I cut my hair today. I had almost done it a few days ago, but I couldn’t find my scissors. Today I knew right where they were and I quickly snipped four or five inches off of the ends. If we are not friends in real life, it’s important that I pause here and tell you that I have a lot of hair, so the few inches I cut are really not that big of deal.
Or so I thought.
Before I cut my hair I suspected that I would regret it. I did it anyway because as Autumn’s endless layers have already proven, long hair and cold weather seasons do not go together. My hair had been what I would call “difficult to manage” before I had to pull on sweatshirts, sweaters, coats, and scarves. Now, on the occasion that I tried to brush through it, I just broke brushes with the tangles. Literally. My hair needed a serious trim and so I went on ahead and did what needed doing. Now though, I feel much more soccer-mom than gypsy-princess. It’s sort of bumming me out.
I know, I know, you don’t come here to read about my hair issues. Tiny apologies sent out to those of you who won’t make this connection, I know it’s a stretch. As I went to toss my recently snipped locks into the compost pile, I couldn’t help but feel like those strands were still a part of me. My mind quickly drifted to all of the other things I have cut out of my life over the years, how they still felt like part of me at the time. As I walked back up to the house in the late afternoon sunlight I continued to think how easy it is and how hard it is at the same time.
It’s sort of like this; you decide one day that you really are done with this, this whatever-it-is, it is suffocating or irritating or endlessly entangling, and you do the easy part. Speak the words that cut the line, the ones that burn the bridge, the words that sever. Then, hopefully, you follow through and do the hard part, you walk away, back to the house to pack up or lock the door or shed the tears. This is good, honest, soul-work.
It’s weird that I got here from a trim, isn’t it?
When I think about the hard things, the big things that I’ve done to end relationships or endeavors, I often think about the regret I felt immediately after the fact. The fear rushed in and I could see all of the reasons that what I just did or said was wrong. In the looking back though? It is the times that I didn’t follow through, the times I didn’t let that bridge burn that I carry the most regret over. The bravest I ever have been has been when I have done just exactly what I said I would. In those moments I have developed the most respect for myself. Trusting myself is something I have to agree to daily. As I look back I can see that my initial response was nearly always correct, this observation alone should shut-up my internal negativity…though it does not always. It’s because of the words.
The words have often come too quickly for even me. They spill out before I think them over. I frequently apologize and even more often have to lie awake at night thinking over how some thing I said sounded to someone else. I have spent seasons praying that God would guard my tongue. I have spent what seems like millennia sitting quietly after a man told me to “sit there and wait” with an angry scowl on his face.
However, this is the message I now accept as truth:
God does not want me to be silent. He has allowed my voice to cause trouble, to raise questions, to make people uncomfortable. He is not worried by my words. Yes, I know that Ephesians 4:29 tells us to “…Not let any unwholesome talk come from your mouths…” I do, I really, really do. I also know in my very heart that speaking passionately will not get me cast out of His embrace. That following those passionate words up with equally passionate actions will not cause me to lose His favor. If anything this world could use more passion and I am still aiming to fill it with a bit more of my mine despite my unguarded language.
I once thanked my ex for allowing me to sit in the truck while he unstuck it all of those times, because if I hadn’t have sat there I probably never would have
A) left his unkind self or
B) learned how to back my own truck up without getting stuck in the snow.
All of those things are good things. All were hard to sit with, hard to follow through on, hard to learn. My ex was not appreciative of my thanks and, in looking back, I probably used some harsher than necessary words. This too is something that I am now okay with, those harsh words spoken in the ecstasy of knowing that I could do something by myself-something that I had been told repeatedly that I could not do- were the exact words I needed to hear in that moment. Me. Myself. My heart needed these words, and isn’t that enough? The regret in saying them because he may have realized some wrong he may have committed was far over-shadowed by the joy in my self-realization.
Peace flows in at the merest remembrance of this moment. My words did that.
After a little more than a year of pouring my heart out onto the page , I know that my words can mean something to you too, and I am both grateful that y’all listen to the ramblings and amazed at what you pull from their inconsistencies. God does not need me quiet, He may want a specific message to pour out from me to you, but a message takes words; written, spoken, heard…not silence. I’m learning to think over my words a little more these days, I try to use the words that will heal more often than the words that will hurt. Ultimately, truth is my goal and although I have yet to master delivering the truth in a syrupy sweet way, I will still speak it.
I often tell people that my hair means little to me, that it just “is”. Sure, it’s a part of me, a piece of who I am, but I don’t give it all that much thought. Today that feels less true. I haven’t cut my hair since I was pregnant with my teeny. That teeny will turn four-years-old next week, the ends I snipped today have been with me through a lot of spiritual growth. It really was time for some of those old memories, ancient hurts, and tired feelings to be let go of. Right now I feel lighter without them weighing me down, hopefully I can still feel good about it when I look in the mirror tomorrow. That’s the trick isn’t it? Still loving yourself when you look in the mirror, regardless of the truth you may have spoken?