Sometimes I wear fake bangs. I got them as a birthday present years ago, but have never dared wear them out of my house. Every so often I like to creep over late at night to my “battle-station corner” where my overloaded collection of makeup, hair tools and accessories resides and dig the fringe out. I clip them into place and examine myself in the mirror as I contort my face into fake laughter, fish lips, stone cold and “Oh! You caught me off guard!”. I play with the length and pull at how it falls atop my face. Sometimes I try baby bangs and remember when Beyoncé did it best. Other times I pull a Bardot and stick out a pout. There is something comforting about being awake at such a late hour...a sense of isolation and protection. A feeling that the judgement takes a break for a little bit and I breath freely in my own skin. I consider going for the cut in real life and my mind jumps from enjoyment to fear of physical perception. I remove my fake hair and ever-so-carefully return them to their hair net where they remain until another late night craving for a hair transformation.
A transformation, that is what I was always trying to achieve. Was I not satisfied with who I was and felt that changing something about my appearance will fix everything? Was it when I saw old pictures of myself as a child with real bangs that I ached to return to when life seemed so much simpler? I can’t tell you because I honestly don’t know. However, I know that tonight I had a different feeling within me. I put the bangs on and thought the cliché: “New year, new me”. This time, transformation didn’t dazzle me. I didn’t make any faces...I just sat there and stared back at myself. I really looked for the first time in a long time. I saw details that I had obscured from my own vision: the smile lines that cut down through my cheeks, faint freckles that danced across my nose, purple-tinted paint-like skin greased below my eyes from sleepless nights. I touched the scar on my lip from when a dog decided I looked edible and I took in the way my right eye closed more than my left. I didn’t see my physical features as something to be transformed, I saw them as reflections on the story my life has told so far.
Someone asked me who I wanted to become in 2016. The thing is, a new year doesn’t mean a new you. You are the same you that you were the day before and yet, you are never the same no matter what day it is. Life is all about changing. No changes you make on the surface don’t equal changes within you. If there is one thing that my gap year is teaching me, it is that life is uncontrollable. You don't get to decide what happens all of the time. So, my resolution this year is to recognize changes and accept them as they come and go. I want to appreciate the time that I have and spend it well and maybe, just maybe I’ll actually cut my bangs this year.