(This was written 2 months ago)
My hair is now in a shape that allows for two pigtails with a center parting. I discover the hair in the center part is not long enough to reach either pigtail and is too silky to stay pinned down. What sorcery is this?
Just hair? It’s tiny needles poking into the back of the neck when you’re trying to sleep . It’s straw poking into eyeballs when swabbing the floor & can’t put hand to eye. It’s wisps tickling the nose when buying veggies & trying not to sneeze & cause a panic.
I didn’t take scissors to hair through lockdown, weathering a hot summer in an east-facing room without air-conditioning. Because some part of me believed I’d come out of lockdown to get a real haircut. I don’t know anymore.
The lockdown is over but the pandemic seems here to stay. It does not feel safe to touch, to move. And it feels wrong to think about hair styling when people are suffering.
Last year, for the first time possibly ever, I had a hair accident – a cut gone wrong. It was deeply uncomfortable, made even more so by the realisation that it was my first ever feeling such unhappiness with my hair. I’ve been flexible with my stylists, open to all manner of experiments. And this made me realise how that was made easy because things had always turned out well.
I’ve struggled with body image issues over my skin colour, texture, body shape and teeth but never my hair. It has been as Jo March says in Little Women, ‘my one beauty’. My hair has invited in things into my life that I struggled to find and then accept – ease, softness, acceptance. It adapts well, falls easily and is healthy. I’ve taken it so much for granted. I realised this all, last year as it sat in a frump, seemingly apologetic for not being able to be its star self.
I’ve wanted to be kinder to myself on this too. And now I think I’d love it even if my home haircut turns out poorly.
But cutting my hair feels like surrendering hope. Is it hope to assume things will get better or is it selfish denial, leaving it to the outside world? Is it stubbornness to hold onto reminders of what is good or is it the life lesson I’m meant to learn?
I’m clutching my hair.
: DEVIL IN DISGUISE-Elvis Presley