I am beginning to fear one of my favourite hobbies is baiting hairdressers. I had a quick lunchtime appointment and, as usual, spent most of it asking their opinion on whether I should cut/style/colour my hair, watching their eyes light up, knowing full well I am not ready yet to do anything!
My hair is the sort that hairdressers itch to style properly. It’s long, thick, and is my mother’s colouring – a browny/reddy/streak-of-copper. At first glance it is the sort of hair people envy – usually for one of the reasons above. But would they envy what my hair signifies to me, I wonder?
- I’ve worn it long ever since I realised I could hide behind it. That was many years ago now.
- I’ve worn it long ever since my long term boyfriend told me he wouldn’t fancy me if I cut it as I’d look like a boy. Thanks for that, oh ex of mine.
- I’ve worn it long as I didn’t care enough about myself to style it.
- I’ve worn it long as I think if I cut it I’d be invisible.
- I’ve worn it long as I think nothing else about me is worth a second look.
- I’ve never dyed it as people tell me I’m lucky to have this colouring.
- I’ve never dyed it as I’m scared of losing myself. Sometimes I feel so insubstantial that I fear a change would make me shatter.
- I’ve never dyed it as I think the colour is the only thing that makes me 'me'.
Since when did I turn into Sampson? Is my hair seriously the only strength I think I have? Over the years, sad to say, this is exactly what I did think. It’s not good being that unconfident, and takes a very long while to change, but this year is all about embracing the change, growing as a person. It’s been a long time coming! But the confidence is stirring, very slow but sure, and finally I am starting to believe in myself, that I am a substantial person, that I signify, that I matter.
You’ll know the change is complete when I cut my hair. To everyone else it will just be a new hairstyle. But between you and me, it will mean the world.
Image: Samson and Delilah c. 1615, by Gerrit Van Honthorst