My kiddos don’t fit the apparent ‘hair regulations’ set forth by the universe of parenting. So, apparently, I have failed on that aspect of parent but I find it to be bonkers to be told things like,
“Little boys don’t have long hair!”
“Young ladies don’t have short, strangely colored hair!”
Sigh. Ok, here we go. Constructs of beauty, normalcy, and conformity aren’t high on the list of household priorities we teach our kiddos. My daughter watches how I act, my interest in beauty and fashion and asks me about it. I explain that it’s a fun way to to express my personal sense of style, emotions, and feel good. But that if something doesn’t help me feel awesome, it’s not part of my routine.
Thus, my daughter has short hair. Short, brightly colored hair. Usually pink or purple. She’s learning to express herself and she likes to pair her fun hair with bright, slim outfits because she prefers to be able to move quickly and quietly. She is athletic, elegant and part of her own routine is being able to be graceful and bold in a quiet way. She has no desire for long hair again and some of the most beautiful women she admires for their style and grace have short hair. If Eva had 3 words for her personality it would be bright, smart, and elegant.
Her favorite Aunt Barb has short hair and is also small, athletic, and elegant. Barb is extraordinarily smart, fun, and charismatic. The fact that Eva will pick role models of such finesse makes me proud to be raising a young lady who is confident in her skin.
Owen has nearly shoulder length hair that is white blonde with wild curls and he always looks like a little rock star. He also gets called a girl on a regular basis, despite his preference for robots, race cars, and monsters. Because he has autism, his echolalia can be pretty strong and he might repeat what you say about something being cool or awesome, style wise, but he always shows preference for bold patterns, soft fabrics, and NOBODY TOUCHING HIS HAIR.
He crashes through the world and boldly announces his entrance with his sweet but strong demeanor. What I am most proud of with him is that he lets nothing hold him back and like the Memoirs of a Geisha Quote revised, “Water carves its own path”. As does he. This autism thing does not define him but he feels strongly about his hair being a part of his identity. I won’t be denying him this.
Really, we need to examine the idea that long hair equals femininity but short is akin to masculine traits. I was never raised with that ideal. Post cancer, yes, I have been growing my hair out but not necessarily because I found my short hair unfeminine. More because I wanted to see my hair long again since it has been a decade and I adore my crazy, wild curls as they grow.
People tell me VERY OFTEN about how I need to reign in my kids’ hair. Um. Okay. Well, when you can explain to me how dictating my kids’ hair choices makes me a better mom and garners us all a more respectful relationship in the long run, I’m interested. Because reigning my children’s personalities is akin to me training them to become people that they aren’t. There are other battles I would rather fight. No, letting my daughter try out a crazy pink hair color is not letting her go wild. I would rather agree to this than a $500 iPhone that I watched her classmate break during a tantrum to be assured by mom that she could have another.
Apparently, letting my son have long hair is letting him be a sissy boy? Well, let’s all just work together to find a way to get poor sissy Autism boy calmed down enough so he isn’t a danger to himself or a stylist wielding a pair of scissors. That’s prejudiced, irrational, and terrible. Not to mention, if it soothes this kid, sensory wise, to have long hair? I am not messing with it. I am not messing with something he finds integral to his sense of well being and self.
What this boils down to is our fight with ourselves and conformity. If who you find yourself becoming is comfortable, strong in self, and in line with your ideals….you might be making the right choices. If that person you wake up and face in the mirror every morning frustrates you to no end, reexamine. By no means am I suggesting that we don’t all have moments that we get sad, confused, or down. But having some self confidence to back us up while getting through those moments, might just make this life thing a lot more easy.
Just some food for thought.
Sparkles and Glitter,