It was the 1970’s.  Everyone was doing it. All my friends had that Dorothy Hammill look — even the guys.  It was a bowl haircut and it was COOL!  Of course, it was only cool and it only looked good on certain people with a certain kind of hair.  The kind of hair that was NOT my hair.  The silky, straight-haired people had it made during this hair trend phase.  And I was super jealous.  

I mean … don’t get me wrong.  My hair was fabulous.  It was looonnnnnnggggg when I was younger and platinum blonde (I was a natural “toe head”).  It was naturally curly.  It truly was beautiful.  But I dreamed of being able to do something different with it.  Something trendy.  The truth?  Something that would allow me to feel as if I fit into the mold, was part of the “IN crowd”, was what everybody else was doing.  I believed deep in my gut that if I could somehow pull off this Dorothy Hammill cut and perhaps feather the sides back like Farrah Fawcett, all would be right in my young girl world.  All I wanted was to blend in.  I had a need to follow the crowd and be part of the masses.

4th and 5th grade

Granted, as a young girl with a very tumultuous family life — maybe it was OK to want to blend in.  Maybe it wasn’t such a bad thing to think that if I didn’t stand out, if I amalgamated myself like a chameleon into whatever trend was currently dominating society, if I looked like, acted like, spoke like, dressed like EVERYONE ELSE, then none of the difficulty in my life would rise to the surface and be seen.  None of the junk would be visible to anyone and I could hide within the masses.

Here’s the problem:  I developed this escape mechanism — this hiding technique — and taught myself a very tragic lesson:

“Your power and confidence in life are not innate.  They are dependent on whatever the crowd dictates.  You must silence yourself and blend in at all times”


Fast forward into my adulthood … 

I had become a PRO at silencing myself, pushing down into the depths of my being most of my opinions.  I acquiesced so as not to make waves, rock the boat or stand out too much so as to set myself apart.  I relinquished my vulnerability and continued to change my colors to fit whatever colors surrounded me in the moment.

And let me tell you — I was good at it — good at “chameleon-ing” and it was, in a word, EXHAUSTING.

Now — you may say, “Wait a minute, is this story about hair or reptiles or … WHAT exactly?  And my answer is YES.  This story IS about hair.  And reptiles.  And so much more.  Patience, my friends …

It happened — quite by accident

I had been maintaining my somewhat long locks for a long time.  It is the look that seemed preferable by most, including my spouse.  The longer the better, it seemed, was the verdict.  Sure, it was pretty and looked similar to many of the other woman around me.  Blonde like my youth, though I had tried going very dark a couple times to see how I felt as a “Jezebel”.  The dark hair almost allowed me to have an alter ego and I liked it (til the silver came through and someone commented about how it was the only thing that made me look my age.  Hmmm.  Another jab to the “I want to be my own person” mentality).  I liked it, yes.  But I also hid behind it and walked within the “norms” with all the other women, like cattle, we roamed the nebulous meadow of security.

It was on one of these “Let’s change the color” whims that I decided to try out some low lights on my still long and strong hair.  “Except Red, ” I demanded to the stylist.  Because that was DEFINITELY not the preferred-by-others color on me.  And wouldn’t you know, by some crazy twist of fate or the Universe finally deciding to force me to STEP OUT once and for all, I walked out of the salon with red coursing through my strands.

I found comfort behind my chameleon eyes

Because I wasn’t quite ready to shake my chameleon skin, and after receiving more negative comments than positive — I decided to force the stylist to “fix” the “problem”.  She stripped my hair of all color (ladies, we know what this will do) and from that moment forward my hair began to break off in tiny bits.  There was a shower of tiny hairs that fell to the floor each time I touched it, washed it, dried it.  And it had been “raining” for weeks, months.  Something had to be done.


I didn’t really see this fork in the road as an “opportunity” back then.  I had wished for years that I could know what it was like to have short, sassy, fun, creative, “out there” hair.  I would look at photographs of ladies who had more guts than me and just wish upon a star that I could do something like that, without fear of what others would think.  But — isn’t that really the crux of the matter?  WISHING for something and allowing FEAR to creep in and prevent you/me of ever following through … of ever DOING ANYTHING?

A good friend of mine convinced me to cut it.  Cut my hair and really begin to SHOW UP.  After much hemming and hawing and the throwing around of excuses which were, in reality, flags of fear – I did it.  This was the first step I took towards shedding the chameleon skin, stepping away from fear, throwing my wishes to the wayside and embracing action.

After that 1st haircut …



Can I tell you the liberation I felt?  After, of course, shaking from head to toe with nervousness when revealing this short style to the greater masses.  Not being able to hide behind something as silly as hair length?  I felt a sense of freedom to BE (as in “EXIST”)  — like I had not felt in — FOREVER.  You may think me melodramatic but let me explain further …

Fear had been a driving factor in my life.  My entire life.  Fear was the chameleon.  It had wrapped itself around me til we were one and the same.

Many of you have no idea my story.  All you see is what appears to be a confident woman; one who knows what she wants, where she is going, who walks with her head high and overcomes obstacles, who is driven, has her wits about her, who is an expert in her field, has not endured much struggle.

Oh, dear friends, how wrong you are.  I have been crippled by the chameleon for years and had bowed down to its dictates nearly my entire life.  And it took taking ONE SINGLE STEP – as small and inconsequential as cutting my hair – to allow me to take another step and another and another until one day I looked over my shoulder and the chameleon was a teeny tiny speck BEHIND me and I could barely make out its colors anymore.


I did, indeed, receive much flack from that first haircut.  Negative terms swirled in the air like –

“CHOPPED it off”  *  “Butch-like”  *  “Unfeminine”  *  “You butchered it”  *  “NOT as pretty”  *  “Boy cut”  *  “Less of a WOW factor”  *  “Not what men like”   — BLAH, BLAH, BLAH!   

I began to shed my chameleon skin.  I began to understand that I would never, ever, ever have the capability to always please the people around me.  And, quite honestly, it wasn’t my job to please them.  It is my job to live authentically and to allow my voice to be heard, to allow myself to be expressive in safe, harmless ways and then let the chips fall where they may.

I didn’t CHOP off my hair.  I cut it and have continued to cut it into a freakin’ awesome pixie – a haircut I NEVER thought I’d have the guts to pull off.

What is “Butch-like” anyway?  Someone answer THAT question.

Unfeminine?  I have girly parts, I assure you, which makes me 100% feminine.  My haircut allows me to be “femininely fierce”, thank you very much.

Butchered it?  Really?  Mkay, Pumpkin.

Not as pretty — well.  That’s a blow.  But not as pretty to whom?  The number of people (men and women, I might add) who have stopped me in my tracks to compliment me on my now-even-shorter hairstyle are too many to count.

Boy cut.  OK.  If you say so.  Thank you for the insight into your narrow-mindedness.

Less of a WOW.  Again.  We are hitting below the belt now.  That stings, but I can finally take it and these kinds of jabs can no longer force me to continue hiding.

Not what men like.  And that should concern me why, exactly?

Something so Simple

Though it took many years for me to come into myself and be OK without my chameleon skin, it was a simple, unexpected, unforced fork in the road that did it.  Something so trite in the grand scheme of things.  But with the sharp cut, cut, cut of the first pair of scissors and the continued cut, cut, cut of them now, I have experienced a bold awakening, and empowerment beyond my wildest dreams.

And I want YOU to feel this same thing!!

So many women have approached me.  Total strangers.  And they say something like this:

“I have been watching you ever since you walked in here and I just had to come up and say something.  You.  Your haircut.  This whole thing you’ve got going on is just — wow.  I WISH I could pull that off.”

Many times they take photos of my current pixie cut with hopes that it’ll inspire them to drum up the “balls” to do the same.  But inevitably, what will happen is that they will show the picture to others, receive feedback about how it may or may not look good on them.  They will continue to look at the photo and wish and dream.

Come a long way since that initial cut …

It’s REALLY not about the hair

I believe they are wishing and dreaming for their own skin-shedding.  Vulnerability and Courage.  And I always reply to them:

Do It! 

Do It!

Do It! 

At which point they say something like, “I never could.”  or “It’ll grow back”  or “So-and-so won’t like it” — BLAH, BLAH, BLAH.

Again I say:

Do it because YES, you can.

Do it without an exit strategy (like, it’ll grow back)

Do it for YOU, not anyone else.


Am I talking about hair?  Am I talking about chameleons?

The answer is still YES — to both.

What’s the thing you WISH for?  What’s something that will allow you to STEP FORWARD?  What is the thing that is your “hair”?  Define it.  Recognize it.  Name it.  and then ….. TACKLE IT.

What’s your “chameleon” — the thing of fear that holds you back?  How does it force you to change your colors, or dim your light, or play small?  What is the thing that whispers in your ear, “I could NEVER do that” or screams at you “What would people think??”

I say do it.  Butcher that “hair” and shed that chameleon skin and then stand up tall and STEP OUT, STEP FORWARD.  Just watch the effect it’ll have on your spirit!  The energy in the air will spark with electricity when you learn to rise up (with humility) and be your authentic self.  And you’ll see the spark of fire it gives to others to do the same!

And then it’ll be YOU walking in that door.  People will see you from afar and say, “Wow!  I want whatever it is she has going on!”.  They may be talking about something tangible, but in reality, they are seeing that intangible freedom and the confidence you ooze just because you took that very 1st step.

Saddle Up, friends.  It’s time to FLY!

From this Fierce Heart to Yours,


Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.