I have recently found myself mired down in an increasingly disheveled rat’s nest of my own indecision. I blame my hair stylist. Or, more to the point, my former hair stylist.
Eleven years ago when I moved back to Seattle, after my failed experiment living with Harvard Law students (just one actually, but he was quite enough), and my successful experiment as an MA student, I found that I needed someone to cut my hair. My hair has always been very important to me, in the way lots of things are very important to me: I will give it all my attention, worry, skill, frustration, and occasional relieved joy, until I can’t be bothered any longer, at which point I’ll pretty much give over caring, regardless of the state of my hair/other project.
When I was a child, I usually wore bangs (I like my face with bangs, or lacking bangs, glasses—something to break up the large, pale, short-eyelashed expanse . . . I’m trolling for compliments here . . .), and much to the anguished disbelief of my father, I would talk about them, my bangs, as if they were very important in the big scheme of things. Well, to me, they were. And to him, they became so—at least, more important than he would ever have admitted, even to himself.
“When you got into college,” my mother told me, “your father turned to me in bed that night and said ‘Do you think now she’ll stop talking about her bangs?’”. He didn’t have enough of his own issues to worry about? He had to create some issues to worry about for me? And he chose my bangs? Regardless, it turns out that, no, getting into college did not change my intense, but also haphazard, obsession with my hair.
In part, I have wanted to hold on to my sun-streaks for as long as possible. After my last balding in 2008-2009, my hair grew back baby-fine, and my sunny trips with and without Ian, to Valparaiso, the Seychelles, Cabo Verde, and Australia, left me with expensive-looking Scandinavian-baby-blonde streaks (I guess they would have been expensive, if the only reason for travel had been to lighten my hair . . .). “I love your hair,” people have said to me for the last 18 months or so. “Who did the color?”
“God did,” I reply airily, if I am feeling particularly irreverent. Or “Mother Nature,” if I am beneficently taking someone’s beliefs into account.
In the several days since writing the first part of this post, I have continued to not get my hair cut (it’s been almost 6 months now—even longer than I’d thought!), and now it’s too late before Kenya. No one but Theresa has ever cut my hair since 2000, and she was very, very good, and I've been loath to go to someone else, even through her three pregnancies and maternity leaves (the first two corresponded with me being bald, so it worked well). But this last leave, this third child, she has decided, much to my disappointment (although not my surprise), to focus on being a mom for awhile. And so I am pinned by indecision.
Of course, the equatorial sun will lighten my roots . . . but it will also finish the job of turning my flaxen ends to moistureless, ragged bits of straw. I will, sometime soon after my return to the cold-dark-wet of a northwest winter, have to find someone new to tame what is undeniably turning into a fright wig.
There seems to be mounting evidence that I need some practice to come up with meaningful, non-health-related posts. Operative word being “meaningful”.