My mother told the story that I used to have some wave to my hair, but she braided it a lot, so that began to straighten it out. Then as I grew up, I went through pretty bad perms and bad hair years. My hair always seemed to reflect what was going on in my life.
I started out as a very active, hyper, singing, dancing, moving the entire time child…climbing everything I could. At two my parents had to put the Christmas tree and presents in the playpen so that I wouldn’t get to them. I often crawled out of my crib and took off, just as I took off from the hotel room in Georgia, when I was two, and ended up heading off to the town, later jumping into the pool and almost drowning. At my childhood home, I could go from one end of the block to the other end, starting out on our wall, traveling over all the fences and walls down the block, never touching the ground. But my joy, my loudness, my expressiveness was too much for my parents and slowly, month by month, year by year, I learned to suppress my joy and my movement.
By the time I entered school and faced rejection after rejection for being smart, being sensitive, having freckles, having asthma, being thin, being aware of the racism and cultural differences used to discount others…all the things that children find to use to reject another, I was getting the message that who I was, was not acceptable. So between that and the suppression at home, I learned to be quieter and quieter, until my parents could barely hear me talk. My hair got straighter as I tried to climb into a smaller space within, taking up less room in the world.
Since I grew up remembering other lifetimes, and saw other dimensions, as well as talking to other spirits that I saw in my room, this set me apart even more. Luckily my parents let me leave their church and go on to explore others and sing in their choirs. Music and singing was a wonderful outlet for me, since I had grown up making up songs since I was two. But other than the time spent in choir, swimming in the ocean, drawing, reading or hiking in the desert, I kept shrinking, as my hair grew more fine and straight.
By the time I graduated from high school, I was emotionally suicidal. Even though I had been a cheerleader and been enough of an activist to get the school to change their selection process from a popularity contest to try outs taking place in front of a board of other cheerleaders and teachers, president of a club, a singer in an eight person singing group and part of other clubs, I was dying inside. There was little room to breathe in the space I had shrunk into, to hide my true self, so that I could fit in. I spent the summer, after summer school, hanging out in my parent’s family room drinking screwdrivers and painting. One of the best paintings I did at that time was entitled schizophrenia. It was my face but one half of it was light skinned, with blue eyes and blond hair. The other half was my olive skin, brown eyes and brown hair. It out-pictured what I felt inside…so divided, so torn in two, so much in pain. Then my big brother died that November and the damage felt permanent.
After many changes, and six years later, I ended up in the best semester of my long drawn out college career. I was studying Faustian literature in an English class, Russian literature from a Russian existentialist, world religions, and American history from a teacher who taught us everything that the conservative textbooks I had grown up with never told us. I became friends with an older woman, a woman who had been raised a socialist. I started taking finger picking guitar lessons. I was introduced to a wonderful alternative school for my son; one based on Dreikurs’ natural consequences, and started volunteering there. I spent more time hiking the desert and the mountains around Tucson, AZ. I was so enthralled and overtaken by it all as what I’d learn in one class or situation was confirmed and enhanced in another. My mind was spinning and expanding as these experiences were supporting and confirming all I had known myself to be before closing down so many years ago. As I expressed more, letting myself crawl out of the cave I had spent so many years shrunk into, my hair started getting wavy from underneath. I had now grown it out and was wearing it long. Pretty soon it was wavy all over and becoming curlier. It felt like a socialist take over in my hair!!!!
My life has taken me through many relationships as I explored people much different than what I had grown up with. At one point I was with a Marxist man who preached Marxist revolution, as I spoke of spiritual revolution instead. Since our politics didn’t match, it didn’t last, but it did assist me in my evolution as an activist. Living on the Navajo reservation educated me even more about the politics of this country and the repression that still takes place.
In 1989 I was living in Humboldt county and ready for change in my life, so I decided to take a leap and I cut my hair into this outrageous mullet, with very short hair on the top and sides, spiked, and long wavy hair in the back. I bleached out parts of the top and sides and put a hot pink cellophane on it. My son was incredibly embarrassed and to try to explain this strange hair I had, he told his high school friends that I was a rock musician. I’m sure at the time he would have preferred Leave it to Beaver’s Mom. But for me, it expressed how much I was growing as I started leading solstice and equinox celebrations publicly, teaching creative music and movement to children ages 2 ½ -13, leading workshops in corporations and publicly, learning more mind/body/spiritual therapies, writing more music and playing more guitar.
After moving to Seattle in 1998 and experiencing one trauma after another, I found myself getting smaller again, shrinking into a dark place, trying to burst out, and looking for some light. This town has been the story of the Phoenix, as I have died in the fire. It has been a long journey to heal the pain of my own repression, learning to love and accept more about myself and my choices as I expand into living and expressing my true divine nature. This seems to be the most worthwhile journey I can take. I believe it is our soul’s journey, to crawl out of our self and societal imposed cocoon and burst forth and fly!!! Now I am proud to have my curly hair…unruly, anarchistic at times, and yet soft and yielding at others.
In sharing my story of pink hair with my hairdresser, Barry Thomas (206-293-4847….check him out!!!!), I told him that I didn’t have any pictures of my hot pink hair and would never get a cellophane again. He asked why not, and recommended a layered cinnamon red and ginger gold cellophane, so that is what we did and it is pictured above. As I am now ready to fly from this fire, arise from the ashes, it is fitting to have a new “do” to out picture the changes that have taken place within me and where I am ready to go and how I’m ready to live.
( R )evolution one strand at a time!!!!