It has always existed as a cliché in my head.
Woman goes through some kind of upheaval (usually emotional), and as a result, or in protest, or in defiance – or in fear – she takes a pair of scissors to her hair. Life begins anew. Perhaps.
Today, I am that cliché.
Recently many unanswered questions, many issues in my life that I have so far refused to confront, have begun to come to the fore. Questions about who I am and what it means to ‘be myself’; questions about my family, my friendships, my past, about the fears that I have carried to this day. Questions about masks and the reasons why we – why I – wear them.
Questions about what happens next. What happens now?
Upheaval can be a good thing. It can be the ass-kicking we need.
Sunday morning the thought came to me in the bathroom – cut it. Do it quick, don’t wait for tomorrow or you know you’ll change your mind. Do it now, you know you want to. I laughed cos it was ridiculous. I was becoming a character in somebody’s book; and even then, couldn’t I do better than the ridiculous hair cutting ‘symbol’. What does it really do anyway; how does it help? But before I finished showering there were tears in my eyes and the decision was made. Maybe things were changing inside me, and I wanted… what? To let myself know things were changing? To let the world know? What was this, some kind of commemorative gesture? Was it an attempt at taking control? Would it make me feel any freer, any more courageous?
I do not know.
I loosened out my plaits and cut my hair.
I won’t make out like it was anything close to spiritual, this cutting of my hair. But it was a strange thing. Every other time my hair has been cut there’s been a reason I knew. You’re starting boarding school: cut your hair so it’s not a distraction. You want to try a new look as you wean yourself off relaxers: cut most of your hair, make the transition easier. Things aren’t so clear this time.
I hold clumps of my hair in my hands, this disembodied thing that used to be attached to my head, and a part of me already feels removed from it. I don’t need to hold it to my nose to smell it, but I do anyway; it’s the smell of Cantu Shea Butter, oils, sweat, me.
When I am done, I take a picture, of my hair in the Spar bag I have put it in, with my trusty scissors. My hair is brown; a lighter brown at the tips, darker the closer it is to my scalp. But not black; never black, as far as I know. I wrap it up and stuff it in the bin. Done is done.
This feels like beginning.
Maybe it’s the start of something good.
Or maybe it’s just PMS.