Desperately seeking… a) attention; or b) normal

Friday, December 2, 2011 Permalink

Every morning as I walk to the nearby train station I pass a large billboard advertising a local private girls’ school. And just beyond that billboard I actually pass hordes of uniformed girls waiting for a bus to take them to ‘said’ school.

The thing about the billboard is that the girls are (while not overtly pretty) fresh-faced and earnest-looking. And all with long hair, pulled back in pony-tails. It makes me notice that all of the girls sitting on the footpath have long hair as well. So – in some sort of strange social experiment – I find myself scouring the crowds for young girls (and not in a weird way!) and I’m yet to see a teenage girl with short hair.

I know the realisation is hardly mind-blowing or insightful, but I’ve found myself mulling over it for a while.

styleLast Sunday I attended my 15yr old niece’s end-of-year ballet concert. One of the early dances involving The Divine Miss E was a group number. Miss E and others in her year all appeared on stage throwing themselves about as one does in contemporary dance (well, so I’ve learned from So You Think You Can Dance!). They performed well, but the thing I most noticed is that they all had INCREDIBLY LONG HAIR left out and loose so they could flick it about the place.

Miss E herself has hair almost down to her teensy little butt. So when I saw her later I asked what would happen if some poor girl had short, or even shoulder length hair. Miss E looked at me strangely and told me ‘You can’t do ballet and have short hair.’

I think I hurrumphed and blithered about free will and homogenous societies. Etcetera. (Yes, I am sounding like a nanna, commenting on ‘hair like rats tails’ and the need for frequent brushing and trimming!)

I suspect an eye roll was involved before Miss E clarified: not only was long hair ‘cool’ (my word, not hers) but she said, in ballet you NEED to look like everyone else. In fact, she told me some ballet companies make blondes dye their hair a darker colour so THEY ALL LOOK THE SAME.

mcx-emma-watsom-assets-11-mdnI have short hair at the moment, but have – on several occasions – had long hair. So perhaps I’m biased when I find myself admiring those role models or celebrities who take a risk and go for a more individual style… while still being ‘marketable’ or (god forbid) socially acceptable…. And, I’m thinking of Michelle Williams and Emma Watson (pictured right) here.

When I was young I wanted to be special. I wanted to excel in something. I wanted to be famous. And – fame by association was even okay. I mean, it wasn’t like I was about to go on a reality television show (although they didn’t exist in the 1980s, as TV Executives had not yet run out of ideas for quality shows!), but I wanted to stand out from the crowd and I wanted people to look up to me in some way.

I had no real idea in mind as to HOW I’d become famous, though toyed with the idea of modelling, or excelling in some activity or other. And, of course, if all else failed I would land myself a famous boyfriend or husband and become a well-known handbag.

When I think of that now I cringe with embarrassment, although I suspect many-a-young girl goes through a similar stage.

Do I still want to be famous? Umm….well, I’d like to be super-rich and not have to work. I’d like to be doing a job or things I love and am passionate about. I’d like to get more joy from life and have fewer worries. But fame… well actually, fame earned through achievement (aka RESPECT) would be better.

But do I want to be different? To stand out? Well, not at the moment! In fact, lately I’ve been thinking how much I’d like to be normal: blend in with crowd, if you will. I mean, sure I’d like for people to be gobsmacked by my outstanding beauty, wicked wit or achievements…(!!!) but mostly I want to NOT attract attention for all of the wrong reasons.

I don’t want people to see a picture of me and think, ‘Well, she’d look better if she lost some weight.’ And I don’t want people in the street to look at me and notice me because I’m bigger than everyone else.

Pretend to be NormalToday I followed someone along the street and as she waddled along (very slowly) my own judgements and prejudices kicked in. I found myself thinking mean thoughts and eyeing her shopping bag (in which I could see blocks of chocolate) with disdain.

I’ve spent many a day hiding my unhealthy purchases or not eating in public so that I don’t attract unwanted attention from others. I mostly wear black – and not because it’s slimming or I’m making some sort of statement. I just don’t want to stand out. I want to blend in.

I hope that changes some day. I think I have a ‘big’ personality when I make the effort. I can walk into a room and overtake the conversation (not always an attractive trait I realise). So I just hope that one day, I’m confident to walk into a room in something eye-catching and different and attract attention – for all of the right reasons.

12 Comments
  • Karen@WaistingTime
    December 2, 2011

    I have long noticed that about teen girls, since I have seen many in the past years of my boys’ growing up. It was often hard to tell them apart since the hair was all the same style, almost. I love Emma with short hair but she is growing it back because it is easier for movie roles, she says. Interestingly I saw and Oprah show many years ago about women who looked young for their age. Guess what! They all had long hair!

    • rockafellaskank
      December 2, 2011

      I had a hairdresser tell me once I looked older with long hair, but I suspect it was the weight I was carrying (on my face in particular) and long straight hair which didn’t help. Mine’s really short now which is easy to manage (as my head gets sweaty a lot!) but every so often I look at other styles wistfully!

  • Julia @ Boyfriends Make You Fat
    December 2, 2011

    Think about all the confidence you are building by sharing your weight loss journey… that takes a lot of guts.

    • rockafellaskank
      December 2, 2011

      Thanks Julia….(Or insanity!)

  • Runa Martinson (@Lose4Good)
    December 2, 2011

    Interesting topic!! I had short hair for a long time as a child. Then I grew it out and had long and one day, I just sat down in my kitchen as a young adult and cut it off myself to shoulder length and shocked everyone. Then went and had it chopped off another day to shorter than short. Now I have REALLY long hair and I wear it pulled back all the time. Which, some people consider a crime because of how beautiful my hair is when it is down. But, it is my CHOICE. I like having that. Because as a child, I really never felt like I had much of one!! Not in hair, not in food, not in clothes, not in friends, not in anything – but that is a whole other matter (my mom was sick with paranoid schizophrenia and had no treatment and we lived alone together).

    As far as being rich – I agree – again allowing more freedom of CHOICE in what I do and when. But famous – I don’t want it so much either!! 🙂 But, I would love the RESPECT if I earned it 🙂

    • rockafellaskank
      December 2, 2011

      I definitely agree with the respect notion and as I was writing the blog post I realised THAT was what I wanted – more than ‘fame’ etc.

      The hair thing is interesting. I often see it as an empowering or cathartic thing to ‘do what you want’ with it (wear it up, chop it off etc). I still remember the scene with Jo in Little Women – when she cut her hair off for $.

      I have to admit, when I had long hair I had to wear it up constantly as I got too hot with it out and it was constantly sweaty… which made me wonder why the hell I’d grown it long (if I was going to wear it out)…. although it is easy to manage and it always looks nice pulled back, I think.

      I’d be interested to see your hair out (the only photos I’ve seen of you – blog, Twitter etc – it’s up)!

      Deb

  • bellaxthree
    December 2, 2011

    Great blog post! Maybe it isn’t that you are desperately seeking attention… or desperately seeking to be normal. Perhaps you are desperate to be YOU and feel absolutely AOK and awesome about that. Just a thought. As I have gone through my adventures transforming my life I have discovered that I can be me and be totally at ease with that… I do not desire attention or wish for no attention, I do not desire to be ‘normal’ or anything other than to be entirely and completely “ME”. No apologies. No hiding. No worries. No fear. No guilt. No drama. No hesitation.

    Just me, feeling free to me be and working out what it is I love doing … and doing it. It seems so simple now but it has been a hard point to get to.
    xx
    Ange

    • rockafellaskank
      December 2, 2011

      Would love to be ‘me’ Ange… wonder if I’m still working out who that is! xx

      • bellaxthree
        December 4, 2011

        It seems like a mystery at times for all of us when we are trying to work that out! There are days when you think WTF?! and other days it’s like Hmm yes, this is definitely part of who “me” is. I think it is a process of constant evolution and change but there is that very fundamental definition of yourself that I think is initially hard to find when we have been literally and figuratively cloaking ourselves in layers of extra body fat, bulky clothes etc for many years.

        I like to think of it – or myself – as one big experiment these days. That resonates with my inner scientist. Nothing is final or fatal – give it all ago, forget striving for perfect or ‘finished’… experiments often ‘fail’ – all about trial and error and repeating and refining. That mindset has really taken the pressure off me internally and left me free to actually discover who I am and what I want out of life. Good science is all about posing good questions and working out different ways to find good answers…. and even to find out what does NOT work (which is more often the outcome!) In research that ‘negative’ outcome is just as informative an outcome as finding what works, sometimes MORE informative – you know?

        These days I try to embrace my curiosity… undertake everything with the attitude of “OoooK… let’s give this a whirl and see what happens….” If worst case scenario happens, if it all goes pear shaped I try to stay in the curious mode and perhaps also have a laugh and say “Well that was royal f**k up… but I have a good story to tell now!”. I prefer this to how I used to operate – never trying things or starting things in case I could not do them “right” or stressing lots about how to things “properly”.

        I reckon 2012 should be the year of curiousness for us – screw perfection, screw the pressure it brings, screw all the time & energy wasting that goes into ruminating over the possible outcomes or trying to force things to go a certain way. Instead let’s have an adventure and see how many f**k ups we can have a good laugh about along the way.

        A f**k up is still a result 🙂
        xx

        • rockafellaskank
          December 4, 2011

          Very true… and we learn from those mistakes. I have a funny quote / picture re perfectionism somewhere…. will work out a way to put in in one of my posts in the next week or so! I wonder if perhaps I am becoming / will become LESS risk averse as I’m getting older. I’d like to think so!

          Deb

  • Nikki Parkinson (@StylingYou)
    December 4, 2011

    Fantastic post. My daughter turns 15 tomorrow and yes she has super long hair. Most of her friends do too. It’s possibly a fashion trend thing – I remember when we were at school it was about the perm (look where that got me). My mum also didn’t let me grow my hair when I was young so I’ve rebelled ever since. My hair’s currently long but I’ve been everything in between since leaving school a life time ago.

    • rockafellaskank
      December 4, 2011

      Yep, Miss E did tell me that all of the ‘cool kids’ (TCs… totally cool?) have long hair nowadays. And the ballet kids are worse! I told Miss E her hair was Amish-ly long!

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