I have a long (and short) history with it
Born ginger, 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
She made me grow it
Golden and wavy
So long that it reached
Half-way down my bottom
A forced Rapunzel, fairy princess, Medieval damsel, Lady Godiva, mermaid
She forbade
Scissors and
Hairdressers and
Desires and
Self-expression and

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
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 in it)

Today it is short
I’m ginger 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 Mother imposed?

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
Just out of the womb
And I start again
Tabula Rasa


  1. my valiant soul · April 12, 2020

    So profound.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Hair (spoken word video version) | Feminist Confessional

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