My hair was down to the middle of my back for two years. My brother and his wife actually staged an intervention, explaining to me that, sadly, almost everyone is superficially judgemental, and it didn't look great on me (it really did not). They asked if she, being a stylist, could please give me a haircut. I sighed and caved in.
I looked and felt better. People told me I seemed somehow more respectable. Girls went from giving me the 50-yard-stare-past to complimenting me. I understood that next day that appearance is sadly just something that affects people. They don't choose to be affected by it. It's natural. Hell, I'm affected by appearance.
I'm never going to grow my hair back out. Back then, it was a part of me, not just attached to my follicles, but symbolic of my identity, and I had grown so attached to that idea that I couldn't see it objectively. It was a goofy principle to which I was clinging. A hang-up of sorts.
I've already made my opinion clear that hang-ups are something a person should discard if they want to grow. I don't know if you had the same thing going on in your head about your hair, but if so, I think you're doing the right thing.
It just sounds weird and wrong to say that something purely aesthetic is good. Keep it up for a while; drink the kool-aid. You'll feel right as rain.
I don't know if I should feel enlightened or completely nuts from not being superficial.
I suppose I am, to a degree, as perfect people aren't attractive to me.
It's all this misconceived notion that character is beauty and that, maybe by appreciating this, a character would be more appreciative than an "easy to appreciate beauty."
Ahhh, the labyrinth of appreciation. I can find my way across a city across the world, foreign lanes in foreign lands, but damn if I, the great minotaur, can find my own ass with a map.
My experience is that people first act upon a first impression, but those first actions can be the most callous. There are people who will not get to know a person who doesn't show the right facade. Sometimes they're aware of it and sometimes they're not.
Carry it to an extreme. If someone at the train station smells like they've pissed themselves, I will avoid them, and not merely because they are liable to ask me for a dollar. Now ease back on the extremity of the situation, and there is a certain line between people who get the benefit of the doubt when I meet them and people who don't. I like to think that my personal line is more open-minded than that of others, but I don't know if I have any way of knowing.
Strength of character is the most important, and it's more work, too. The trouble is that you have to know someone at least a little bit well before it becomes apparent if they have that, and in order to get there, you're back to appearances. So forward appearance is a kind of gate-keeper.
I saw the effect that first impressions will have first-hand about ten years ago. My brother and I were towing an unregistered vehicle through Southern California, and, well, maybe other things were afoot. Under the circumstances, had I, unshaven and sloppy, been the driver, I would have received at least a ticket, and possibly a search and arrest. He, on the other hand, being a more clean-cut and upstanding-looking fella than I am, got out of the car and talked with the CHP guys, cracked a couple of jokes, and went on his merry way.
On the way home I was the driver, and I got a ticket.
Right or wrong, people judge you in the first few seconds. People judge everything that way. It's just how we deal with our mental abstractions of the world around us. Everything gets sorted and categorized immediately, including people.
I once spent 5 hours at a train station with an insane, old guy. He hadn't pissed himself, but he did smell distinctly of old man. He described himself as a manic/depressive, paranoid schizophrenic, multiple personality disorder, alcoholic. He explained to me that he was Jesus and the Devil and that his conflicts within represented those of all man kind. He maintained the balance by using drink and billiards, keeping the fight fair by keeping both sides equally inebriated and keeping each struggle peaceful by fighting their battle over the 8 ball.
I listened to his life story, and eventually, because of my patients and understanding, he was moved to tears, telling me that no one in his life had equalled my compassion, just by listening to him.
I didn't come away from the encounter empty handed, as God, Jesus and the Devil are my witnesses, he knighted me Paladin.
He went east, I went west. For 4 days straight, I rode the Greyhound, non-stop, until I was riper than the old man.
I don't believe in God, Jesus (beyond the human) or the devil, but I do believe in the life of a knight-errant.
I judge people only on how they judge. Those who judge me worthy, they are greeted warmly.
Alas, without my guise as a vagrant, more people are judging me worthy, and it is an increasingly frustrating reality to know that, not 6 months ago, many of these people would have judge me unworthy.
Of course, I can't know who's who. I can only greet them warmly. It's just a bitter reflection of humanity on the whole.