(This post was written in October 2020)

I got a haircut! As I navigate into the new normal, this was the first thing I wanted.

The pandemic has been full of lessons, many uncomfortable. I’ve liked to think of myself as unworldly, a being of the mind rather than the body. But even as home haircuts & DIY styling became the 2020 look, I found myself reluctant to take scissors to hair. Even through a horrific summer minus AC, household tasks with needle-sharp hair on my neck, plastered to my face, drifting into my nose & eyelashes. I didn’t cut my hair.

I had to admit that this part of me is quite worldly. My hair is my vanity. I like it luxuriant, clean , sleek & free. And in matters of my hair, if I don’t like something, it drains the very quality of my mood, my thinking, my efforts & hope. Even if others tell me it looks ok.

My first purchase after lockdown was an epilator to replace one that stopped in the hemmed in months. I felt guilty, questioning of my own feminism. I didn’t even have the excuse of being a swimmer. I realised that was an excuse. I like my limbs smooth to my touch. I like how they feel when I lie down at night. Guilt comes via other people & there’s no room for that in me.

Vanity has been hijacked first by patriarchy, letting men dictate how our bodies look, then the media to sell us more. But vanity at its core, is a form of self-worth, of valuing the physical self. When I swipe on lipstick, when I run my hand down my other arm, when I toss my hair or tuck in a perfect saree pleat, I feel a burst of energy. It comes from within, even before other eyes can offer validation (or judgement). It feels like acceptance, like rightness, like the mantle of life sits easy on my shoulders.

That’s why vanity is my superpower. It grounds me in me, my best self.

πŸ’‡πŸ½β€β™€οΈ: @rikhilasrani at @rikoshesalon

πŸ“’: Wear a mask. Support local/small businesses.

🎢: THE WAY YOU LOOK TONIGHT: Beegie Adair

πŸ•°οΈ: waiting for @aparna.andhare for #GirlTalkXXFactor: Lekhak Life

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