Word of the Week: Knots

Saturday, 25 July 2015

As a woman with naturally unruly hair, I am often in the pursuit of a good messy bun.

When I say unruly, I mean enormous-scary-hair unruly. The other day I was moaning about it and Chris said 'No, it's nice! You look a bit like that girl from Brave.'

Which is actually a nice compliment because frankly, if I had to be a Disney princess, Merida would be the one. I love her hair, too. That and the girl from Eight Simple Rules for Dating my Teenage Daughter. Remember her?

And early-days Hayley from One Tree Hill, on whom I have a long-term girl crush.

These are my hair goals:


This is my actual hair:


(Actual photograph unavailable. Here is a super-realistic artists' interpretation.)

Anyway!

I get frustrated doing my hair, because I'm not very good at it, and even a messy bun (which sounds by its title pretty straightforward) really isn't, because there's a kind of delicate art to it. When I put my hair in a bun, it is a game of chance. One time out of ten, I will manage to sweep my hair up into a nice kind of shape without having weird lumpy bits or half of my hair escaping. Or sometimes, I think I've got it, and then I let go of the bun and it kind of flops down a bit and I realise that I haven't done it right and the weight of my bun combined with gravity is going to make my hair slowly and agonisingly rip out of my scalp.

Usually I give up and shove it all up in a giant hair clip which makes me feel a bit like a secretary when combined with my glasses and a buttoned cardigan, but its so much easier.

So when I do get a messy bun that works, I'm happy. REALLY happy. Yesterday, I got one. It looked somewhat good. I had achieved that 'hey, I'm far too arty and alternative to care about trifling things such as hair, so I just shoved it up in a hairband, I can't help it if it looks beautiful!' look. And it didn't give me the slow-agonising-hair-ripping-from-scalp feeling. So it stayed in all day.

When I went to bed that night, I forgot to take it out and fell asleep with it still up. And this morning, I looked in the mirror, and lo and behold, it still looked good. In fact, it looked even better than the day before.

I had a choice here.

Did I a) not be gross, find the six different hairbands layered up somewhere on my head and remove them, brush the horrible knots out and start again, or did I b) brush my fringe and call it a day?

I think we all know what I did. A good messy bun two days in a row with NO EFFORT on the first day? That is the kind of luck a woman with a small toddler and no skills or patience for hair care just cannot pass up.

So this evening, I had to wash it, and then came the agony of having to brush those knots out, and oh my gosh, did those knots hurt. I lathered on loads of conditioner to try and pre-empt it but it did nothing.

The knots were way worse because I'd left them to get even more tangled. Those knots went deep.

That is the way I am with other things in life, too.

When I first became a Christian I was a hot mess. (I mean this. I really was. I look back and wonder how on earth Chris put up with me). There were many issues that needed dealing with. Some of the healing I received was instant; other things took a long time, a tangled chain slowly coming undone.

It turns out, there are still things I carry around with me from my teenage years that need untangling.

I was walking today with my daughter in the buggy and as I walked, I realised I held an attitude deep inside my heart, to do with the way I see myself in relation to other people. I won't go into details, but it was a deep, internal belief about myself that simply isn't true - and yet I walk in that belief every day. I see myself as a person that I am not.

How do you deal with that kind of thing?

It's weird that I never noticed it before. It was actually a conversation with someone else that triggered it. That person explained to me how they felt, and I kind of thought 'well that's a silly way to feel!' and then suddenly realised that I feel the same way about myself.

So, I prayed over it. I did what I keep doing at the moment, pulling dark messy things into the light so I can see them for what they really are, so that I can see the true scale of the problem instead of something exaggerated by shadows. I was shocked and kind of appalled to realise I'd been carrying the weight of this false impression of myself around for all this time. I allowed those sneaky thoughts room to grow. I allowed those knots to grow tighter and deeper inside.

The thing is, it's not an easy issue, the issue of self-image, of understanding who we really are, of stepping out of the comparison game and stepping into self-confidence. It feels like a lot of hard work is ahead of me. But as I walked home and prayed, I felt a little weight lift. Just a little.

I know that it's not gone. But I feel like a de-tangling process has begun.

I love that. I am happy to present all my messy, matted, tangled knots to God, knowing that He sees it all anyway, and allow Him to work in me to sort it out.


(Pictured: a not-very-good two-day bun about to be attacked with conditioner and a comb).

It's nice to be reminded that I'm a work in progress, and that I always will be, and that my confidence doesn't come from myself: it comes from Him.


The Reading Residence

1 comment:

  1. I have dead straight hair, and always have done. I brush it, I dry it, it's straight and knot-free, but I'd love to have curls! Always the way, isn't it?! Glad you got that perfect and elusive messy bun for a couple of days. Thanks for sharing and joining in with #WotW

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