I’m thinking of cutting my hair. This isn’t a trivial “do I or don’t I” moment as I’ve had long hair for most of my life. The last time it was cut in the true sense of the word (I don’t count trims or anything where the length is at least mid-back) was approximately 1973. And that time wasn’t my idea. My mother, having threatened that if I didn’t take better care of my long locks, she would have them cut to a manageable style. I didn’t and she did. The horror of that moment, of the scissors slicing through my hair, has stayed with me to such a firm degree that I avoided the hairdressers for decades and trimmed the ends myself or (oddly enough) only trusted my mother to trim them. Guess I figured that seeing the trauma I went through, she would be reluctant to repeat the experience and thus would trim cautiously.
As the years passed, and my hair grew, I took great pride in it. It was long and thick and set me apart from the crowd. I was “the girl with the long hair”. Of course, not all the comments were positive – one time on the school bus, as we were going home and I had my ever-present sketchbook and other art supplies, some girl made the comment, “Long hair and glasses, you’re either smart or an artist.”
Where do we find our identity? Why does so much of it seem to be ruled by external devices – how we look, what we do, where we live. We are so many things, only a small fraction of which are outside ourselves – yet, it’s so easy to get lost in those outside things. We don’t realize we’re doing it until one of those things is gone and we’re no longer the one who lives in that house or has that job. We’re no longer who we thought we were.
Who will I be when I’m not “the girl with the long hair”?