So, last week I cut a lot of my hair off. It used to come about half way down my back. Now – well the longest bits are about 10 centimetres and, although the hair dresser never got out the clippers, the back is very short. Like, you can’t make it messy.
I made this massive change for quite a few reasons. One was that I have been feeling pretty frumpy. Over the last 18 months I’ve lost close to 10 kilos due to anxiety – first about the bushfires, then about a family member having extremely major surgery (and I couldn’t help out because our car was hail damaged so I couldn’t get there) in the middle of a COVID outbreak last year, and more recently about the house flooding and about my cancer diagnosis. So a lot of my clothes look kind of baggy and ill fitting (and I buy them from charity shops anyway so they were never tailored). And then, after the surgery, for a few weeks I couldn’t even do my own hair because I wasn’t allowed to lift my left arm above my head. So most of the time, I just had it plaited down the side of my head where I could reach it easily. It was practical but not flattering. And then of course, there’s the surgery itself. It’s not good for the ego losing a part of yourself that is a symbol of femininity (especially if like me, you have been plagued by people mistaking you for the other sex). And then, there’s the question of possible chemo – and it if it happens and I lose all my hair, wouldn’t it be better to have less to lose?
So, not without serious reservations, I went off and made this drastic change. I love long hair. I always have. The way it falls or catches without the owner being especially conscious of it. Its softness and shine. Curls or straight. Dark or fair. Burnished or silvered. But, the fact of the matter is, having cut mine off, I know it didn’t suit me. My face looks a better shape now, the bags under my eyes less dominating… I look healthier, I think, with my shorn locks.
But what about my children? So much change already this year – new school, moving house (twice, now we are home again!), a sick Mummy, and now a Mummy who has drastically changed her appearance. It’s all very confronting. And tonight my little boy thrust his little chin out at me and point blank refused to go to bed and, no matter what I threatened him with, he said “I don’t care”. And I was so angry and felt so powerless. But later, when the storm had passed, and I had calmed down, I thought “Powerless is exactly how he feels”. And I felt terrible because at least I had enough control to march out and cut my hair. Poor little kid. I wanted to run back down to his bedroom and wake him up just to give him a big old hug.