I’ve been thinking about this idiom “Letting Your Hair Down," since it’s been many years since I really let my long curly hair all the way down for more than a few minutes while it’s drying, or of course while sleeping. Mothering young children with small grasping fingers, needing to focus on many life tasks at once, has naturally inspired the impulse to pull my thick curls up, back, off my face, and away.
It’s a slightly uncomfortable edge of extra “bigness” for me to allow this wild mane to just be as it is, nakedly uncaptured by a rubber band. Already 6 feet tall and statuesque, with a very large soul presence; the big bounty of golden curls has just seemed, well, you know, maybe... a bit much? (But a bright red dress is fine. ;-))
It’s interesting what feels uniquely bold to us, what feels daring or edgy, what feels like “letting our hair down.” What is it for you, right now, in your life? What’s your risky growing edge of letting your hair down?
Ironically, I remember the January I turned 25, “letting my hair down” in that moment looked like shaving my head. I was so aware in that maiden stage, as a young devotee of truth, how distracting my hair was in the world, to myself, and to others, as an obsessive tool of sex-appeal.
And so, bravely, one morning living above the ocean in Bolinas, I shaved it all off, and then tossed my long blond locks into the ravishing waves. And then, in the months that followed, was somewhat the disappointed young nun, to realize that shaving my head was not the simple escape from maiden sex-appeal I had hoped it would be.
40 years old now, deeply comfortable in my own skin, clear about who I am and am not, having swelled and shrunk with pregnancy and childbirth twice now, married and divorced, heartbroken open, healed and whole, alive as love itself, surrendered to living service, I can freely let my hair down, literally, and so to speak, in all the ways I'm called.
I can even let Love’s outrageous sex-appeal shine, this holy eros, because by now I know what hair is, and what hair isn’t (thank goodness); because I belong to myself, to God, and to this Love which is discerning integrity, generosity, grace, and truth, above all else.
If it is distracting, it is Love’s distraction.
If it is attracting, it only attracts Love more deeply home to itself.
I remember when I was a teenager, already 5’11, and someone would refer to me as “big” and I would feel a pang of self-rejection and then correct them: “I’m not big, I’m tall.” How did “big” become such a dirty word as a description for a woman?
I can still feel it, can’t you? For men, it seems, the bigger the better, right? But women should be lithe, thin, small, light. Elegant’s fine. Graceful is good. Regal: borderline. But Big? Mmmm, nope.
I can feel this energy now, the edginess of bigness, as I walk more boldly into the spotlight of my life, giving in and letting go to the bigness of Love that wants to use my entire life in its outrageous flood of authentic generosity.
I can feel the shame of bigness. The internalized voices of “How dare you? Who you do think you are? To shine like that? How dare you take up so much space? With your heart? With your light? With your voice? With your sexiness? With your hair? Shhh! Be small, be good, be quiet, be invisible, blend in.”
Love says: “Actually? I am uncontainably huge. I am hot. I am whole. I am holy. And I am free.”
It's not about making oneself big. It's about relaxing, finally, into the bigness that is already here, the bigness that I am, the bigness I have always been; the immeasurable bigness that is your vast and vulnerable heart, your fiery truth, your exquisite risk of real love.
Because really, truly friends, we know that letting our hair down is not about the hair. But it is an interesting idiom. (And I really truly do want to know how you are letting yours down?) And I do believe I am going to experiment, more and more, with letting mine down, in all the outrageously beautiful ways I possibly can. <3