I have a long (and short) history with it
Born ginger, turning flaxen at two,
Then slowly
Thickening and
Darkening and
Lengthening and
Shortening (alternately)
And now
Greying and
Growing ever more
Ever more
Cowlicks licking
Springing away from
Scalp and order
Toward chaos and indeterminacy

From age eight
She took possession of it,
My Mother,
Controlled it and
Nurtured it
As if it were sprouting from her own skull
(Her hair: thin, mousey, lifeless)
She made me grow it
Long and thick
And golden
And wavy
So long that it reached
Half-way down my bottom
A forced Rapunzel, fairy princess, Medieval damsel, Summer of Love earth goddess, Lady Godiva, mermaid.
She forbade
Scissors and
Hairdressers and
Wishes and
Desires and
Self-expression and

(Until I couldn’t bear it any more and I cut it
The tiniest, tiniest bit
At the front
Because this dippy hippie wanted a fringe
So I took the nail scissors
Into the bathroom
Cutting gingerly
Just a wisp or two
And it thrilled me so much that I felt aroused
And powerful
And scared
All at once
And even now, every time I cut or dye my hair I feel those same feelings
Deep in my bowels
In my perineum
A surging of energy
A tingling of nerves
Of spirit and life
As I take back control
Of my hair
Of myself)

I desperately wanted to fit in
As a child
With those 1980s styles
The flicks and the grading
Spiral perms, tangled teasing, poodle fringes, frosted tips, gel and mousse and Taft
All was denied (apart from Madonna Bows)
In an enforced celebration of The Natural
The Centre-Part
The Untouched Enviable Beauty
Of my Hair
(Oh how strangers and friends and family alike fawned over it, but how ashamed and utterly unlike myself I felt)
At age twelve
I was granted reprieve
Let out of my cell
And off came the plait
I still have it today
I both love and I loathe it
Memento Mori

Today it is short
I’m a redhead again
It’s the look that I chose
When I turned eighteen
Is it any surprise
That my short, short crop is diametrically opposed
To the super long style that my Mother imposed?
Waif hair without a waif’s body
Boyish with womanly curves
Blending dichotomies
Messing with notions, ideas and ideals
Of femininity
Yet I am all woman
The woman I chose to be
And the most beautiful thing is that
I am just me

Short Hair:
I find its honesty thrilling
With no trepidation
With nothing to hide behind
It forces confidence
Your eye is drawn
Straight to my face
A portrait without a frame
Front and centre
Here I am
No golden halo
No streaming strands
No tousled tendrils
To surround and to shape
I’m here
Just me
Short crop, exposed nape
With every haircut I feel reborn
Short hair and ginger
I’m just out of the womb
And I start again
Tabula Rasa



  1. Pingback: Why My Teeth Clench and My Shoulders Seize Up: Sexual Abuse and Coming to Terms with Trauma in the MeToo Era. – Melita Lara
  2. TheFeatheredSleep · September 4, 2018

    This is completely brilliant. Always always write.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Melita Lara · September 4, 2018

      Thank you so much, you’re so kind about my work!


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