Thursday, October 28, 2010


Last year I lost ten kilos, grew my hair and started dating. This year I've sworn off dating, gained ten kilos and cut my hair. Several times.

If hair is a woman's crowning glory, what does it mean when it's gone? Is she less a woman, not feminine, making a statement, seeking change? Is she suddenly edgier, more interesting, sexier, less soft?

Hair and grief have a long history together. I only have to look around to find it. This week I learned that my aunt's new partner shaved off his facial hair after 30 years... and a divorce. I have made an art of cutting mine off. If l look back at my many haircuts, I can find a heartbreak - small or large - to match most.

The body of a tree records everything that happens to it, lays down history in the rings of its trunk. Seasons of growth, debilitating droughts, lush summers. A wound in the trunk of a tree will leave evidence, even if it's only a ripple in one year's archive.

Our hair does the same, showing the history of our bodies, our health or unwellness. Wouldn't it include our emotions, our memories too? It might explain why so many turn to scissors after ending relationships, a death, giving up a way of life. Declaring ourselves fit for a fresh start and unburdened by the past. Revealing that we have a past worth cutting off.

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