A Peek Behind the Curtain: Beauty and the Books

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Hi, everyone. I’ve been wanting to do another Behind the Curtains post for a couple of weeks, but it wasn’t until today that I had a semi-solid something in mind to write about. (Also, my brain juice for new short stories is a bit low at the moment. (If anyone has any stories they’d like to see continued, please let me know.)

Yesterday, after a year of growing my hair out with the intention of cutting it off again when it got just so long, I had eight inches (or 20.32 centimeters according to Google) lopped off. Short hair isn’t new for me. So, one would logically conclude that changing back would be easy, right? I didn’t have any sort of “separation anxiety” the first go around when I chopped off what was probably 10-12 inches, but this time I’ve been hit with a panic attack over it!

The ironic part of it is, my friends, family, and even myself, really love the way the cut looks on me! Everyone who is important in my life (with the exception of my dog who was utterly confused by the ponytail I brought home) is supportive of the change.

For some weird reason, though, I woke up at 2:30 this morning wondering, innocently enough, about one of Marilyn Monroe’s better known shorter styles. (Yes, I’m a big Monroe fan. haha) I was wondering if I could curl some of the longer bits of hair in the front to look a bit like hers.Once my brain is awake, it’s awake and so I grabbed my phone. Upon Googling Marilyn + Short Hair I was suddenly beset by articles of people saying how ugly they automatically considered women with short hair. One article went so far as to say that no matter what a woman looked like, the second she cut her hair above her shoulders she was, by default, uglier than any other woman in the room with longer hair. Oh, and that any woman who is complimented by another woman on her short hair is only being complimented because the other woman is secretly happy the short haired lady is now “uglier.” It went on and on about how it was an evolutionary thing and so on.

Now, I’d distantly heard all these things before, but I’ve bever had them set before me so vehemently. Normally I don’t much care for what any random person says about what’s on the outside of me (not saying I appreciate being bullied if or when I am, I do stand up for myself) but personal opinions online, that aren’t even directed at me, just roll off my back. This time they stuck, though. My stomach knotted, my heart began to do a jittery jive (not as fun as it sounds), and my mind was off to the races on a circular track of guilt/condemnation/confusion/sadness/fear that I couldn’t understand.

Part of this is due to the fact that I’m single and hearing what seems to be a large swath of straight guys condemn me for my hair choice as undateable isn’t fun. But even that I don’t completely understand in myself. The right guy won’t judge me based on how long my hair is, I’m not interested in any more than that one guy (I’m a simple girl that way), and quite frankly I’m as repulsed by the ones who would judge me as they are by me(which is fine because to each their own, but for my part who wants that pressure??)

All of this being said, I was left feeling less than. Like I’m somehow now a “class below” some level that I didn’t ever know was a thing. This line of thought inevitably turned to how this could affect my writing career as I was encouraged by my former editor to put on my resume that I used to model. The one thing I agree with them on is that the way an author is perceived is inexplicably tied to the sales of their book. I hope and pray my writing is able to stand on its own with aid from me in whatever way I can provide, but the thought still picks at me.

The point of this post? I want you to know my characters are hopefully as close to real as I can make them because my mind can be full of land mines. I’m not perfect and try to impart that imperfect as perfectly as possible to my stories and books. More importantly, though, I have panic attacks jump on me out of the blue. Over the world’s dumbest possible topics. To anyone else living through this, you are not alone. You are wonderfully made and beautiful or handsome from the top of your head to the soles of your feet, exactly as you are.

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