends in body shaming and columns full of judging comments on “ugly” pictures. Gobs of internet dweebs all pointing out the little flaws in other people’s lives to ignore their own. Lists filled with information to “hack” your life, when all you really need to do is live it. For these people, I apologize to you. The internet has attacked you, me, and most every other person, we’ve become a culture of the “fat, ugly, and stupid” by other’s definition, which we assume as our own opinion. We’ve allowed our lives to be defined by the commenter hoards and judged by the viewers. Instead of going out and finding what we like about life we look to each other to tell us what is “the funniest moment in history?” This isn’t how the world works though. We’re all unique.
The mirror in front of me has prompted these long flowing thoughts. My hair was kept neat, but now has become unruly. Someone even said it looked as if I was homeless. Why though? Life isn’t natural like this, black and white, orderly and wild, strict and ever changing. Life can not be defined by one simple extreme like organized, without also mentioning how disorganized life is, and then all the in-betweens that go with that. So why is it that my hair need be cut and organized? To appease my oh so visually distraught neighbors? The friends with whom I face and talk with along the way? Who should I please but myself with my own hair. The stem of which lies within myself and comes to bring itself for full visual appeal to my outer edges. Yet, I’m told that I should cut this. Keep it tidy and neat. The likes of which are objectively defined by those around me not by myself. A follicle started within goes out into a world only to be told it’s too much. Here I find the problem.
Take a breath. I know it’s overwhelming. By now you’re probably realizing my simple article about hair isn’t so simple. Nor should it be. When I started digging into why I cared so much about my haircut, I was angry, and you should be too. Much of the culture surrounding our day-to-day lives tells us what we should be and adds a subtle “do what you love,” message without putting emphasis on their smaller clause “if we approve.” The articles and messages aren’t even the problem though, it’s the mindset. Our socially acceptable approval oriented mindset.
The socially acceptable mindset has been pushed through social media, through lists, through the development of an internet where anything goes if it fits the topic or medium. You and I do not necessarily need to be socially acceptable. We do not need say what others like. We do not need to value all peoples opinions equally. Life doesn’t work like that. Life is not clearly cut and predictable like opinions, hacks, and lists. Life is much more complicated. So stop trying to make it sensical and fit everyone else’s mold. Make your own mold, stick to it. If it doesn’t work, make a new one, try that one, over and over.
I’m not getting a haircut. It’s a little rebellion, if any. But it’s my rebellion. My quiet rebellion against conformity. It may harken back to days of hippies if that be your mindset, but for me it’s more than rebelling against ideas of right and wrong. It’s trying myself out, what I like. Maybe I’ll like longer unkempt hair, perhaps not. Taking my hair for a test run if you will, and saving twenty bucks and the ride to the barber while I’m at it.
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