His name was Kerkow and I wanted his hair. I don’t think I ever exchanged words with the kid but I ogled his hair for 5 months straight . “I’m going to cut my hair just like Kerkow’s” I would announce in my best stalker voice to innocent bystanders. I’d rarely get a response other than raised eyebrows  most likely due to the fact that he was a white dude and I am obviously not, but those were just details.

Others may have doubted my vision, but I could picture it in my head and it looked like this (only with my face):

The Hair I wanted

I was certain that this haircut would be a-mazing, but I couldn’t pull the trigger.  It was such a bold and, in some ways, unforgiving step. What if my face was too long for short hair? My nose too big? What if I got the haircut and then when I went to work the next day, everyone just stared, but no one said anything about it? (you know how that is)

I didn’t hate my hair. It was shoulder length and healthy enough, but it was just there—straight. No razzle dazzle, no nothing. I often wore it in a school-marmish bun for lack of anything better to do with it. But when I saw Kerkow’s hair all spiky and glorious, I just knew that’s what my hair was meant to do.

Three years I agonized about this haircut. I lusted after all manners of short, pixie cuts, awkwardly staring after any girl or boy who had the hair that I coveted. I even pinned my hair into a faux hawk, took awesome pictures (validating my belief that it would look great) and still could not do it.

You know how it is with the things that we desire most, I talked about it exhaustively. I talked about it incessantly, constantly polling those around me trying to decide if I should do it or not.

We were in Annapolis for the spom’s 50th bday and I was doing my “I’m really thinking of cutting my hair routine” with my sbrother (just like a real brother, only different parents). I think he was watching football and just kind of nodding at random points during my talking at him.  I was probably nearing the end of my “what if?” list regarding short hair when  M— turned to look at me.

“You can’t hide beautiful,” he said and that was it. He shrugged his shoulders and went back to watching t.v.

He said it so matter-of-factly. Like he was telling me a verifiable fact like his wife’s height, or his weight, or my future.  He said it in his normal, everyday alto, but he may as well have shouted it at me. My soul still catches on those words: You can’t hide beautiful.

You can’t hide beautiful.

You can’t hide beautiful.

You can’t hide beautiful.

You can’t hide beautiful.

The fact that someone who was not blood-related to me found me beautiful was revolutionary in itself, but it was the sentiment behind it that gets me still. My beauty was not dependent upon my hair. Having long, or conversely short, hair did not make me more or less beautiful. And if my beauty (which my sbrother was so certain that I had) wasn’t  dependant upon my hair then perhaps it wasn’t dependent upon my clothes,  or my dark skin, or my weird nose, or the amount of money that  I lacked, or any other thing that I thought was keeping me so unattractive. Perhaps, it was not even contingent upon anything that I was doing.

I didn’t run home immediately and grab the scissors. I did what one does when you hear something True– something that resonates deeply in your soul’s caverns.  I let it marinate. I let it sink in. I started to believe it.  And when the time came, I got that haircut that I’d wanted for so long.

When the stylist finally twirled me towards the mirror, I was startled by the face staring back at me—not because of the newness or major difference in her face, but because of the astonishing familiarity.  I looked like myself.

I don’t think my sbrother even remembers saying those 4 simple words, but I do. And maybe I’ve run away with them and imbued them with meaning that he never intended, but on those days when I think I need to lose 30 lbs, have straighter teeth, or get more degrees to be beautiful, I remember it again:

You can’t hide beautiful.

What Truth has someone spoken into your life?

4 Comment on “You Can’t Hide Beautiful

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