Setting the record straight

To set the record straight, I did not cut my hair to show off my face. Unwittingly, I had made the leap to exposing my soul.

By now, you’ve probably seen or met someone who meets the description of my friend Janelle- Tall, slender, beautiful face with large doe eyes and full lips, made all the more stunning by a noggin that begs to be touched in its nakedness. I wish I could say I let go of my locks so I could be heartbreakingly beautiful like that. Au contraire, I did it to combat my vanity. I was going through a period of intense transformation, and decided to simplify my life. My physical realities had changed so much and so consistently, that geography, career, relationship, friendships, home, car, money, trust- none of it made sense any more. I had lost all my reasons, and wasn’t really sure if there were any worth finding.

I heard an insistent voice in my head asking me to give it all away, so I did- starting with the wedding ring that was consigned to the waves at ocean beach, followed by a television to a waiter at café gratitude, and the list goes on. And as I pared it down to a backpack full of essentials and two boxes of journals, the insistent and helpful voice mentioned that it might be time for a haircut. For the first time, in all of the giving away, I experienced resistance instead of liberation, and a nagging sense of unease, until the first locks fell. Since then there has been no looking back. Now, I wear my heart and my soul on my face, and if my grief is too much for you to look at, you may have to avert your face. On the other hand, when the juices flow through my loins, I only have to look at your eyes, to know that you can see it in my eyes, for I am no longer afraid to share with the world, who I really am. Sometimes I am afraid to let you know how I really feel, because I know you worry about me. But with the hair gone, I’m learning to let go of my fears.

I used to be afraid of what you’d think of me, what you’d think I was thinking, of the spaces between words, your laughter at my expense, your critique of my choices, of freedom, of life, and mostly of death. I courted death extensively, dying a hundred times each day while changing lanes under your scrutiny or catching the look on your face when you walked in from work and found me on the phone, instead of in the kitchen.

In some cultures, men shave their heads before they light the funeral pyre of a parent. In my counter-culture, I shaved my head and lit a torch to the former shell of my frightened self.

I am now officially dead. Let life begin.

I gave up my hair in order to start living again, and I’d do it all over again. So if a woman with short hair ever piques your interest, know that she has many secrets she may not tell, but if you have eyes that can see, she has nothing to hide.