<$BlogRSDURL$> Spontaneous Things: Karina Sumner-Smith's Blog
Thursday, April 15, 2004
In Which I Talk About My Hair, Among Other Things

Whew. Well, that's it, my last exam all nicely written up and printed out. Would have been finished before midnight if I'd made my lazy self work on it earlier in the day (or had chosen not to watch the painfully disastrous hockey game), and I'd say that'd teach me to get things done sooner ... except that I know it won't. Never broke myself of my procrastinating habits in the rest of four years of study, so I don't know why I'd expect it to change now.

Only have two projects left, both of which are fairly large but rather entertaining to think about, as they're on SF and fantasy respectively. And working on projects that interest me? Well, that's no chore at all.

And it seems that the jury of public opinion has returned a verdict about my new haircut: it is hereby declared cute. (This is a definite change for me. Long hair is not cute. It is many things but "cute" is not one of them.) We had a bit of a disagreement this morning, my hair and I, over whether or not it was allowed to flip up. I don't do flippy hair. Just not that kind of gal. Luckily, I (and the hairdryer/curling iron that my Oma gave me) prevailed.

It's strange though, looking/feeling so different after so long. It's strange in ways that I can't even begin to explain. This hair cutting business was a very big deal for me and symbolic in all kinds of ways, most of which I won't bore you with. But simply put, for a very long time my sense of self was very much tied up in the fact that I had long hair. It was a source of pride--sometimes my only source of pride when I was dealing with an acne-covered face in the process of becoming pitted and scarred, with my skin made bright red by the various ineffective creams used to treat said acne.

Sometimes I think that I started growing my hair long to hide my face. Carly's long called my hair "the cloak," which I'd have shield me anytime I was made uncomfortable or embarrassed or made to feel vulnerable. It's true--hair can become a security blanket that's most conveniently attached to one's head.

Over the years people have alternately told me to cut my hair off, all of it, right now, or to never, ever cut my hair, for the love of God, why would I even consider doing such a thing. I always said that when it was time for me to cut my hair I'd know, and, for the most part, did a pretty decent job of ignoring everyone else. And one day a bit over a month ago I woke up and thought, "What on earth is all this hair doing on my head?" It just didn't belong anymore.

Knowing that I was going to cut my hair, I suddenly became aware of all the things that I did with my body, the ways that I acted that were all tied to my hair. Simple things, yes, like keeping it from getting caught in car doors and clothing and preventing it from hitting other people as I turned, but more drastic things, too. And being aware of these things made me more determined to cut it off.

Which didn't make it easy, mind you. Long hair can be a symbolic for others as well as for the self. (This was especially true at Ad Astra.) And there were so many things about it that I loved.

But now it's done, and in New House (waiting for an appropriate padded envelope and postage) is 14 inches of my hair ready to donate to Locks of Love. A good few more inches ended up on the hairdresser's floor. I have a great many hair clips and elastics and whatnot that is suddenly no longer appropriate for me, and far too few hair bands and small sparkly clips that I can use to keep these short layers from my face when I need to pull it all back. But that will change.

You know, I was afraid that when I lost my long cloak of hair I'd be left feeling vulnerable, exposed. Instead I feel free.

Posted by Karina Sumner-Smith at 12:27 AM


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