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To everything (Turn, turn, turn)

There is a season (Turn, turn, turn)


A time to be born, a time to die,

A time to plant, a time to reap,

A time to kill, a time to heal,

A time to laugh, a time to weep…

(The Byrds / Pete Seeger / Book of Ecclesiastes)

Until yesterday, I had not had a haircut for over a year and a half. As anyone who knows me has witnessed, I was blessed with more than my fair share of long, thick hair. For a long time, I enjoyed it – until:

  • I started being strangled by it in my sleep;
  • I could not drive with it behind me, because it kept getting trapped and pulling my head backward;
  • I had to invest in the Drano company to unclog the tub drain;
  • Dust bunny colonies started looking at each fallen strand and shrieking, “Eureka! We’ve discovered a new world!”
  • Summer arrived and my carpet-like mane was akin to donning a fur parka each day.
  •  I started looking in the mirror with disdain and utter disinterest, and then pulling it back into a huge ponytail or bun on top of my head…pretty much every day.

I was ready to let it go… I just needed the right encouragement. Then, Dani sauntered sassily into the shop sporting this whimsical, flapperish cap of curls and waves. She looked gorgeous – she glowed and sparkled. The joy a new ‘do can create for a woman never ceases to amaze me.

And the co-creator of all this joy (her stylist) stopped in that afternoon, to admire his handiwork, bask in the glow of Dani’s pleasure, and deliver some new elixir for her silky cap of curls. Dani turns to him, says, “My princess here needs a new ‘do,” and stretches out a fateful hand pointing toward me.

I’ve lopped off over ten inches at a crack at least four or five times now. I like drastic changes and the reason that my locks reach Rapunzel-like lengths is due to (erm…cough…whisper) laziness. I’ve encountered two very different reactions in those who are destined to do the cutting: a kind of frightening glee (which is a bit unnerving), and a look of horror (which isn’t very encouraging, either).

Levelle, her stylist, smiled, nodded and said, “Don’t tell me what you want done to your hair. Tell me what you’re doing in life. Tell me about what’s happening for you right now.” So I did. Told him the whole story: new ventures, new horizons, new outlook (that’s the Reader’s Digest abbreviated version). As I started talking, that’s when he got the look of glee – at the news that I had transformed my life, and needed a haircut to match.

I entered the salon trailing twining tendrils behind me, and grinning. We really never talked about a cut. He asked how short I wanted to go – I indicated – he grinned, saying, “Shorter than I thought! Good!” – and he started at it with the scissors the first time, leaving a large nest of cast off hair around the base of the chair.

Then I was shown a board of color swatches. Which one did I like best? My choice surprised him again – it was a swanky blondey-red, unnatural hue. Then I said, “I think something blondeish, but I’ve got red in my hair and I’ve decided to stop fighting it.” He exclaimed, “Say no more!” and popped off to mix color.

He returned, and began the laborious process of moving enough of my abundant hair around to add in the foils. Then I cooked for awhile under the lights (the apparatus and activities of salons always happily mystify me). Then I was shampooed and plopped back into the first chair once more for another session with scissors. He thinned and thinned until another curly nest had formed on the floor, equal to the first.

There was spraying and fluffing and smearing with foam. And all the while, there was a grin on both of our faces.

Finally, I looked into the mirror at his finished creation – my curls were back and soft around my face. Subtle caramel highlights picked up the light and gave me all kinds of dimension and glisten. I floated out of there, floated home, and entered the apartment. Jeremy was waiting. “There’s the girl I’ve been dreaming about! How do you like it?” I said, “I feel pretty.” And he grinned and grinned. That’s what he wanted to hear, whether I came home with fire-engine red dreadlocks or a jet black buzz cut.

I thought I’d share the before and afters here with you (pardon, once more, our inability to take a decent picture!):

The "before" -- my hair actually reaches my waistband, which you can't tell in this picture.


The "after" -- I think that my smile says it all.

There is something to the idea of getting your outsides to match your insides, I think. I want my new life, my adventurous spirit to be reflected when people shake my hand and meet me for the first time. I think I’m there…for now! Until the next time I need another transformation!

Come have a look through my kaleidoscope eyes. Come walk with me, as I make my way down the Path of Mastery (complete with fits and starts and pitstops and potholes). Our very impermanence is what makes us burn so brightly, and struggle so valiantly, and feel so deeply – it’s what makes us seize the day, and the moment. Come in, settle in, share a moment with me.

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"Who are YOU?" said the Caterpillar. This was not an encouraging opening for a conversation. Alice replied, rather shyly, "I--I hardly know, sir, just at present-- at least I know who I WAS when I got up this morning, but I think I must have been changed several times since then." (Lewis Carroll, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, Chapter 5)