It turns out that when one becomes seriously ill for a spell (or has a baby) one of the after effects can be having your hair fall out. (Bummer, I say!) For a few weeks now, I’ve been shedding worse than our old Norwegian used to shed in springtime. When the weather warmed up, and she could no longer find a little patch of snow to lie upon, we would go out and pluck the dog. My daughter has become a ‘mother plucker’ as she keeps my hair from landing in our dinners night after night. Birds nests around my mother’s condo are being woven by the bread bags full of hair I bring to put near her feeders. All this while I become closer and closer to being bald. Turns out, I’ve been a prisoner of my hairdo all these years.
Back in the ’80s, I chopped off my long hair and got short mullet-ish thing with hair shaved close on the sides, spiky on top, and a bit shaggy in back. Hideous, really. After being sheared and styled, my glass blowing partner (whom I had worked with day after day in the studio) stopped me to ask if he could help me, as if I were a stranger. When I told him who I was he had to look carefully to recognize me. Apparently, Christine Lavin was right about us prisoners – if we cut our hair, no one will recognize us anywhere.
Today, being a prisoner of my hairdo is much less about fearing I won’t be recognized. As my hair falls out strand-by-strand, my ego… my vanity… my Leo the lion’s mane… my armor… and the certainty of my existence seem to fall out with them. I get weepy as the waste basket fills, the bathtub drains more slowly, and the floor needs constant sweeping. I wonder if I’ll be okay… if I’ll be loved… if I’ll be beautiful enough. These are the thoughts of a true prisoner.
Tuesday, I’ll have a kind and caring person cut my hair. That same morning I’ll have blood tests to make sure it isn’t something else too. While I wait for the results, I will remember that there’s nothing in my truest belief system that links my value with the length or thickness of my hair, I will tend to those parts of me that worry and doubt, and most of all, I will say prayers of gratitude for this particularly poignant lesson in non-attachment.
Meanwhile, I’m thinking there are all sorts of thoughts and things we can become prisoners of. Perhaps we are brothers and sisters in this way. Have you got one you care to share? If you’re a coach, how do you recognize when your clients are prisoners of something? …and what do you do about it?
I welcome your thoughts…. namaste