It's funny how we often define ourselves externally. I watch my students parade by, all looking exactly like the friend behind and beside. These same students are the ones who claim they want to express themselves and be unique and pierce this or tattoo that or wear these rags or those name brands. And they claim they want to do it in order to be different. I think we are many times responsible for creating the box others place us in.
I am no different, I suppose. I am conscious about the name brands I don't buy. I choose fashions that are more timeless in nature so that I don't have to shop for new clothes until the old ones are bare thin. I gravitate toward earth or jewel tones and seek modest lengths and cuts. I wear fabrics I love to run my hands along. And my hair is long. Very long.
It's funny how we often define ourselves externally. The graceful sweep of amber-burnt mahogany created a mask of sorts. The sedate lines hid my more exuberant self; the uncut, unbanged, unlayered edges hid the more modern straight-edge parts. I liked the person people thought they saw because it always reflected their innermost thoughts. I learned more about how they thought in how they chose to see me: hippy or traditionalist, tree-hugging liberal or cowed fundamentalist -- it didn't really matter, because I was a mirror instead of a painting. As a writer, I've always been more interested in how people think, what they see, how they perceive the world around them. Observation is key to capturing details.
Fourteen inches to Locks of Love. But my stylist didn't stop there. She clipped and snipped, razored and scissored. When she finished, I didn't know how to turn my head anymore. Or wash my hair. Or style it. My head felt foreign, a different shore I'd only landed on, my newly shorn locks an exotic species I didn't have a language for. I've never had short hair before.
It's been a month. More than just a loss of hair, I feel a loss of identity or continuity or nuances of self. I'm not sure -- I can't quite place the emotion. I'm still the same, but I feel differently, like I'm trying to catch the scent of home. Like I'm trying to recognize the reflection in the mirror.