Never Becoming Rapunzel

Long, straight, shining, shimmering, splendid. Since I was a little girl, that’s what I thought how the hair of a beautiful girl should be. Growing up with beautiful Disney princesses and the gravity defying perfect hair of anime’ girls, it was easy to believe that my wavy, thick and dull hair was ugly. It didn’t help that hair commercials and movie showed actresses with hair that bounced on command as if they had Beyonce’s dance choreographer or when blown, fell into place like military academy marching bands. My hair was not as disciplined and on some days, moved as if possessed by the Tasmanian Devil while on others, stayed stuck in place like the sticky end of the Stay Puft Man from Ghostbusters.

I was told that a woman’s hair was her crowning glory. If that was the case, every other woman I met had a crown of gold or silver, exquisitely sculpted and studded with precious jewels. It’s like how Rapunzel had long beautiful hair and was adored by other characters in her story. Their hair seemed to perfectly fit their head while mine looked and felt like a dull cap of lead that dragged my head down. It seemed to me that I had a dead cat hanging on from my hairline. One would say to chop it off then but cutting it hasn’t been a pleasant experience .

The first time I had my haircut was when barely a year old. My father informed me that as my baby hair grew in, it grew in uneven clumps. Worried about it, he consulted my paternal grandmother and with the wisdom of the ages, she gave the sage advice to shave my head clean. I ended with an eight ball head like Krillin from Dragonball. Luckily, I wasn’t killed in a dramatic fashion and my hair grew evenly afterwards. Though, it was an early start of my love and hate affair with my hair.

The next dramatic hair cut was at 5 years old. I had a bit of an artistic streak and had brilliantly thought my hair was another palette to work with. I cut off a good chunk of hair to play with and my parents in a swift and organized manner brought me to a salon and had the situation rectified by having my hair cut to a boy’s cut. Not too long, my mother soon left the family with very little word of where she went to. I then learned 2 things: 1. that self made haircuts will only lead to shorter hair cuts, whether I wanted it or not and 2. that hair cuts would precede or coincide with times of change in my life.

Though the years passed and my hair grew back, dull and unruly, I had another dramatic haircut after coming from the hormonal turmoil of high school and before entering the frenetic fast paced life of college. I decided that to keep things efficient and focused in this new environment, I would discard the dream of having the beautiful long crown of a girl and to take on the clean cut vision of a man’s regal crown. Within a few months from taking on that crown, I would then lose my grandfather.

Things changed fast and I had to become more put together and just let my hair be. My hair grew long and stayed straight but I took very little notice. I was just focused on making it to the next day. Pass the next test, submit the next assignment, cram my requirements and everything. I was able to fall in love at the time but I didn’t savor it or built other relationships outside my immediate circle. I felt so disconnected from everything.

Graduating and heading into my first job, everything felt so numb and that I did everything out of compliance. I was compliant to what my superiors expected of me, letting myself hole up in my comfort zone and just aimed to please others. I was compliant to what people expected of me, even if I was already hurting inside. I killed my passions and marked them as frivolous luxuries. I killed myself in spirit until it came to the point that I left my job due to a volatile situation, partly of my own making.

Hurt by that experience, I holed up in my room in despair and turmoil, my hair long and lifeless like a dead farm crops. In that time, I consumed all media available to me. Television, books, movies, the Internet, comics. Anything to keep me in that room and to numb my feelings.

When I did leave the cave of my room reluctantly, convinced by my father to do so, I would situate myself in cafes and read a book, waiting for his return. It reminded me of the space I was in, physically present sitted at the coffee table, but disconnected from the hustle surrounding me. In that state, I was painfully made aware of how I contributed, or failed to do so, to my work situation and the results it created.

I picked myself up, had my hair relaxed and fixed, looked for a new job and landed my current job. In this job, I was starting to repeat my mistakes from my old one. However, coming from a better awareness of myself and the honest feedback from my new superior, I’ve slowly changed my choices, thoughts and actions for the betterment of my own needs. With love and support, I had one recent haircut. It’s short again but styled much better than before. I can rock the look and confidently wear this crown. It’s not the long beautiful locks, a shining crown, as imagined in my younger days. However, it is my own brilliant crown that I claim as my own. It is my crowning glory and I don’t need to be Rapunzel ever more.

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