These are the things I miss about having long hair:
- I miss having strands of my own dead cells brush against the dead skin cells of my shoulders.
- I miss tying my masses of hair, glorious and long and strong and dead and brown, into a tight bun. I miss the gathering, the binding, the pull on my scalp. I miss studying the angles and corners of my own face in reflective surfaces, skin pulled back and up and tight and neat by an elastic band. It was only through this method that I was able to be sure of what and who I was, am. This is how I see my face. This is how I know how repulsive I am.
- I miss having something to hide behind.
- I miss the smell of my shampoo, the smell of bathtime, the smell of being clean. Throughout a long and hot day, hair reminds you of your personal choices of products.
- I miss braids.
- I miss having bits of myself scattered on the floor and in hairbrushes, in my food, my pillow cases, looking like dyed black silk threads caught in the web between my thumb and index finger.
- I miss dedicating too much time out of 24 hours to controlling, brushing, styling my hair. I miss the effort of trying to be pretty, of caring enough. I miss thinking about hair and if it's falling right and if I should rebraid it.
These are the things I miss about having a shaved head:
- I miss the feeling of the sun on my scalp.
- I miss cool breezes.
- I miss not having to care about what I look like. I miss the funny looks people gave me and how they saw me as a haircut and not a person.
- I miss the way I looked in mirrors, angles and cheeks and eyebrows and lips. I miss the feeling of being a face, nothing but a face. I miss the certainty with which I knew I was repulsive.
- I miss running my palm from my forehead to the little space were my skull and neck kiss, the way water flicked off stubby strands, painting the walls in front of me in a splattered pattern. Like clear blood. Like a waterpark crimescene.
- I miss feeling aerodynamic.
But now my hair is like me, which only makes sense since I grew it myself. It's an inbetween, with strands and locks and bits and pieces falling out of the tiny bun I can make in the center of the back of my skull. My roots are growing out.
I wish I was not in the inbetween. I do not like it here. I wish my thighs did not widen at the top and my arms didn't turn to pasty, fatty flab as my shoulders draw near. I wish I did not need to be so round. I want legs like arms and arms like wrists and wrists like death. Why is it that we turn so circular, so full, so curved as we go near our center? I know the torso houses our inner bits, our vital organs. Are they so hungry that they need to draw all the fat and adipose tissue and energy reserves to them for easy access? Arms and legs are important, but not necessary. You can live without the feeling of sand between you toes but not without lungs or intestines, and you can do without holding the hand of someone when you are lonely but hearts breaking can actually kill you. I wish this wasn't so. I wish my center would stop being so needy, would put aside its appetite for a while and let me be. I wish the space I occupied was not immutable, I wish I could shrink down into a something, a girl whose legs do not round out or arms that do not curve. I want to be small and happy and have thighs that do not flatten and embarrass me against the seat of chairs. I want to be a child, to sweat like a child and to feel like something blissfully happily newly alive. I'm tired of being tired of being tired of being me. I want to be hands holding other hands, tendons and bones connecting through tissue and skin with the pulse of another person. I want to be efficient blood cells, fighting disease and sadness. I want to be swallowed pills, chemically altering the way the day comes to you. I want to be swallowable, gel-encased, dissolvable in stomach acid. I want an end in sight.
It's summer now but I woke up early to do a thing and get a plant and now I'm tired but I can't go to sleep since my little brother needs me, or at least I can hope and dream and pretend he does and hope and dream and pretend that he wants me there, so I need to hide my life again in a closet, packed in boxes and bags. I need to move, to stop sleeping on this thin mattress and water this plant, which needs watering twice a day and I named it Butter. And then I will go and do things like a person should do. I will write the thing I have to write for my therapist, the thing she has asked me to write and the thing that I have put off because I had papers to make for classes and things to study for so I can have a successful future. Now I'm still putting it off, instead choosing to press the shiny new keys of my shiny new keyboard to type these sentences, which hold no therapeutic value.