Monday, October 11, 2010

Cutting to the point: Changes

Everyone has their own little rituals, quirks, or habits that make them unique. One of mine is that, in fits of passion, I chop off my hair.

The first time this happened, I was ten or so. I had been out in the fields and the forest, playing adventurer as I often did, with my hair tumbling down my back. Freedom, absolute freedom. And when I returned to my house, my loose locks were matted with burrs.

(Quick divergence, my boyfriend calls burrs "hitchhikers." When I hear "hitchhikers," I assume he's talking about ticks. So when he'd say that Rosie, my dog, had hitchhikers, I freaked out, massively. But matted fur, like matted hair, is still not a force to be reckoned with, in my book.)

So, ten-year-old me urgently pulled on Mom's sleeve, but she was held up with work. Disgusted with the itchy prickers, I found a pair of scissors and chopped off my hair about an inch from my scalp. Satisfaction!

I was so pleased with myself. Mother was not. I believe there was a wedding to go to soon, so Mom had to take me to the salon to get it evened out. I wore a lot of hats that year, in addition to feeling very un-pretty.

There were a few times in high school that I gave myself bangs and layers- usually those times when I'd come home crying, overwhelmed with the pain of teenage drama and lovesickness.

Once I moved to college, the scissors came out every month or so. My freshman year, my hair got shorter and shorter until I asked Nasser (Nasser Kassem of Clifton Cinci, a true wizard of all things hair related) to work wonders. He gave me a very fitting punk-rock 'do shaved in the back, bleached and long in the front. As this style grew out, I grew out of my goth phase and grew into a hippie-esque phase.

I resisted the urge to cut my hair for five years. I let it grow nearly down to my bottom, the length at which my high school friends will likely remember it.

But there's another heavy heart, another move, another change of pace and person. In the last few weeks, I stared in the mirror, holding scissors, urging myself to cut or to refrain. It's been a gargantuan battle, epic as my ten-year-old self's imaginary duels. Quirk won. So, yesterday, I let someone chop off thirteen inches of my hair.

So far, I've found two benefits to this new look. One is that people don't mistake me for an eighteen year old any more. The second is that I can donate my ponytail to Locks of Love and make a difference in someone else's life.

The point of this rather long diatribe is, whether you chop your hair, buy new clothes, destroy photographs, or gorge on chocolate or beer, these rituals are important. They're our way of dealing with things that are out of control. They're our way of taking control. They help us accept the things we can't change and love the things we can. They make life just a little bit easier, just slightly more comforting.

They are worth celebrating!

So, cheers to short hair!

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