These days I am called to shave my head.
Those who know me may hear this as a drastic change.
My hair is “50% of my personality” as Jim puts it. It’s the first thing someone may notice about me.
Big, long, wavy, and commanding, a LARGE personality!
My hair is wild and untamed and has no master.
She does as she pleases. She has a life entirely her own.
I used to war against her. She was Big, Wavy, and Commanding; Wild and Untamed.
I tried to tame her. I slathered her in chemicals and ironed her straight and sleek.
Every 6 months, I did that for almost ten years.
Then, I had an Aha! moment and grew her out and chopped all the chemicals off and never did I do that again.
Since then, she has grown wild as a willow tree. Her locks swaying here and there.
Sometimes I daub some coconut oil or another sweet oil.
I sing to her and caress her. As I comb out any tangles, I whisper in praise of her beauty.
These days, I want to shave and start anew. I’ve always wanted to try it because why the heck not.
I want to feel the wind blow onto my scalp rather than rifle through my locks.
I want to graze my fingers on the budding strands.
It’s something I see myself doing when I am younger, rather than older. To give myself this experience.
I shared this aloud with Jim, “Hey babe, I want to shave my head.”
I shared this aloud with Kat, “So I’m thinking of shaving my head.”
I think of what I would look like with a head like a Buddhist monk.
I wonder whether I would still be beautiful.
I wonder if Jim will still be attracted to me.
I wonder how long it will take to grow out.
I wonder if it will grow back just as wavy, big, and boisterous.
(A part of me hopes it will grow back smoother and silkier.)
I recall the Biblical story of Samson, the strongest man at the time, who is seduced by Delilah and reveals to her that his strength is from his hair. When he falls asleep, she shaves his head to save her people.
I recall indigenous stories of the sacred nature of hair.
When I think of these stories and myths, I fear it.
I go on Google and research.
Turns out, in native cultures, hair is sacred. It is where soul meets body. Hair is “a physical manifestation of spirit”. It is power. It’s an extension of the soul. If one cuts their long hair, it is to signify grieving or entering a new chapter. And in doing so, one never unceremoniously throws it in the trash. It is to be burned in ceremony.
My cousin Hannah passed away August 14, 2020. She was 30 years old.
August was a month of transformation.
I am in the middle of an 8-week course on Self-Compassion and am living it.
I am learning who I am, discovering what I like and dislike, creating the relationship of my dreams, housesitting in Vieques, and building my life on my own terms.
And I am suddenly longing to shave my head.
I want to burn my cut locks with some sage and the letter I wrote to Hannah the day she passed away. I’ll burn it at sunset, on the hilltop here overlooking Vieques where horses roam free and the road to the crazy moon lies just beyond my reach.