Make no Mistake , folks! You saw right with the title. Does this have anything to do with making mistakes or learning from them, as most will likely write about with respect to today’s word prompt? Well, no…not exactly. But, there is something to be learned perhaps, and so maybe in a roundabout way, it is related. Nonetheless, here we go….
Now, if you are a guy reading the title, you might be thinking, ‘Hey, what’s this one all about? Any pictures?’. To which, I could say, “Read on to find out,” but I’ll save you the trouble and let you know in advance that this post is really just about ‘girlie-life’ kinda thoughts:-)–not that you are not welcome to read it anyway, if you wish. In fact, please do. It might give you some insight into how us women think. And, if you are a lady such as myself, you might be thinking, ‘Oh man! A bikini?! Short hair?! Not for me,’ to either one, the other or both. Or maybe, just maybe as a woman you are thinking, ‘Yah so, what’s the big deal? Been sporting both for ages,’ in which case, I say, “Good for you. All the power to you!” But, for the rest of us for whom either has been/is dreaded or frowned upon, let’s get into it a little bit. (Of course, as I write this, I am aware that depending on where you live or where you are from, the two things I speak of might not even apply to you or your culture, or it might just be an everyday part of life.)
Disclaimer: This post is a little on the longer side today, so hunker down if you like:-).
I waited until the age of thirty-three before I attempted wearing the first of my subjects…a bikini, that is. (Truthfully, I did and still do own a blue and white polka-dotted one that was bought for me by my godmother, but I was only six months old then. I was told that I looked cute in it, but what baby wouldn’t?!) So, why did I wait so long to don one again? Well, probably for the same reasons as most of you who are reading this, given my opening statements. You know, never really feeling fit and trim enough, mostly a body image/confidence thing. And then, one day, before a family trip in the summer, I spotted a really neat two-piece suit in the store. I’d always admired the cute little sets, but never before even dared to think about trying one on, let alone buying one. This time was different, though. At the very least, I had made up my mind to try it on, and so I entered the all-mighty (and often daunting) dressing room, put it on and thought, ‘Hey, not bad.’ Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t about to enter a swimsuit contest or anything silly like that, but it did look okay. And so, I took out my wallet and bought it! That was step number one. I was pretty proud of myself. Step number two of wearing it out in public, however, would likely be a different story.
When the time came to pack for our vacation, I hesitated about actually bringing my recent purchase along as I knew I would, but I threw it in my bag along with my coveted, black one piece, just in case I decided to go ahead with wearing it. Of course, it wasn’t until we were at our destination when I was faced with my moment of truth–yes, pool time. ‘Hmmm…what to do?! Bikini or good ol’ one piece? Ah, to heck with it. I bought it, I brought it, and so, I am going to wear it.’ And before I knew it, out of the women’s change room I bravely, but reluctantly emerged. ‘Eeks, I am actually in a bikini,’ I announced to myself, when I passed by the mirror. It sure felt different from what I was used to wearing. Luckily, by that point in time, I was determined to go ahead with it, besides which I had reminded myself that there was no going back to change. I couldn’t. I purposely left the other bathing suit out of my pool bag knowing that I might have otherwise ‘chickened out’. As I forged forward down the dimly lit hall (thank goodness!) out to the pool area, I hung up my towel and met up with my parents, who were awaiting my arrival at the pool’s edge. “Hey, nice suit!” my mom exclaimed. Now, being that she is not one to compliment if the bill doesn’t fit, I took it as a good sign. And here’s the thing, ladies…I didn’t die! There I sat on the pool’s warm, concrete ledge, all in one bodily piece, except for my two-piece suit:-). Life went on around me, as usual. The world did not stop and point a finger while jeering, ‘Hey, look at that girl. Why is she wearing a bikini?’ Instead, people were swimming, playing, laughing, splish-splashing, hanging out, chit-chatting, and sunbathing all around me. Others were also wearing bikinis–some my size, some smaller, some bigger. ‘Hmmm. This ain’t so bad, ‘ I thought to myself. And, in that single solitary moment of life continuing on, I wondered why I had waited so long to feel this unencumbered, this free–which brings me to my next bit about short hair.
I am a girl. Obviously. Raised in the late 70’s/80’s. I was brought up in a time where long hair was what girls wore and short hair was what boys wore–well for the most part, although longer hair on guys seemed more acceptable than shorter hair on gals-you know, the whole mullet trend for them, which in my opinion was a questionable one. (No offence to those still sporting the infamous do, as even my husband had the coveted look back in the day). Because of the unwritten rules about hair length during my impressionable years, I never really considered anything other than long hair for myself during my younger years and even well into my 20’s. Then, somewhere along the way, I got sick of styling and drying it. Too much work, and limp results by the day’s end. I wanted something else style-wise to reflect some of the changes I’d made and saw in myself in my late 20’s/early 30’s. I trusted my stylist and went for something significantly shorter than my mid-back length head of hair. I liked it, though not everyone else did, especially those who’d only ever known me the ‘usual way’. Some even commented so and they were certainly entitled to their own opinions. Luckily, I was at a stage in life where it mattered, but not really. Too bad, but I didn’t need their reinforcement of liking it. You know what I mean?
Then, just this summer, I decided to plunge even farther into ‘hair shortness’, if that’s even a word? I, once again, wanted to try another style, and my hairdresser had one in mind. But, it was short! Shorter than I’d ever pictured for myself, yet I was intrigued and I was tired of staying in the ‘safe hair zone’. (Every lady knows that zone all too well at some point, or maybe even for a good chunk of their lives, I’d guess.) And so, I told my stylist to, ‘go for it’, as I sat somewhat nervous and excitedly in her chair. An elderly lady watched my cut taking place in the adjacent chair and insisted upon seeing the end result after she was escorted to the sink area to rinse out her own colour. When all was said and done, I will admit that I was a bit in shock at my reflection in the mirror and wasn’t completely sold. The elderly lady said that she liked it. ‘Hmmmm. Is she just being nice? Is that a good thing or a bad thing?’ Though still unsure of it in the change room, I took a selfie to contrast with the picture that I had taken before my cut. If nothing else, it was a change and I was glad that I finally tried something a bit different. Then, my husband, who also felt a little reserved about only ever seeing me a certain way (but was still encouraging), gave me the ‘thumbs-up’ approval upon my return home. In not so short of time, the cut ‘grew on me’ (puns intended) and voilà, here we are wherein I just went back for the same cut again. For some reason, my recent short hairdo was another one of those oddly freeing experiences, just like my bikini wearing. There was something to be said about the feel of a breeze on the nape of my neck and the coolness that it brought during the summer heat. It was a more than a welcome change:-). Just that feeling alone, after decades of being ‘covered up’, was/is worth it…regardless of whether or not I liked the style. That said a lot to me. Vanity suddenly went out the window, along with inches of my hair, and you know what? It felt really good!!
And so, my point to all of this ‘jibber-jabbering’ (which if you are still reading this, thanks for sticking with it) is that if you want to make a change, or ‘bare it all’ so to speak, “Just do it!”. Like the Nike ad says, or used to say. Otherwise, you might not ever know what you are missing or in my case, not missing. Literally and ‘figure’-atively.