Wednesday, September 12, 2007

A Full Head of Hair

Last July, I shaved my head. To be accurate, one of my friends shaved my head, but it was still a major act, no matter whose hands the clippers were in.

It was something I had wanted to do since I was twelve, for no reason other than to see what it looked like. I asked about severely short hair cuts and buzz cuts when I went to the hairdresser, not every time, just occasionally, not sure if I could go through with it; I just wanted opinions. Every single hairdresser I went to basically refused to shave my head.

So I got used to having hair, even if I kept it in a ponytail or messy, constantly falling apart bun all the time. It gave me something to fidget with, so that my hands had something to do when I was nervous, or distracted, or just needed a familiar motion.

Then, last July, I went camping and got lice. To make a long story short, I spent a week obsessively combing through my hair and chemically destroying the buggers, only to realize there was no way I could stand to have my hair on my back or my neck or anywhere on my head, at all, anymore. Every time a strand of hair shifted, I thought it was a bug. It hadn't helped that every time I finished an hour of obsessive combing, I'd see one crawling across my temple.

With my sanity on a thin edge(I am a jumpy person by nature, but I was bordering on developing a twitch after the ten day period you have to wait between one chemical wash and the next), I took up a friend's offer to shave my head for me. When it grew out a little, and I knew that I liked it, I asked him to shave it again. I wasn't ready to have hair again, because of the anxiety I'd dealt with during the lice invasion, and taking care of hair that is half an inch long is a lot easier than dealing with hair that is down to your collarbones.

I shaved my head for almost a year, though at one point it was a mohawk that either stood on its own, or did not, because I was not going to bother with gel. And then the friend with the clippers moved(though at this point, I had shaved my head on my own. I'm just too lazy to buy a set of clippers). So I've not shaved my head since May. I actually took a measuring stick to my hair, and it is three inches long. I actually have hair to play with! I can clip my hair back, not much, but enough that my hair clips stay in my hair. I can twist it between my fingers, a terrible habit I've had since I was little, one that was so bad that my parents once had to cut my fingers out of my hair. I feel like a girly-girl again, something I've never really aspired to be. Having hair is a lot more defining than I imagined it was when I actually had it. And now that I have it, I am constantly trying to answer the question, 'are you going to shave it again?'

I loved shaving my head, loved the freedom and my hats sticking to my head because buzzed hair works like velcro and random head massages from friends because they liked my 'peach fuzz', but for now? For now, I have hair.

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