twilight and shadow

The importance of having hair

“Every morning you have gone to work, but you have never been fully awake. Of course, you have seen the sun and the moon, the stars in the sky and everything that moves, but you haven’t really seen it at all. It is different for the Joker, because he was put into this world with a flaw: he sees too deeply and too much.”
- the Joker from The Solitaire Mystery by Jostein Gaarder

Hair...I am continuously intrigued by how much of a significance it has in our lives.

Hair style is the final tip-off whether or not a woman really knows herself.
- Hubert de Givenchy, Vogue, July 1985

Hair brings one's self-image into focus; it is vanity's proving ground. Hair is terribly personal, a tangle of mysterious prejudices.
- Shana Alexander

I was born with almost black hair, straight and very fine. As I grew older it slowly lightened and developed a very slight wave to it. Obviously my Mum chose how my hair was cut and I was cursed with some pretty hideous hair styles and a big fringe. Near the end of primary school I started growing out that fringe, determined to be trendy like all the other girls. When I started intermediate I got one of those bob cuts that were popular back in the early 90s. After that my hair began to fill with air and would stick out at all ends.

In my first year of high school I sat behind this older girl in orchestra and fell in love with her hair so attempted to explain it to my hair dresser who, in turn (probably having no idea what I meant) attempted to replicate what she thought I’d meant. It didn’t turn out how I wanted but my Mum loved it. In 4th form I was put in the boys line in the class photo although the photographer knew I wasn’t a boy (it wasn’t even that short). That day has been etched in my memory ever since. I’ve never felt so hideous, so despised. I didn’t see being placed in the boys line as being seen as looking like a boy...I saw it as being told I was too ugly for the girls line.

I developed an intense fear of the hair brush and even of simply touching my hair. And if I couldn’t stand touching it, well I’d be damned if someone else was. I became terrible when it came to cut my hair usually having it cropped quite short and then not having it cut for months where it would grow and develop wild curls. By my last year of school I’d had enough of the hideous short styles and wanted long hair. I would go for over a year without having it even trimmed and it waved about wildly, afro when I first would wash it, slowly mellowing as the days went by (I hated hair washing day).

I’ve mellowed out a bit these days helped by the fact that J’s friend is a hairdresser and she loves playing with it but it’s taken a lot of time. I’ve come to realise that to me my hair is so wound into my sexuality and my belief in myself that if it’s having a bad day then I will often feel miserable, ugly, useless. When I am sad my hair often covers my face but when I’m alive I find it flying out behind me. I never want short hair again no matter how much easier it may be to look after. But I’m willing to experiment and live a little.

In the summer time my hair will bleach golden brown under the sun and I have often been asked if I’ve dyed my hair or got highlights. Then in the winter it will darken up again. So right now it is a dark chocolaty red and was dead straight but has slowly developed gentle curls at the ends. No doubt it is looking forward to the water bringing back all those wild curls (J calls it my “crazy hair”) but so far I haven’t washed it since J’s friend last played with it.