wash, rinse, repeat

(and now for something completely different…)

I cut my hair yesterday, by which I mean I paid a professional to do, otherwise I would have ended up looking like a member of a grunge band. I had been wanting to cut my hair for weeks. Besides the fact that it was in desperate need of a trim (and I realized my dad gets his hair cut more regularly than I do), I wanted something different. I wanted to look new. I wanted to be able to look in the mirror and smile at my reflection.

But I’m always a bit cautious when it comes to my hair. This stems from two things. First, when I was in seventh grade, I asked the hair stylist to cut my hair so that it was just above my shoulders. It ended up around my ears. Needless to say I didn’t get more than a trim until my senior year of high school. Secondly, during my freshman year in college, I dyed my hair for the first time. Since I’m kind of cheap (which translates to poor), I bought the cheapest medium warm brown hair dye I could find. My lovely hair, which is naturally an ashy (not gray!) brown turned red. It was absolutely horrid. And any dye I tried after that wouldn’t get rid of it. I should have listened to my sister when she said to stay away from colors with burgundy or mahogany in the name. They are not safe.

Yesterday, when the hair stylist asked me what I wanted to do with my hair, my first instinct was just to ask for an easy trim. It is really hard to mess up a trim (unless you are me and practicing on my younger sisters). If I just had a few inches taken off the length and my bangs trimmed, I would have known exactly what I was getting. It would be a safe bet and pretty risk free. I could predict the ending.

In my life, I have a tendency to take the safest route to wherever I believe my destination may be. I like to know exactly what I’m getting into. I hate the elements of risk and surprise that come with being spontaneous and a bit daring. I like to find something that I’m comfortable with and stick with it, even if that means the journey isn’t all that thrilling.

Its like finding the shampoo that instructs you to wash, rinse, and repeat. Sometimes you aren’t all that sure you like the shampoo, but you know exactly what you will get out of it. So you stick with it. You wash, rinse, and repeat. You do this over and over again, until one day you wake up and realize that you’ve been using the same volumizing, shine-inducing shampoo for years, but your hair looks exactly the same as it did on day one. Your life isn’t any better, your hair isn’t any lovelier, and who knows what you’ve missed out on, because you stuck with the same thing for so long.

So I had the hair stylist chop away at my hair. I gave her free reign over the cut. I told her about where I wanted the length to be, but other than that, she took matters into her own hands. I sat in the chair, took off my glasses, and braced myself. Without my glasses, I was basically blind, so there was definitely an element of faith that was required for me to not completely freak out. But in the end, it turned out wonderful. It isn’t what I would have picked, nothing I had imagined, but it suited me. It was worth those twenty or so minutes of absolute dread, having no idea how it was going to turn out.

We like to play it safe. We like to know the ending before we set off on the adventure. We avoid the risks and take the easiest route. Maybe this is because we were burned in the past or are naturally cautious. But there is so much life we miss by doing the same thing over and over again. There are memories, people, experiences we may never know if we don’t strike out in a new direction. We can embrace a bit of spontaneity without being a hazardous daredevil. There is something to be said for trying something new everyday, for taking a different route to work or school, for going to a different coffee house or bookstore. We never know the things that are awaiting us around the corner if we just have the guts to go after it. So I encourage you to try something new, knowing that if you ever get to a point when you feel overwhelmed, God will always be there to help you through.


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