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Scheherazade in Blue Jeans
freelance alchemist
Thinky thoughts about me and my hair 
2nd-Nov-2009 01:05 pm
Hearth
Because now I'm preoccupied and won't be able to focus on other stuff til I type this up.


Hi, I'm 'song, and this is my hair. This is the most recent pic of my hair, and is what it looks like most days. Sometimes it is curlier.

My Hair and Childhood
I grew up with long blonde hair that I loved. Then my mother had it all cut off. Full-on Dorothy Hamill cut. That was the same summer I got (big clunky) glasses, and also the summer that a lot of other childhood stuff went south. That was the first big hit to my self-esteem, and also very much a loss of control. For the first time, my physical self did not match what I looked like to myself. Very jarring.

To this day, my mother bugs me about my hair and how much better I look with short hair. Short hair is my mother's ideal of me.

My Hair and my Adolescence
I grew it back as soon as I could.

Here's something some of you may never have thought of: long hair can be used against you. In a fight, I mean. When you're trying to get away from the Bad Boyfriend. That hair is another thing to grab you by and control you with.

I'm just saying.

I cut my hair off again in high school.

My Hair and my Early Twenties
I grew it back as soon as I could.

Why, given all that? Because I love it long. Because the me in my head has long hair.

Because no one else should get to decide things about my body, and I should not have to look a way I don't want to look in order to defend myself better against a hypothetical attacker. Any more than I should stop walking home at night or stop wearing jeans that my ass looks good in or stop talking to strangers.

My Hair as an Act of Defiance
I will not look like my mother wants me to look; I will look how I want to look.
I will not structure my life around theoretical and futile "prevention" measures.
I will not let things that happened decades ago control me.
I will embrace my hair, even if it gets stuck under my purse strap and takes four hours to dry.
Because I love my hair long, and it is one of my favorite parts of me.

I have not cut my hair short since Elayna was an infant.

My Hair and my Boundaries
You probably do not get to touch my hair, and you need to be okay with that. Like I said in my earlier post, I'm not okay with people I'm not intimate with touching my hair. Partly because being surprised by anyone unexpectedly touching me in any way can be unpleasant. Partly because some ways in which people touch my hair can be erotic, and I'd really rather not get turned on in the coffeehouse, thanks.

Partly because it's my body and these are my boundaries and that's that. And if you think you have a right to get all grabbyhands on any part of a person that you find attractive, whether that's okay with the person or not - we've got a problem, y0.

My Hair and my Religion
Many conservative and Orthodox Jewish women cover their hair. I don't; I'm not that religious. Were I to call myself anything on the Jewish spectrum, I'd be reform.

But as someone who lives very publicly and feels the need to mark boundaries, the need to say "Yes, world, you have most of me, but this part I reserve" - there is something that appeals to me in my hair being reserved for my husband and others with whom I am intimate. Not even just sexually intimate. Emotionally intimate. Not just partners; very close friends. No, I don't cover it. I dye streaks of red into it, I let it flow, I show it off. But the touching is reserved.

So that is a little about me and my hair.
Comments 
2nd-Nov-2009 06:31 pm (UTC)
Like I said that one night, you have beautiful hair. Thank you for sharing your hair with the world, and thank you for sharing this.
2nd-Nov-2009 06:35 pm (UTC)
Like I said that one night, you have beautiful hair.

So do you. :)
2nd-Nov-2009 10:26 pm (UTC)
I keep thinking about getting a haircut, maybe up to the neck, but then I think of you pouting in protest. :)
2nd-Nov-2009 06:46 pm (UTC) - Don't take this the wrong way...
Your hair is as much to watch as you walking away.

It has a life of it's own and color shines through in the darkest rooms.
(Deleted comment)
2nd-Nov-2009 06:54 pm (UTC) - Curse of the 80s
I also have long hair because of Dorothy Hamill and clunky glasses. I was 5.
3rd-Nov-2009 04:14 am (UTC) - Re: Curse of the 80s
You know, I bet there's a support group out there for that.
3rd-Nov-2009 01:39 pm (UTC) - Re: Curse of the 80s
LOL If there isn't, there definitely should be!
2nd-Nov-2009 07:03 pm (UTC)
This.

Also, it infuriates me that people think its "cute" to tug on your ponytail/braid. Even when informed that one has a severe neck injury and that "playful" pull FUCKING HURTS.
2nd-Nov-2009 07:18 pm (UTC)
This happened to me in the local Quiznos. A complete stranger tugged on my ponytail while I was ordering at the counter. I thought it was one of the friends I was with, but they were already sitting at a table.

I turned around and found a middle-aged lady looking up at me and smiling. I asked "Do I know you?" She replied "I don't think so."

My friends were staring at me like they couldn't believe it happened. Even the girl working the counter had a 'WTF?' look on her face.

That and one other incident at the same place has made "The Quiznos of Surreal Experience" a place to avoid.
2nd-Nov-2009 07:11 pm (UTC)
Long hair is cool. I enjoy having it, and the world's opinion can go hang...

And yes, hair is personal space and it really annoys me when people cross that boundary.
2nd-Nov-2009 07:26 pm (UTC)
I think your hair is lovely long.

I've never understood people touching hair without permission, or thinking of hair as - what? - publically accessible? I would be as likely to do that as reach out and honk a breast uninvited.

But, of course, some people have no problem with that.
2nd-Nov-2009 08:49 pm (UTC)
I did get in the habit of playing with hair when I worked in a day care center, largely because of the many, many smalls who would plop themselves on my lap and say, "Miss Jenny, can you play / braid my hair?"

Fortunately for helping me break the habit, not many adults sit in my lap!
2nd-Nov-2009 07:39 pm (UTC)
I read this whole thing.
2nd-Nov-2009 07:51 pm (UTC)
As did I.
2nd-Nov-2009 07:53 pm (UTC)
I know you grok this: part of this is just me coming to the realization that yes, I get to say what parts of my body can be touched when and by whom, and I get to insist that others respect that.
2nd-Nov-2009 08:56 pm (UTC)
That's so huge, isn't it? I remember when I had a realization like that when I was pregnant. People didn't have the right to touch my stomach.
3rd-Nov-2009 12:09 am (UTC)
Right on! When I was pregnant with my first child, I felt like I was being physically and psychically attacked by people who wouldn't keep their hands to themselves. I barely tolerated it from my enormous family; why would I allow a complete stranger to lift my shirt up in public or rub my belly? By the time I got pregnant again, I was ready to ward people off, but I shouldn't have to tell everyone, "Don't touch me". It should be common courtesy to ask first, but many people act as if you are the one committing a faux pas by telling them it's not acceptable.
There is a country song which I like, "If You Want to Touch Her, Ask" by Shania Twain. That became sort of my anthem after college.
3rd-Nov-2009 04:33 am (UTC)
I feel like I've been trying to enforce that since I was FOUR, and great-aunts liked to play with my curls. I vocally protested then. Luckily I wasn't punished for it, although everyone was taken aback.

I've never felt like I don't get to HAVE boundaries -- it's very clear in my mind that I have them, and that this is as it should be -- but it sure feels like I've had to work at enforcing them for-fucking-ever. Like when I was 14 and a friend of mine gave me a shirt with a Damon Knight story, "Eripmav," printed on the front and back. At the bottom of the front, the shirt said "Please turn person." I immediately declared the shirt a Nightshirt, because I KNEW that if I wore it in public, people (and by people I think I meant Large Guys) would pick me up and turn me around, without asking.

It gets fucking tiring sometimes, you know?
2nd-Nov-2009 07:47 pm (UTC)
This is a great post.
2nd-Nov-2009 08:17 pm (UTC)
My long hair was used as a tool to discipline me when I was a teenager. I cut it off. I didn't start growing it back until I had been living independently for a while. Then I grew it longer than I wanted it, just because I could.
2nd-Nov-2009 08:19 pm (UTC)
I can't imagine not ASKING someone if its ok to do something like that. And by all means, if they say "no, I'd rather you didn't touch my hair", I would totally understand.
2nd-Nov-2009 08:28 pm (UTC)
Yes.

It drives me insane when people try to tell me how I should cut my hair- coworkers, parents, anyone. It is my hair. I don't want to look like someone else's idealized image of me. I want to look like how I see myself at that point in time (and with me it changes, I'm changing as the years go by). If they can't accept my hair, well they can't really accept me.

Oh and the list of people who get to touch my hair- much, much shorter now that I have short hair (between chin and jaw bone length throughout the year). Because touching my hair likely means touching my face or neck. And no. That's NOT okay for most people unless I let you know it is (especially my neck). When my hair was longer I gave permission to more people since they could touch my hair without touching my body proper, but not now. And if my hair was longer again I probably wouldn't go back to being so open about it.
(Deleted comment)
2nd-Nov-2009 09:16 pm (UTC)
My mother used to give me a 'bowl' cut as a kid, that plus clunky glasses and dorky clothes.

I wear my hair down to my waist now, haven't cut in...years, so long that I cannot even remember. I wear black jeans or sweats and t-shits that are frankly, off the wall.

I *get* long hair as a form of defiance, as being a central part of one's self-image.

I can dig also not wanting people to mess with it... it's like being a cat, and your hair is your tail...touch it and die!
2nd-Nov-2009 09:19 pm (UTC)
I have my hair long because my mom used to threaten to cut it if I misbehaved.

There is more to this that I'll tell you elsewhere; it's triggery.
2nd-Nov-2009 10:04 pm (UTC)
My mom used to do that when I was little. Then the summer before fourth grade I told the hair dresser to give me a super short hair cut- and she did. (And I mean super short, like almost a crew cut. It was very punk- I would go around with my short hair and one long pink feather earring.) Mom was angry, but she couldn't put my hair back AND she couldn't threaten me anymore with my hair.

I've had other triggery hair things which also make me very defiant about me having 100% say over my hair length and style (my husband gets no say in it, it is just one of those things- and he accepts that).

But, yeah, the hair threat from my mom was a big thing for years.

3rd-Nov-2009 04:19 am (UTC)
My mom had an unusual attachment to my hair being long. She got awful worried any time I'd talk about cutting it, and would bribe me with interesting hair thingies not to. If I decided I wanted a new hair thingie, I quickly figured out all I had to do what threaten to cut it.
2nd-Nov-2009 11:32 pm (UTC)
As huggy as I can be, I never hug or touch someone without permission and invitation. You're more likely to get a ghasso than a hug unless you say so.

I love your hair. But to be totally honest, I was distracted at what appears below the shawl. I live for beauty. I've seen it now. I think you've just given me another year of life.
7th-Nov-2009 10:38 pm (UTC)
*laugh* That wasn't even a good picture of my butt! Will need to get one taken with snugger jeans.
2nd-Nov-2009 11:44 pm (UTC)
I have lots to say about this but don't want to go tl;dr...

My mom is another one who liked my hair to be short. Fortunately, as soon as I had a say I took it. I think I had short hair maybe twice after age 5, and those were both by choice. Now? I alternate between short and long... I'll cut my hair, then grow it out for two years, then cut it again when I'm feeling sassy.

My only problem is that when I come into the hairdresser to have my mid-back hair cut short, it's hard to impress on the hairdresser how short I really want it. They always say something like "That's quite a change! Why not try chin-length and see how you like it?" when what I want is REALLY short.
2nd-Nov-2009 11:52 pm (UTC)
I grow my hair out, chop it off, grow it out, chop it off, lather, rinse, repeat. The hair on my head rarely matches the hair >in< my head (damn you, thick-but-not-straight-or-curly hair!). Reading this post reminded me of the big chop-off in high school. I had spent a week at a youth retreat where EVERYONE seemed to be using my braid as a handle. Not in a mean way: tug, tug, get a hug, puuuulllll glomp!, etc. But I didn't like having a handle. So I cut if off. And accidently dyed it eggplant purple.

Now that the grey is coming in, I've stopped dyeing it - I want to see how I go grey.
3rd-Nov-2009 12:44 am (UTC)
Inspired by Crystal Gayle, I'd been adamant about having long golden-blond hair for most of my life. It flowed in gentle waves down my thighs like the tresses of a fairytale princess. This suited my mother just fine, for she had hated bowl cuts and had little say over her hair as a child. If anything, she wouldn't let me cut it, not even to create bangs. In junior high, bangs were the thing. Teased up, sprayed with gallons of Aquanet bangs. I let my cousin do that once. It didn't suit me, plus I was concerned about the environment, so I stuck to a soft fringe framing my face like feathers. Most of the time, I wore my hair in braids. I loved to experiment. My mom had a heavy hand, so I learned to French braid my own hair and then would do hers. Eventually I taught her to French braid as well, and she learned to be more gentle with mine. So I have very good memories of time spent with her, braiding hair. In fact, anyone had a dance recital, we'd braid theirs.

Long hair defined me. I felt it was my best feature, my one indulgence and vanity. Then came college, and a defining moment in my life. As you'd pointed out, long hair can be used against you in an altercation. In my depression, my response to it was to cut off three feet of hair. I didn't feel like "me" anymore, wasn't sure if I wanted to be me, and it was my way of hurting myself. I didn't want to have pretty hair that got me noticed; I wanted to fade into the crowd.

By the time Bree was born, my hair was waist-length. I got it cut shoulder-length for "convenience", despite having told the hairdresser that I'd only wanted a few inches off to take care of split ends. So I let it grow out again.

What is interesting to note is that you can judge how I am feeling by the length of my hair. Shorter hair generally indicates depression or frustration. My hair is currently past my shoulder blades, so it's improving. It's in that in-between stage that I hate, but I hope that within a month it will be more manageable.

Bryanna, on the other hand, had a pixie haircut when she was little because it looked cute on her. I let her hair grow until this year, when she decided that she wanted to try something different. I miss her long hair, but I have to admit that the chin-length hair looks adorable on her, especially when she wears my newsboy cap. LOL
3rd-Nov-2009 04:04 am (UTC)
I'm a professional hair braider. Touching hair IS an extremely intimate act, and I am always touched and honored when someone allows me to do so. I myself am very picky about who can touch my hair, which can be tricky when I'm teaching a braid.

I'm another gal whose hair was whacked against my wishes by my parents. I also made the horrible mistake of whacking it again when my ex left (because HE liked it). Now I'm staring cronehood in the face, and it's not growing much anymore, and I'm trying to love on it as much as I can while I still have any.

Thank you for sharing this. I suspect there are many who feel similarly.
3rd-Nov-2009 04:11 am (UTC)
My Mom did the short haircut on me too, and I also hated it. My hair length now is mostly dictated by how long it can be before it gets in the way of my sword, but I still love it long and think it is beautiful.

And it's about to become green.
3rd-Nov-2009 04:39 am (UTC)
Your hairstyle really suits your face type and your build. A short hairstyle wouldn't look anywhere near as good on you; your mom is loony tunes.
7th-Nov-2009 10:38 pm (UTC)
In so many ways.
3rd-Nov-2009 06:25 am (UTC) - Re: touching and hair
I don't know what it is about long hair that seems to make it community property to some. I politely tell people that touch my hair without my permission to stop. I've decked more than one person who has actually tugged on my ponytail from behind and surprised me. I can usually pull it if I'm not surprised.

As for boundaries, I'm always asking for hugs if that's okay. Even for people that say that hugging them is -always- okay. Some people don't even like to be asked which is okay too.

Yay for living publicly!
3rd-Nov-2009 11:09 am (UTC)
I hope I've never weirded you out or made you uncomfortable with my touching-people-tendencies. It is not in my nature toaks people with whom I feel comfortable if it is OK to hug or touch them. I think I sometimes forget that even what is to me safe, comfortable, even cautious contact can be triggery to other people.
3rd-Nov-2009 11:10 am (UTC)
er, "to ask." not "toaks."
7th-Nov-2009 10:39 pm (UTC)
No! We are totally okay, you and me. :)
7th-Nov-2009 10:41 pm (UTC)
yay! I haz touchin' license! :D But seriously, if I ever do something non-comfortable, do tell me. :)
7th-Nov-2009 10:42 pm (UTC)
Absolutely. I'm not shy about that! :)
4th-Nov-2009 01:02 am (UTC)
Strangely, I'm one of those people who everyone comments on my hair and wants to touch it but they do usually ask. I also consider my hair kadesh -- set apart, even though I don't always cover it. Then again, I'm not exactly obligated at this stage in my life, either.

I could say more about my hair here, but I mostly wanted to just respond to what you said.

If I ever meet you in person, I will do my best to respect all of your boundaries.

You have lovely hair. Wear it with pride.
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