I had my hair done today. (Must cover those grey roots. Not aging gracefully.) And today, as with every visit to the salon, I am vaguely self-conscious throughout the appointment: those who work there are all hip, thin and glamorous, young people. I am none of those things. When the stylist finishes blow drying and ruffles my coiffure into position with a flourish, and I put on my glasses, I feel just a tiny bit of despair as I look in that mirror. My hair looks nice. The rest of me is... alas. I am not sure what I wish: younger? Prettier? Different? And I am perhaps just a little sad that my youth seems so very far away now.
I wonder, too -- do they look at me as an Old Person, fruitlessly fighting a losing battle against Father Time? Am I silly? Foolish? Or just old? And I want to shrink into myself and become invisible.
I am, now more than ever, aware of a sad little need that dwells deep within: a need for approval, for reassurance of attractiveness, for belonging. It's the kind of desire that flourishes in teen years, and lies dormant oftentimes in adulthood, sprouting only occasionally for reasons mysterious (or perhaps obvious yet not admittable). Am I pretty? Am I liked? Am I worth someone else's time? Do I have value?
Why do these things matter? They should not. Value should lie within, not in the approbation of others.
Even as I try to engage in conversation with people, though, I hear (or see) my words, and I cringe a little bit. Am I trying too hard? Is my need so very obvious? Will it drive others away?
Why am I so very needy right now? It is nearly embarrassing.
Again, I want to shrink into myself and become invisible.
Love me when I least deserve it, because that's when I really need it.