I gave a friend a haircut today. It’s amazing how 6 inches and new bangs can really throw a person into a existential turmoil! I tried to be as supportive as possible because, believe me, I get it! It’s so weird being a human. I’ve often felt confused by this mass of flesh I inhabit. What is this body I’m in? Do people respond to me in a particular way because of how I look? If I change how I look, will people treat me differently? Do I want them to? I don’t want to look too masculine, but I don’t want to look too feminine either. Sometimes, a change in the appearance can allow us to behave differently. An edgier look might give one more confidence. A cleaner look can help us look more professional.
I think back to how, in my early adulthood, I really wanted to have a unique look. I dyed my hair red and cut it asymmetrically (before it was a thing, I swear!) and wore bright colors and interesting thrift store finds. I don’t think I was too wild-looking, but I wasn’t exactly conventional-looking. Now, in my oh-so-wise late twenties, I consciously try to have an appearance that makes me accessible to as many people as possible (plus, comfort is now a priority).
I think we’re in bodies for a reason. I think that if we were supposed to be light bodies, we would have simply kept on floating through the cosmos. If I couldn’t run through the grass and feel the air on my face, would I know what freedom feels like? If I didn’t pay attention to the food I eat, how would I feel not only within my body, but internally as well? Would I know that eating spicy food and drinking alcohol inflames my already fiery personality? Would I know that when I crave heavy, sugary food that I’m probably depressed or stressed out? What about the lessons of pleasure and shame that I’ve gleaned from having sex? Without making love, would I know as much about how I love others?
My friend doesn’t necessarily think that we are in these bodies for any particular reason. Either way, reason or not, we are embodied. So, what do we do these bodies of ours? Why not change our appearance? Why not have fun with tattoos and crazy haircuts?