Wednesday, 21 September 2011


Sandy charges $17.50 for my haircut. Sandy has lost a husband, a few businesses and god knows what else. She’s raised 3 kids in her hair salon, taken in immigrant stylists without a lick of English and gathered the displaced and lonely for Christmas dinners…
Or so I’m told. She’s a gritty realist and she’s kind.

When it comes to losing my hair – I cannot face chrome and glass and high fashion and a hopelessly young stylist. I want Sandy.

The front of Sandy’s establishment is The Bloomin’ Café – a wonderful small bistro, unbelievably out of place in down & dirty Spryfield. Frank, the chef, would impale himself on the nearest potato peeler rather than serve anything not made from scratch & you wouldn’t want to talk canned gravy in front of him. The prices are better than good. $8.99 gets you your grandma’s best roast pork dinner – enough to burst a few seams worth, too.

Go through to the hall and washrooms, and just past – and the salon opens up. Not huge but bright and airy. It feels calm there. Happy. Sandy’s granddaughter is in and out. Everyone seems to smile a lot.

Sandy doesn’t wince at the stitches. First, she takes a huge chunk of French Braid and cuts it off, throws it in the garbage with no show, no ceremony. And then she begins. I keep saying “a little shorter.” We discover how curly my hair is, now the weight is gone. I feel lighter and lighter as the cut goes on. Pounds of hair are mounding up on the floor. I tell her just to muss a little product in and not blow dry. I don’t want “style.” In fact, any attempt at “style” or a new look just seems obscene to me at the moment. I want to run my fingers through my hair and never pick up a blow-dryer again.

This is me now. The physical from-the-head-up me. It feels plain. Messy, like I asked Sandy to do. I’ll probably go shorter than this soon – but the shock factor should be minimized a bit by an in-between cut.

I look in the mirror. My energy is limited and running out fast. I stare at the face looking back at me. I try to comprehend that this is me now. This comprehension thing happens, one way or another, a few times every day now. How do I get through so very much change at this pace? The world is spinning under my feet and I am trying to balance in midair.


NEDbeads said...

I know you can balance, and I think the spinning will soon slow, or at least I am intending that with every breath for you... how I wish I could do more, be more, physically stand by you.

Props and more to Sandy for not wincing. Huge applause to you, for being able to wrench yourself from the house and out into even a familiar salon. Take it a minute at a time. Much, much love coming at you.

Cath said...

I know how it feels - I went through this at 38. I love the way you talk about this. My hubby says 'the shorter the hair the more beautiful the eyes'... and you have extraordinary eyes. you'll be amazed how many people will look at you not because of the hair (or lack of it), but because of your so beautiful eyes.

Hubby also says that cats with a lot of scars are the most respected. There are many respectable cats out there. They need hugs and warmth and care as any other... but are strong and can be proud.

Warm hugs.


Marsha Wiest-Hines said...

Linda, you are grace embodied. Not to mention beautiful with any hair cut. My heart is with you in your battle.

Howpublic said...

Thank you, lovelies. How amazing, the connections we form in this virtual medium! Cath...I love the image of being a respected cat...I'll tell myself that each time a new scar or mark happens. They will become trophies and triumphs for me - full of power.
Ned, you ARE standing by me. I'm very aware of you and have been all the way through. Marsha, thank you for checking back so often with kindness and encouragement. I'm absolutely stunned with gratitude - and it's a GREAT feeling.

Cynthia Newcomer Daniel said...

You are beautiful. Always.

terirambo said...

I love this on you, Linda. It is amazing the power of a haircut. We get so used to seeing ourselves one way but we have so many facets and each one is equally authentic ... in fact sometimes a new look suits us even better than our previous 'glory'. When I got my long hair cut off, it was as if I was in a trance at first. I believe that we lose a lot of energetic baggage when we lose a lot of hair. :)

Howpublic said...

Teri...I'm not fond of this picture. I look very sad in it. After that cut, I went shorter - and were I not about to be bald, I'd go shorter yet.
I'm used to it now - but it was a forced decision, which is not the best way to lose long hair. HOWever, it IS just hair fer gawd's sake! Ironically, when people asked if I ever considered going to short hair, I flippantly used to answer, "when I have to have chemo." Be careful what you say!