“How old are the ends of my hair,” I asked Delisa – the wondrous woman who tames my jewfro – mid chop. “Four years,” she said without skipping a beat. My mind flash backed to 2011, a year punctuated by one life-affirming physical feat in Tanzania, a beauty start-up, and probably the first time that I succumbed to my father’s absence. And then it hit me. Today, even the oldest piece of hair on my head hasn’t been touched by the gentlest hands I knew; no longer carries within it that other lifetime of secrets and wisdom; hasn’t been pulled or played with by those past loves’ palms; nor been laughed into with a different kind of wild abandon or cried within the old belly of its fuzzy strands: the entire period pre-2011 was obliterated in one fell swoop. Or one baby cut. I definitely have hair dysmorphia.
Yogis believe hairs are our antennae into the world, acting as conduits to bring in greater quantities of subtle, cosmic energy – an analogy that burns a bright visual representation of intrigue for me, alluding to what might be revealed or undone. I distinctly remember two fashion shows from that period four years ago: a Jean-Paul Gaultier tribute to Amy Winehouse complete with acid-bright beehives and Chanel’s take on cockatoo-esque hair. Voluminous, sculpted, yet out-of-control hair that spun into cartoonish proportions spoke to me then as it does now. Maybe that’s why, when left to their own devices, my curls remain undefeated. They are like little receivers feeling out the world for me. In Yogi Bhajan’s words, “Your hair is not there by mistake. It has a definite purpose, which saints will discover and other men will laugh at.”
In an attempt to co-opt a bit of this frisson, I’m thinking of bows. My ribbon-tying skills have always been stellar, but when it comes to wearing said bow (slightly askew atop a messy ponytail) in said hair, it’s really just a visual metaphor, heightening the sense that my world can be interrupted at any moment. All I need now is my mom’s vintage Mugler leather jacket to toughen it up.