Manic would be the best word explaining the extent of my journey of tresses. Each cut, each colour did symbolize a significant shift in my existence as a female. Girl to woman, the changes were drastic. It all started when I made the horrific mistake of giving myself a fringe which turned into a sunshade for my forehead. Nobody told the 10-year-old me that I had to wet my hair first and not to take too much off. Anyways, sunshade all the way till the bloody fringe looked more fringe-like. This was followed closely by the ever-iconic Madonna vogue curls led to the slippery slope of cruel perms of the late ’80s. Now I know why I don’t have many photos from that past.
My 20s were filled with adventure. These moments occupied me with the possibilities of re- creating myself repeatedly. The shaved head, the designs coloured on my head represented a side of me which literally was free from judgement, away from the prying eyes of the non- understanding. From leopard spots, the bright green question mark and even stripes were beautifully created from trusted friends. I even delved into the world of extensions, grueling hours of hair twisting and pulling gave me an insight into the vastness of wonderful weaves. The idea that one could change their persona so flexibly attracted me. You are what you portray yourself to be, be it short blonde, long crimson ponytails or even curly locks. All possible undoubtably with creativity and cash.
The taming of my hair was a decade long. The idea was to make sure I managed to keep a healthy head of long wavy hair. The upside of maintaining long hair were the compliments, but on the other hand, the hair was mostly tucked into a bun as it was too humid to leave it flowing around. There was an instance of sheer madness when I took a pair of scissors and chopped off my pony tail due to the throbbing pain at the top of my head. Instant relief, and surprisingly no regrets. I think that’s when I understood my levels of comfort went beyond my vanity. Hence ensued the 5-year short messy bob reassuring me that I am the sexy, confident and bold woman of 40.
In January this year, I shaved my head as an offering to the divine. I felt I needed to give up something significant and all I could think about was “Yep! Let’s shave it off! Did it in my 20s, so no big deal, right?” Wrong! I wasn’t prepared to see the rawness of my soul, represented by a weary face and still, thankfully a very rounded head. My hair had been a veil especially in times when I felt most vulnerable. I stared at an image of emptiness and sadly sometimes ugliness. I had done myself a total injustice. I thought my 20-year old self was like my present, but I realized quickly that life somehow had worn me out more than expected and I needed help feeling beautiful. Luckily for me, my peers were so supportive and brave for me that I kept on forcing myself to see it as an awakening. But there were moments that I wished that I hadn’t taken it all off. It took me from a buzz cut to a couple of inches to build back my sense of self appreciation, my boldness, and even sexual appeal.
6 months later, my hair has grown 3 inches. It will be a while before the messy bob comes around. For now, the pixie cut will just have to do.