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Philosophical Monday: I Cut Off All My Hair

So I cut off all my hair — yes, again. I had been thinking about doing so for a while now. The last time I cut my hair (got rid of my locs and rocked a small fro) I got pregnant, I got an agent, I got a book deal. In 2011, I’m hoping to get pregnant and to sell the two books that I wrote and rewrote over the course of 2010, sooo…

Back in October, it occurred to me that I should cut my hair off again. I mean look what happened the last time. But there were also other things that happened: I quit my job, we decided to sell our house — these were great decisions in the long run, but both actions kept me up at night. The fall out that comes with cutting off your hair isn’t all unicorns and rainbows.

“You’re very brave,” a friend of my husband’s said at a recent party that we both attended. “Well, it will grow back,” my MIL said with a tsk in her voice after a stunned, “What did you do?”

My husband cut it off for me before going to bed on Wednesday and the next morning, my daughter looked at me with a most quizzical look, then laughed when I ran her little hand over my fuzzy pate.

“Your hair is your crowning glory.” A lot of black women say this. I got the idea to cut it off in October, then waffled back and forth, until just like when I cut off my locs, I found myself with an itchy head of hair, two weeks from my last wash. I needed to either deal with it or cut it off. And I didn’t feel like dealing with it, so I asked my husband to get out his electric razor. And less than five minutes later, I was staring at a new me.

Or is it the old me? “Do you look like you did back in college?” My BFF asked me when I told her I had cut off my hair.

And yes, the first thought that struck me when I looked in the mirror was that I looked so much younger … strangely the way I looked before my mother died, but also exactly how she looked when she had died, since I had convinced her to cut her hair like mine the summer before she was unexpectedly taken away. A couple of days later I invested in both a pair of non-designer acid-washed skinny jeans and a ton of huge cheap earrings. I wore the jeans and a pair of the cheap earrings to the opera on Sunday.

“You’re beautiful, just beautiful,” a white woman said to me as she was returning to her seat after the second act.

I had forgotten this part. The strangers that come up to you like angels and give you emphatic compliments whenever you cut your hair really short and push against the general beauty standard. This was my third such compliment in four days, and I remembered how these compliments got thrown at me all the time in college, how I never thought I was beautiful until I cut off all my hair and went to college.

I was worried at the beginning of the week: about my agent liking my rogue sci-fi novel, about the physical exam, which will kick off our next cycle of IVF this morning, about settling into our third home in as many years. I was becoming overwhelmed by these fears, and in many ways it felt like I cut them off with my hair, opening up a space for something new to grow in their place.

Anyway, this is all to say that the new IVF journey begins today. I’ll keep you updated as I go along, just like last time. So fingers crossed, hair cut off, all I need now is for you to wish me luck.