State of mind, or state of hair
Full disclosure: I’m supposed to be doing homework right now. But instead of writing a historical analysis I now find myself writing about haircuts.
Hair is emotionally symbolic for many people. A haircut can mark a new beginning, or an ending. It can be a manifestation of rebellion and individuality, or a way to fit in. I too have styled my hair to reflect my state of mind, though I wasn’t always aware that I did.
Six years ago this month I got my first and only pixie cut. At the time I thought I just wanted one, but hindsight is 20/20. It is not coincidental that I desired a dramatic change in my appearance the month after my abusive relationship ended. I waited until I was in my hometown for Christmas break to see the hairdresser who cut my hair all through High School. My theory now is that I was searching for comforting and familiar figures from a simpler and safer time of my life. I couldn’t have just anyone give me a pixie cut. It had to be this hairdresser. My loving mother humored this and we went some lengths to get in a hair appointment just in time before the salon closed. This was the last time I had a paid hair cut by a professional in a salon in six years.
Trauma is interesting that way. Even when you’ve done all the therapy and get to that place of peace and resolution, there are still these little parts of your life that the trauma impacted, things you don’t notice, or if you do you don’t realize trauma is at the root.
I suppose there is a possibility that the change in my relationship with my hair has nothing to do with my trauma, but I think that possibility is unlikely considering the timeline.
After the pixie cut, I grew my hair out for a long time. The next time I cut my hair, I cut my hair. In the mirror, scissors in hand. It definitely wasn’t the first time I’d cut my own hair (nor would it be the last). I’d trimmed my own bangs, cut bits of the ends, and one time before I’d given myself a full layered haircut. I’d also cut other people’s hair before. But this time didn’t go so well, haha. And my next haircut was gifted to me by a hairdresser friend in her apartment to fix my mistakes.
I didn’t have another haircut until after I had my first child, which most of you know was another trauma and when I was finally diagnosed with PTSD. I got my hair cut and colored by, once again, a friend who at the time was in beauty school. Oh and I went blonde. Another drastic change on the heels of a trauma.
After that I never had my hair cut by any kind of professional –so 4 years. Since then I’ve cut and died my own hair and my dad cut my hair for me once.
I’ve made excuses, like “I’m growing it out,” or “It’s too expensive,” or “I just haven’t gotten around to it.” And of course there’s the helpful bouts of mania that encouraged me to give myself spontaneous haircuts in front of the bathroom mirror, giving me the excuse of “I just cut it.”
But when I take a look inward and really think about my hair history over the past 6 years, it’s clear to me that my hair habits have changed dramatically from what they were before.
So I’ve made a decision. I’m going to go to the salon where my kids get their haircut and I’m going to pay for a professional in a salon to cut and color my hair.
But since this will be a symbolic beginning –a new me, better and brighter for the ways I’ve conquered my demons –I am going to arrange this haircut to follow an event just like my other drastic hair changes. And that event will be my hysterectomy.
Surprise! I know many of you have been sending prayers and well wishes my way in hopes that I would get the treatment I needed –thank you all! I am getting my surgery! I know this was such a round about way to share this news, haha. But this hair thing has been on my mind a lot.
So January will be bye-bye uterus, and February will be hello haircut.