I’ve never been a stranger to the bold and drastic hair cut. I don’t know what there is in my DNA that pushes me to these flights of fancy, but there have been a few times in my life when I have gone off on a wild hair (see what I’ve done there? Punny, huh?) and made some sort of ridiculous hair decision that seemed to come straight out of left field. And honestly, they’ve never quite turned out the way I planned.
Flashback to eighth grade when, as an awkward preteen, I rebelled against the giant Aquanet bangs of the age and went full-on pixie cut. Which is all well and good, except I had major preteen acne and hadn’t yet grown into my nose. So while I was going for Mary Stuart Masterson in “Some Kind of Wonderful,” I ended up hitting closer to an androgynous pubescent Peter Pan.
And you’ve all seen this glorious picture, right? Let’s just focus on the amazing hair choice I made back in my early 20’s. My hair was orange, people. And another pixie. You would think I would have learned from 1992.
Clearly I did not.
It’s funny to note that this is the hair I had when I met Mr. BurntToast. And even funnier to note that it’s the hair I had when I met his parents. Yes, his conservative Texan parents. It’s a joke now, but when they met me they thought their son, who normally fell for long-haired preppy girls, had darn near lost his mind bringing this wild alternative girl with pink hair (their words) home. Jokes on them, though, because I stuck around. (though I secretly think they’re glad I did.)
Both times, and in many others slightly less notable throughout the years, I was fearless in my choices. I took a lot of flack in middle school when I looked like Peter Pan. But somehow I had the confidence not to care. It didn’t break me when people thought my hair wasn’t quite as awesome as I did.
And in my 20’s I was in love with that wild hair. I kept it for years. It became almost my signature. I rocked that style. I owned it with confidence.
This is very hard for me to explain to my now almost 40 year old self. Because, honestly, the moment last week when my no-filter daughter looked at me with my fresh from the salon hair that was 8 inches shorter and about 10 shades darker hair and said “you don’t look beautiful anymore,” it wrecked me. Already teetering on the edge of regret, this simple honest comment pushed me right over into an abyss that temporarily slaughtered my self-confidence and destroyed my self image. I actually cried about it. And if I wasn’t 100% convinced that I am not the only woman to cry over a bad hair day I would be embarrassed to admit it.
Where has that bold and fearless 12 year old gone? Where is the confidence of my 20 something self who wasn’t afraid to do what she wanted with her own hair?
I don’t know where she went, y’all. Out of one corner of my mouth I preach to my daughter to bang her own drum and that beauty is on the inside and on the other I am crying over my hair, bemoaning the fact that I feel like I’m wearing a witness-protection wig.
How can I even begin to understand this disparity?
I don’t know exactly, but what I do know is that as a woman, my value and my self-worth does not come from what I look like. I know this deep in my heart. The word of God tells me so when I am struggling. But I also know that the world tells me it that does. Our identities as women living in this world are complicated. They’re not one-dimensional. Tied into our passions, our hearts, our families, our jobs, our beliefs, our actions, we can’t deny that there’s also a part of our identity that is intricately related to how we look and how we feel about how we look. To deny this is to deny part of being a woman. This part can be very positive and healthy when balanced out by our arguably more valuable internal attributes, but when we let ourselves get skewed and begin to give more weight to our beauty than it deserves, it can also be very negative and damaging.
So how do we control this delicate balance?
Well, clearly I don’t know the answer. I wish I did. What I learned after chopping my hair off and going natural is that my identity is skewed. I’m working on it still. When I cut my hair I felt somehow exposed, as if I was hiding behind my veil of long blonde hair before–just blending in. Now that it’s short and dark there’s not much to hide behind. There’s no blending in. It’s just me, out there, for all to see. That’s terrifying, y’all. I want to hide. I want to blend in!
Don’t we all at times?
In an effort to grow and evolve personally, I squashed the urge to immediately run back to the salon to throw highlights back onto my head. I did avoid mirrors for a day or two, but the tears have dried up and I’ve even begun to like my hair a little now.
I know I still have a ways to go before I unpack this baggage I carry around on beauty. Maybe we all do and we won’t ever really get there until the end, when how we look is of no more consequence than the dirt beneath our feet. But in the meantime, I’m going to work hard to channel my inner 12 year old and move on with my bad hair, every single day.
And today I share with you a breakfast that is undeniably–beautiful. Sometimes I get tired of the usual breakfast fare–pancakes, waffles, eggs, cereal. I want something different and fun. And that’s where this Dutch Baby comes in. It looks so complicated, doesn’t it? It’s a puffy little pan filled with hills and valleys. It can’t be easy. But yet, friends, it really is. It’s a breakfast that impresses. Break it out at a brunch and you’ll be guaranteed to get a ton of Oohs and Aahs. You’ll fool them all, though. Because all you have to do is throw your ingredients in a blender, let them rest and then bake them in a hot pan. They’ll do all the hard work for you. Most Dutch Baby recipes are about the same, but they are easy to customize by switching up the toppings. I love them simply dusted with powdered sugar, but syrup, fresh fruit or even jam or jelly make great additions as well.
Enjoy this breakfast, it’s beautiful. And you are too. No matter what your hair looks like today.
Peace and love,
Dutch Baby Pancake
adapted from the Kitchn (https://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-make-a-dutch-baby-pancake-227629)
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup almond milk (or milk of your choice. I used unsweetened almond)
- 2 large eggs
- 2 tablespoons coconut sugar (or regular--I like the coconut for depth of flavor)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
- 1 tablespoon butter
- Step 1 Blend all ingredients (except butter) in a blender on high speed for 20 seconds. Scraping down the sides once or twice to incorporate all flour.
- Step 2 Let rest for 20 minutes. It will be a very loose batter.
- Step 3 While the pancake is resting, heat the pan in the oven to 425 degrees (make sure it’s an oven-safe pan. Cast iron is best here)
- Step 4 Once the pan is heated, take out using oven mits and place on stove top. Add butter and melt, swirling to get every side covered.
- Step 5 Pour batter into buttered pan making sure to swirl to get the batter to all sides and return to oven (using your mits!)
- Step 6 Bake for 20 minutes or until puffed and golden.
- Step 7 Remove from oven and serve immediately with powdered sugar, syrup and fresh fruit.