I was raised by the archetype of a woman prevalent in the 1960’s. Every woman in my immediate family was raised with a very specific mentality; consumption was vital in the perpetuation of wealth. This did not translate well into my millennial upbringing where we were told we could have more than our parents did, but what they had was no longer seen as relevant for us. Working for 20 years in a corporation is seen more as a jail sentence than a step up in our careers, buying a house is seen as the slow, hemorrhaging of money rather than the ‘American Dream’. The motto used to be “you gotta spend money to make money”—spending on a nice car, buying expensive clothes, lavishly indulging in pampering. All of these were a means to an end; mimicking the appearance of wealth until it was finally attained. But, in my opinion, this mentality is no longer feasible.
I have grown up alongside a new wave of poets, artists, and activists—all of us carrying the simplicity of our childhoods on our backs like a rucksack full of stones. As we’ve gotten older, all the answers our parents once had about what it means to be successful dissolved and were replaced with our ineradicable need to discover what makes us valuable. Call that being a ‘special snowflake’ or ‘self-centred’ as many people do when discussing millennials, but I would consider it a necessary shift. Capitalism doesn’t seem to be trendy anymore; the desire for purpose outside of money does.
I guess I should start talking about my hair, as it is the subtitle of this post. About 8 months ago I decided I was no longer going to get my hair cut by a salon. This isn’t because I was never pleased with their work or because I wanted to take a strong political stance, but rather because I wholeheartedly disliked sitting in a chair for 45 minutes, making small talk with a stranger. The thought alone made my body quake with discomfort more than the money I would be dishing out for a small trim and a rinse or two with a few fancy products. I sat at home one day, desperately wanting to change my look. I wanted to cut my bland long hair into the trendy long bob, but didn’t want to make the commitment of scheduling a salon appointment in the coming week for probably $70. I wanted it now and I wanted it for free. Then it dawned on me—why didn’t I just cut my own hair? I had already learned to cut my front layers successfully; how much harder could it be for the rest of my thin hair?
I spent the next few hours finding multiple Youtube videos that I could use as reference so that I could take all the various techniques and amalgamate them into one that worked for me. I wrote an entire post here about how I cut my own hair, if anyone is interested. But today's post isn’t necessarily about hair cutting. It’s about the liberation and freedom I felt now knowing that I didn’t have to succumb to the pressure of institutionalized pampering. The fear of being judged or looked down on for cutting my own hair like a ‘hippie’ was overwhelming, but the discomfort I felt going to salon appointments was finally much harder to bear. Many people enjoy being pampered at a salon, and that is completely fine. I would never want to judge someone on a choice like that, but I would question the reasoning behind it. My reasoning stemmed from insecurity and the ingrained notion that if you don’t spend money on something, then it’s not esteemed.
Any reader of Katerina Writes has probably noticed my quick spiral into minimalism, and I have to say, it’s quite liberating. Once you notice the fraudulent mentality in one thing you’ve participated in for years, suddenly all the others come to light. Your self-doubt is exposed, unfurling like the pedals of a flower that’s finally coming into bloom. As mentioned before, all versions of minimalism are different. Mine just happens to focus specifically on money and the weight it has held in my life. But anyone can attempt minimalism in their own way and shouldn’t feel ashamed of it.
I’d love to know what anyone else things about this idea of minimalist pampering and insecurities.