Saturday, November 03, 2007


Now you might think that I'm speaking of one of my children... particularly my two year old.

I'm not. I'm talking about myself.

So, here I am, a forty-one year old.... wanting to do *everything* myself. And if I don't know how to do something... give some time... I'll figure it out.

Well, I haven't had a real hairstyle for about ten years. I did actually schedule a few hair appointments after my eldest child was born but it got cancelled for some need of hers... and then got cancelled because of the house... and then some other reason... and now I forget why.

So, I guess I haven't had a hair cut for ten years mostly because I was busy with other stuff; a little bit because I'm too cheap to pay for a hair cut; and then once it got long enough... because I wouldn't trust any hair dresser with a pair of scissors in their hand near me.

Anyone with waist length hair knows that hair dressers get really freaked out by any hair that's too long and have the insatiable desire to cut it. And over the years I had become quite attached to my fairly long braid.

Until... a little girl asked me if I was my one-year-old son's Granny.---!

Then, my ten-year-old daughter started telling me that my hair that was beginning to go salt and pepper, really wasn't doing me any favours.

I wasn't insulted. Kids think stuff and say stuff. They don't mean to hurt your feelings... and so my feelings weren't hurt. But it got me to thinking back when my Mom was about 40 and didn't colour her hair... and I thought the same thing about her. I was making an accurate account of my mother's 'appearance status' back then, and I'm pretty sure my daughter was giving an accurate account of my own appearance status also.

So, I went out and matched some hair colour to my dark-underneath hairs.

Big mistake. There was nothing wrong with the colour. It was beautiful. But it looked awful with my skin colour. It was almost too rich. So, I called the hair colour company and asked them what to do. They told me that because some of my original hair was blonde, I needed to see a professional or I might just end up burning the hair off if I tried to fix it myself.

Well, I've had more hair-tastrophes in a salon chair than I ever had at home. So, I picked up a 'streaking kit' put on the cap and had my darling husband pull the hairs out the back holes that I couldn't reach.

I kept a close eye on it and said a lot of prayers. It came out a lot less dark, a little more red but closer to the natural colour of my 'top' hair. So, I called it a day and considered myself successful.

Nevertheless, I was still plagued with feeling like I wasn't quite where I should be. My braid, that I was now so attached to, always seemed to get really messy around the nape of my neck.

I feel too old to walk around looking so 'unfinished'... and too young to have earned the messy, fly-away, waist-length hair that I'll be able to sport as an eccentric sixty year old, whose mind is just filled with too many thoughts and too much wisdom to be bothered with the inannities of hair.

I continued thinking about the 'why's of my looking older. I finally decided that having no bangs just meant that people could see the 'surprise lines' on my forehead... and with three children, two big dogs, fourteen chickens, two ducks, a husband and a solar gate, there are a lot of surprises around here!

Also, several weeks ago, my daughter got a burr caught in her hair. Her hair reached below her bum at the time. The burr was up, just above her waist. And so we cut her hair all the way up to armpit level. I just cut it straight across. Now, her really long hair always looked good and healthy and had nice edges. But this shorter, long hair has edges that are just, comparatively speaking, *much* nicer. And I've been thinking about that every time I catch a glimpse of her from the back.

I've also been thinking about how easy my 'layered' hair was when I was in my teens... and it always seemed to manage to just fall-in-place. I need that again. I want that again!

And so through this last week I began collecting my tools, and my thoughts, in the upstairs bathroom. One day, I put the hair straightener up there. Another day I brought up the hair scissors... another, the haircutting comb.

I didn't actually know I was going to do it *today*... but it turned out that today would be "The Day".

And though I'm sure to a practised eye, it looks awful... I have to tell you, I'm every bit as satisfied with it as I would be from a salon cut. And I *really* like the colour now too! This strikes me as being quite interesting because the hair colour was not changed at all today. It is exactly the same... but the cut really changed my whole perception of exactly how nice this 'new' (month old) colour is. (Consequently, my bio. Dad's wife, who is the *only* hairdresser I've ever trusted to give me my once-a-year trim, has been urging me for years to go a bit red. Now, that I've done it, I'm glad to admit that I think she was absolutely right! Thanks Fran!!)

Actually, truth be told, I'm probably more satisfied because I've still got two hundred dollars in my pocket.

Honestly, there are things I don't like about it. The bangs are a little too short... especially near my temples... but I've had plenty of hairdressers do to that to me anyway... So, no biggie. Besides, by Christmas they'll have grown enough for me to give them a trim back to where I want them.

All in all... not too bad, if I do say so myself. :)

But like everything in The Gray Zone, mixed feelings abound. Because though I like my updated look, I'm still looking forward to being that eccentric Granny with my somewhat dishevelled, salt and pepper, waist-length braid.

It's not all good and it's not all bad... here in... The Gray Zone.


How I Did It

Now remember, this story could have easily come out with a horrifying ending. So, if anyone decides to give themselves a makeover the way I did... understand that you are taking your own risks and it's probably a 50/50 shot of really liking the outcome... or less...!

I certainly wouldn't have had anyone else to blame if I had really messed up my hair and I absolutely do not want to be blamed for anyone else's fiasco... So, as always, I must put in my usual disclaimer not to try this yourself at home.

I'm only listing the events for sake of the interest of the interested.

I did the whole hair cut dry. One thing I did do before cutting it though was straighten my hair quite well.

So I cut my bangs first thinking that it might be all I needed to do. Still unsatisfied with my look, I moved to the next step of cutting about ten inches off the back length using the ponytail method. Still.... Bor-r-r-ring...

I still wasn't satisfied with the result and had to really think about how I could go about giving myself a 'long-layered' look which is something I've been thinking about for quite a long time.

Once I realized my direction, I figured this was probably going to be a pretty drastic change and so it became a family event.

Everyone took their share of photos so that I could post what I did step-by-step. So mind, the photos were all taken by a ten year old, a seven year old and a forty-one year old who enjoys cutting off the tops of people's heads.

Third, I used the comb to draw up the circle of hair, just above my ears, and put it into a pony tail on my forehead. I made sure, especially with the front hairs, that they were pulled quite tightly into the ponytail so that they would cut fairly evenly. This was when I realized that it might be worth a few photographs because it wasn't something I'd be able to go back and 're-stage' later. As you can see, it takes off almost another ten inches from some of the 'top' hair.

My husband says that the photo above is my 'Flock of Seagulls' look....
Or my "I Killed The Seagulls" look.

Consequently, the third photo above was taken by my seven-year-old son. He had to get up on the toilet to take it because the photo from his normal point of view was so scary!

Boy, I didn't realize how old, tired and scary(!) I look to him... even when I'm in a good mood!

BOO! MwaaaHaaaaHaaaa!!!

He has since reassurred me that I don't look like this to him all the time... "only sometimes, Mom"... Thank you, my darling boy. :D :/

And here are the two sections of hair that I'll send in to a cancer clinic for wig making:

Note: Even though you can see that the cuts the scissors made were fairly crooked, I did not do any touch-up cutting after the fact. I shook the hair out, finger combed it and it looked like this:

And finally: Front and back shots after shooting a bit of hairspray at the roots on the top of my head and applying my contacts and some makeup.

I must admit, it feels a lot the same as when, years ago, I went from shoulder-length hair to a brush cut. Which I also loved... but brush cuts have to be tidied up every week... and who's got the time for that with all the surprises going on around here. :)

Maybe I'll try something with henna, around Christmas time...

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