singing like a bird in an ormolu

November 18, 2016

My hair is motherfucking long.

I’ve been growing it for ages now it seems, although really I guess it’s probably just two years.

I’ve never been able to figure out why I started growing it. The nearest thing to a reason I can come up with is that I had several phenomenal dreams about lying on my back on the floor brushing my hair out behind my head like I used to do when it was down to my waist, and there was always a little sense of sadness when I woke up to hair that needed no shampooing, to say nothing of brushing; and because something inside me felt like there was a reason and I would figure it out eventually and I should just go with it.

It’s been strange. My hair keeps getting longer and longer and I keep looking more and more like my old old self, especially when I wear this ancient flannel dress I’ve had since I was literally thirteen and now that I can put my hair in a ponytail and my roots are growing out that pretty much completes the ye olde Tabitha picture. And lately all these old versions of self have been bobbing up in my memory.

Gently, fortunately. Because I’m a forgetter. I’m a walk away from that shit and never let it cross your mind againer. I made a career habit of that before I even had any idea that fractions existed, or that babies came from sex. And now all these old old old frames and clips are surfacing, people I’ve been and people I’ve known and places I’ve been and left, and I’m not even mad. I’m like, savoring them. Now that I am (approximately) thirty three (a magical number if ever there was one) the only thing that blows my mind is that I was able to walk away from so much.

When I was growing up, I was never allowed to cut my hair. I used to try to get gum stuck in it on purpose so my mom would have to cut it off. (She never did). I gloried in the year we all got lice, and my hair had to be chopped up to my chin. It was back in no time however. When I turned sixteen and got a job, the first thing I did was roll over my hair all the time whenever I sat in an office chair. The second thing I did was get a haircut. Bam. Two feet of braid went to locks of love. My mom cried and my dad said I looked like a boy. I felt sorry that they were upset, but I was delighted to have that hair gone. I didn’t care if I looked like a boy, but I didn’t think that I did. For the first time ever I felt like a powerful woman. Nothing was holding me down. My head was light as cirrus clouds.

My hair was always a flagpole off the tallest turret. It was there to signal my rebellion from the way I was raised, and from anything anybody might think they knew about me just by looking at me. ‘A woman’s glory is her hair,’ says the bible, but it wasn’t, not in my world. In my world it became flipped to be a woman’s rejection of anybody else’s definition of her glory. I had no problem with men treating me like I was a dyke and I had no problem with old ladies thinking I had cancer…but nobody fucking better tell me I was pretty. I’m fairly certain I spent most of my twenties in some stage of baldness and dressed like a neglected toddler/unmade bed just to ruin people’s day. I was out to smash expectations. I was sick of everyone looking at me and thinking they had a clue about me. I was tired of being told to dress like a lady, and act like a lady, and be fine with being treated like a lady. People treat what they call a lady like she doesn’t actually exist outside of their interactions with her. I wanted to exist. I wanted to exist on my own terms. I wanted to exist belly out and all into the grime of things.

For the past two years, I’ve had default hair. I’ve been exploring new angles on self expression and moving through new waters of interpretation with other people. It’s been a growing process (hah!) and I’ve learned a lot about myself, and a lot about others. I thought, whenever I thought about it at all, that growing my hair out was a move away from rebellion. I thought that its roots (hah!) were in acceptance of and gladness in the cup you have, regardless of where its fluid hits the content lines. I learned that I don’t have to change my hair every two weeks to express myself. I don’t have to rock hair that lets you know what you’re getting into beforehand. I don’t have to still be yelling backward at the religion I was raised with and what it had to say about how I look and think and live my life.*

I thought these things, which is good, because they are all true. But they aren’t all. I’m suddenly realizing that these lengthening hairs that have mostly been my natural color are just another form of defiance. I have grown too fat for toddler’s clothes and too old for bi-monthly hair bleachings, and I’m no longer terrified that anyone will think I’m just a pretty little lady or try to treat me like one.

But I still totally have that need to tell people to fuck off. I still rage against the machine that pigeonholes me. I got tired of being treated like I ought to be imitating a porcelain vase on a narrow shelf. I got tired of just being that party chick whose hair changes all the time. I got tired of being known for the scandalous awfulness of my wardrobe.** I still get tired of being treated like a dismissable social butterfly or a backwards goody-two-shoes or the oblivious shitty karaoke singer. I know that I’m a shitty karaoke singer. I love that I’m a shitty karaoke singer. It’s karaoke. I am not a goody-two-shoes. I just have this entirely lamentable need to keep a conversation polite. (I know. I am working on it.)  And I may flutterby a lot but I am picking up that shit that you’re laying down.

I know we all feel this way sometimes: like if the world could shut up with its impressions of us for one minute, we could actually express ourselves in a way that was altogether succinct, raw, and delightful.

And since we all feel that way sometimes, we all have our little ways of getting that out there. Mine has always been my hair. Like the flame in a signal tower, my hair has always been a pretty good indicator of my (two week) mood. It felt good to express my iterations so tangibly, and it was awesome having a snap judgement meter of people based on how they reacted to my hair; and what kinds of different reactions different kinds of hairs got.

That’s not the way I’m doing it these days. I’m still not exactly sure what it is that I am doing these days, like my hairs that is a work in progress. I am sure I will let you know when I figure it out. In the meantime all this is to say I say god damn, look how much hair I have now; and also, I am trying really hard to interact with you independent from my notions on who you are or the things I think I need you to be, and I look forward to actually knowing you better.


*I do however still have to damn the man and destroy the patriarchy. Just, you know, with something more actually effective than my hairstyle.

**actually maybe not. I still love the scandalous awfulness of my wardrobe.


Oh yeah?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: