Bad Hair Day? The Worst.

My Lord………..man alive……………yesterday was NOT what I had expected it to be. On Wednesday, I booked a long overdue hair appointment on a website that gives offers on high end salons in the city. I have done something like this before and had a very positive experience. Last September, I used another of these websites to do my hair. It was a success and one the best haircuts I’ve ever had.

Yesterday however, was an entirely different story.

On arrival, a friendly welcoming receptionist greeted me. All good. I only had to wait a few moments before my ‘stylist’ (I use this term very lightly) appeared. She ushered me over to the chair without a ‘Hello’ or ‘Pleased to meet you’. There was no introduction nor did she ask me for my name. I just sat down in my allocated chair.

“What do you want then?” she asked abruptly.

Taken aback by her rudeness and lack of decency, I showed her some printed photos I’d taken from Google of Rose Byrne – my hair idol.

 

She had no clue who this beautiful woman was which was clearly a bad start. In her broken English, she proceeded to argue and shout that my hair cannot be cut in this way.

Baring in my that my hair was to my shoulder blades and almost one length with long layers running through, her argument held no strength. It was clear that perhaps she was not capable of such a cut and I was receiving a barrage of excuses. I couldn’t believe that I was having an argument with my so-called hairdresser! I had booked this appointment, thankfully on discount, hoping for a relaxing and well deserved treatment. Instead, I felt like walking straight out of the door. Sadly, through these websites, you have to pay in advance so it was obvious that I was stuck with her.

The idiotic stylist began making exasperating looks at her fellow co-worker, like I was the problem. She particularly didn’t like it when I called her “aggressive” but that is truly what she was.

After coming to a basic agreement, the hairdresser seemed to understand my request. Well how wrong was I?

I absolutely detest the final result.

She has given me the worst haircut I’ve ever had in my life, far surpassing the time when my father gave me a lop-sided bob aged seven. Thank god I only asked for a trim and my hair grows quickly as I won’t be taking it out of a ponytail for at least a month!

Unbelievable.

Shallow as this rant may be, as a sufferer of BDD (Body Dysmorphic Disorder) my hair was the sole thing that I ever liked about myself so this is bound to knock what little confidence I have left.

Do NOT visit BURLINGTON’S BOUTIQUE in Oxford Circus, London. Unless you want someone to insult you for an hour and ruin your hair (!)

Body Dysmorphic Disorder.

I have to be honest, I lack knowledge in this subject and would never have classed myself as suffering from it. Well, not until recently. Within the last two years, due a significant weight gain (related to stress), I have been feeling extremely low about the way I look, anxious even. Walking past a mirror or reflective surface only panics me. It instantly disgusts me.

I am regularly told “it’s all in your head” or scolded for being self-absorbed. Others compliment me, attempting to reassure my fault-finding. I’ve had people drop casual comments that I should start dieting then I might feel better. In actuality that makes me feel a thousand times worse when all I do is diet then binge and diet then binge. Any sign of stress sends me into this destructive path.

I have read other bloggers talk about BDD but would never admit that I too suffer from many of the symptoms. I am scared that friends, family and acquaintances will judge me; that they will think I am attention seeking or fishing for compliments. It’s not that I need to hear I’m beautiful, I just cannot stand the way I look. When I see myself in the mirror I feel sick. I see a stranger staring back at me.

In the explanation for BDD on the NHS website, they say that sufferers regularly find fault in their bodies especially the facial area. I hate my face. I hate it. I think it’s vile. I hate my unsymmetrical face. I hate my twisted nose, my teeth, my double chin. I feel disgusting every day. That’s not to say that I love everything else about myself – I don’t.

I love fashion. I try to make it work but the confident days are ruined when I accidentally see my reflection in a shop window. What seemed like a good choice in the morning becomes a bad decision; one that I berate myself for making for the rest of the day. A decision that leaves me feeling self conscious and extremely aware of how awful I look.

I do not dare say this out loud and am currently too frightened to seek professional help. I feel as though I may be laughed at. After all, people see me as I want them to see me: confident and self-assured.

Unfortunately, that’s not the case.

It only takes a year.

It only takes a year

just twelve months,

for you to change your mind.

With no reason I can find

It only takes that long.

It only takes that long,

just twelve months,

for your loyalty to dissipate.

For you to demonstrate,

that our friendship has gone.

Our friendship has now gone,

in just twelve months,

you are like a stranger to me.

It is what you wanted to be

in this year that has gone by.

In this year that has gone by,

in just twelve short months,

Our lives move side by side.

Yet you have just denied

me from even talking to you.

I cannot even talk to you,

these past twelve months.

Your distance is surprising,

suspicions are arising,

it’s only been one year.

It’s only been one year

just twelve little months,

and I feel like it’s been a waste,

that time can’t be erased.

That you have left me with regret.

Why leave me with regret?

In these last twelve months?

Why hurt me so easily?

Or treat me so sleazily?

You had choices at the start.

You had a choice at the start,

before these past twelve months,

if I wasn’t as you had hoped,

I think I would have coped,

without you in my life.

Am I assertive?

Possibly. Maybe? Perhaps not as much as I would like to be but – I’ll get there!

I have learnt a lot about assertive behaviour over the past few weeks. I see it appearing within myself and then fading into oblivion when I feel like I’ve taken on too much. I want to change and become more assertive but it seems like a daunting task. Over the past week, on the few occasions I’ve put it into practice, it hasn’t totally gone to plan.

In one situation, with a family member, it went completely awry and blew up in my face. One thing our tutor mentioned, was that the people we know may respond negatively to the fact that we are changing. They may not like the new assertive and confident person we are turning into. They are far too use to us being passive, obedient and subservient. It is too much for them to undertake or comprehend and their frustration is bound to come out. Which it did in my case. A rather loud and heated argument followed with me letting rip. Sick of pushing my anger and emotions to one side, I let a little leave me and I did not apologise nor feel guilty after. Within reason we all have the right to feel anger – appropriately of course. I think I will choose my words more carefully next time. However, I do not plan to stop being assertive.

This is a new me.

A confident, open and clear me. One who can ask for what she wants, accepts criticism, feel anger without being judged, feel she has human rights and can say ‘No’ without fear of letting someone down.

She isn’t here yet and I’ve never seen her in me before but I hope, I really hope that I can find her.

What are you afraid of?

I fear many things. I wish I was more daring and able to take more risks. I used to be able to especially as a child. Fear was something I lacked. I spoke my mind and challenged bad things, I defended myself and took emotional risks. I let myself fail believing that there was a lesson to learn from it. 

Fear grew quite quickly. By my teenage years I was becoming more afraid. I had been criticized by my mother and sister for being selfish and self-centered as a young child. The world revolved around me apparently. I was a confident child being punished for living life. Soon, the fear came. 

During the divorce and the pressures of choice, I feared everything. Outwardly, my family saw a show. I appeared to be calm and in control but mentally I was failing. I knew I was about to make the wrong decision but in fear of becoming targeted and bullied for even thinking it, I went with my father. It was, in my mind, the easiest thing to do. I had backed myself into a corner that could not be further from my mother and sister; we were practically strangers. I had to go with him and I was scared to do it. I did not know that he would be the man they said he was but I had my doubts. I had the fear. There was the possibility. 

My fears magnified when living with my father. they became embedded in me. Not only was I clearly petrified of him, I became a shadow of the girl I once was. To me, I was no longer myself. I was a nobody. 

Rejection.

I fear this still as an adult. I am married and I don’t feel it with my husband luckily. I do feel it in most walks of life especially with friends. I try to avoid it when I can, rarely asking anything of anyone. I thought I could depend on my father, he always told me I could but each time I confided in him or asked for anything, my request was rejected and berated. I have been rejected recently by some people, people I still see. One in particular I took as being a close friend but she has recently, within the last year, decided I am not worth her time. I do not know what happened as there was no explanation yet she continues to smile and play nice. I allow her to do it. I refuse to “chase” her and mend what was clearly already a broken friendship.

Criticism.

I often wait to be critiqued and devalued by people. I expect criticism. I fear it immensely. It is my biggest insecurity yet something I cannot confront.

Tempers.

I fear fights and aggression, I try to stay out of it but sometimes it cannot be avoided. I cannot stand someone raising their voice at me, it frightens me. I hate it. It only brings back every time my father did it. How he used his volume to belittle and demean me. 

Death.

Unbelievably, not my own. I often think about dying. I don’t think I am going to live very long. David hates it when I talk like that but to me it’s a matter of fact. I fear my mother dying. It is, at the moment, my greatest fear. I think about it a lot. She is 70 now and I have begun predicting how long I will have her for. When I speak to her I worry it’ll be the last time. I cry nearly every time after the phone has been put down. It took us so long to get a normal, loving relationship, I feel as though all those years fighting a pointless battle were wasted. Time has disappeared and I may not have her for long. I am angry at my sister for what she has done to her. My mother is a shell of the woman she once was. I know in many ways she resents her life. I hate that she feels like that. I fear the day when I won’t be able to hug my mother. Her touch immediately soothes me, her voice calms me, her little idiosyncrasies make me laugh. I don’t want them to be memories yet.

Fear stifles our thinking and actions. It creates indecisiveness that results in stagnation. I have known talented people who procrastinate indefinitely rather than risk failure. Lost opportunities cause erosion of confidence, and the downward spiral begins.
Charles Stanley 

3. Sex and respect, Part 3.

My family never questioned why they never met my boyfriends. I kept many of them away, with so many hidden secrets I could not risk them being exposed. My family were needy and I was sure they would reveal themselves at some point and uncover my pretence.

My mother rarely asked about my love life. By the time I reached my early twenties, my sister had been with her boyfriend for eight years. They married when I was twenty two. Her relationship was far more important. I couldn’t turn to her with boyfriend problems. She had only experienced it with one man. She was lucky as he was devoted to her, she never had to deal with the games people played. I wanted to have those chats with my mum but she was more concerned with my sister. I felt she’d just laugh at me as I had always been a source of amusement to the pair of them. I could hardly turn to my father, he would only use it as a weapon against me in the future, saving all the casual remarks I made to him or the times I was truly upset and using them to insult me. I wouldn’t tell friends in fear they would laugh too. I just kept it concealed from everyone.

I continued to meet pointless men and have disastrous, fleeting relationships. Everything was meaningless and had no depth. I longed to meet someone I connected with. In 2007, after dating an imbecile, I decided enough was enough. I was at my lowest. Things were awful at home with my father, I was unhappy in my career and I had put on over two stone in weight in the space of two years. It was time for a drastic change.

In the space of four months, I managed to shed the two stone I had put on. My confidence had returned and it didn’t take long for the men to follow. This time it felt different and the confidence felt real. I actually had a bit of fun that year and I didn’t berate myself for it either.

By 2008 and the point I met my husband David, I looked back on my dating and sexual history. I was surprised by how many worthless men I had met and how I had lowered my respect for myself so much. I wished that I could have discovered true inner confidence sooner and not fallen for the compliments in the dating game. I wish I wasn’t so desperate to feel loved or be needed by a man. I just looked for everything my father was not giving me and I don’t mean that in an incestuous way. I mean security, love, kindness, honesty and most of all,

DECENCY.

I wish I had learnt these lessons earlier and been a bit more prepared. All my friends had long term relationships and weren’t seeming to be making the stupid mistakes that I was. I needed the guidance from the two people you expect to get it from.

I was lucky to meet my husband at the right time and feel like I was truly worth something, I was attractive and appealing and that I deserved love and respect from a man.