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Sunday, September 30, 2012

Catholic Theology and Bad Haircuts

HUMILITY. The moral virtue that keeps a person from reaching beyond himself. It is the virtue that restrains the unruly desire for personal greatness and leads people to an orderly love of themselves based on a true appreciation of their position with respect to God and their neighbors. Religious humility recognizes one's total dependence on God; moral humility recognizes one's creaturely equality with others. Yet humility is not only opposed to pride; it is also opposed to immoderate self-abjection, which would fail to recognize God's gifts and use them according to his will. (Etym. Latin humilitas, abasement, humility, from humus, ground.)

The above definition, courtesy of Father Hardon's online Modern Catholic Dictionary, is the lesson of the weekend for me.

Saturday I went to Great Clips in Modesto, at Village One Plaza, to get my bangs and hair trimmed. 30 minutes later, in a total state of shock, I walked out with a butchered layered cut that looks like I am a member of a 1970's punk rock band.  I look horrible.  By the time I got home the shock had worn off and was replaced by sobbing.  Hysterical sobbing.

I do just look bad, I look horrible.  I have had to flat iron, curl, tease and trim myself to come up with a look that will not scare little children when I walk down the street.  I may start going to the Traditional Latin Mass at St Joseph's because that will allow me to wear a veil. 

I am joking, but I am devastated.

Looking good is important to me.  I don't think I am alone in this particular area or unusual in wanting to be attractive.  Apparently, however,  I am a tad too attached to looking nice, as evidenced by the churning stomach I have experienced since first looking in the mirror yesterday.

St Catherine of Sienna, a noble Dominican woman, cut off her beautiful hair to make herself less attractive to men.  She did this so that she would not be tempted to sin by her own vanity.  Apparently, she was so stunningly beautiful men just followed her down the street.  That does not sound like a problem I am going to have, with or without a good haircut.

The reality is, I am not comfortable enough in my own skin yet.  I am comfortable enough to stay sober and I am comfortable enough to not have to eat my way through four or five bags of potato chips AND M&M(s) to get over the shock of losing all my hair in a scissor accident.  I am not comfortable enough yet to be able to shrug my shoulders and say, "It doesn't matter. What counts is my inner beauty" when it looks like I should be wearing a red leather jacket with padded shoulders while playing guitar with Susie Quatro.

I think I am making spiritual progress and then BLAM this happens.  I guess my spiritual director is right -  this is not going to be something I will have finished by next Tuesday.  I am going to be dealing with my own shortcomings and sin every day of my life.

With that in mind, I turn to humility.  I ask God to help me accept that which I cannot change (yesterday's idiotic decision to run into Great Clips for just a trim) and give me the strength to not just take money I don't have and go have it cut shorter.

Because I do not want shorter hair.


Help me.

1 comment:

Robert said...


"Spiritual," what a word. It seems like in the "world" it can mean anything, which is another way of saying it means nothing. For Catholics, I think it is always used with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Then there are the people who are "spiritual but not religious." A lot of those folks also say they are "recovering Catholics."

Someone came up to me one time after a talk and said I was a really spiritual person. At the moment, I thought “yeah, I am feeling in the groove tonight!” Then I forgot where I parked my car. I did not look or act too “spiritual” then, as I proceeded to blame most of the town I was in for stealing my misplaced car. Oh yeah, spiritual giant that one.

You should have seen my hair in my first 30 days; took it all off a-la Brittany Spears, but eight years earlier. I remember a guy named Fred coming up to me at three months and remarking that I looked almost human.