Monday, September 19, 2011


I got my first haircut last week.  It was my first haircut since I was bald last spring.  Now I have a trendy hair-do instead of a dandelion puff.  

(rockin' the new haircut at the apple orchard)

I waited and waited for this haircut, despite the developing mullet, because I was so afraid that the stylist would cut off too much.  Indeed, she shaved my neck down to bald, and probably cut half of the length in many strategic places.  Now it resembles my June hair-do, with some parts a bit longer.  And next time some more parts will be longer.  And the next time, longer.  Until...

(rockin' some long hair at the same orchard last year)

It was strange to part with this hair that I have cultivated since being bald; the lengths of hair that were cut were with me all through chemotherapy.  The longest strands were the ones that never fell out.  I didn't exactly feel sentimental about this hair (it was pretty damaged, and chemotherapy does not conjure fond memories), but I felt like I should have said a few words to let it know that I appreciated it.  Those strands fought hard for their place on my head, and they tried to keep me warm when no other strands would.

Another feeling that led to the disquietude of the haircut is that I yearn for longer hair.  I don't look like myself with short hair.  I can't explain it, but there is a disjunct between how I feel and how I look.  When I think of myself, I still think of a girl who should wear a ponytail from time to time.  My ponytail ghost is long gone (I had one for several months), but I still miss the feeling of hair brushing on my neck.  Also, it is no minor variable that the short hair makes me look like my brother.  Perhaps if I didn't look exactly like a confirmed dude, I'd be more comfortable with short hair.  

This all got me to thinking about why I was cutting my hair.  If I'm so anxious for it to get long again, why would I cut it?  For beauty?  That doesn't seem like something I'd do off-hand.  For order is more like it.  I wanted to bring order to the disorder, or as my husband likes to put it, look like I have a PhD.

But sometimes, isn't order beautiful?  NPR did a story about a Swiss artist named Ursus Wehrli who photographs jumbled up things

and then organizes them.

My hair is no work of Wehrli (although I'd like do see what he'd do with it!), but his way of organizing things really is beautiful.  The other thing that struck me about his work is how beautiful the chaos is before he organizes it.  So I will proceed in a brief state of ordered hair, until my next haircut in six months saves me either from the brink of hair pandemonium or a mullet, whichever is worse.  And I'll be beautiful the entire time.  


  1. Heather, I have never cried over a haircut story before, that I can remember. This was really touching. I appreciate those last remaining strands right along with you - they had integrity! I think your new 'do looks smashing. You have to mold short hair into the beginnings of the long hair you want, and trimming the mullet is essential to this process. Now it can grow into the ponytail it is becoming. You are so gorgeous - prettiest girl in the room (in the whole wide room); you could be a waitress or a part-time model...if the PhD gig gets old! Love you.

  2. Another beautiful post, Heather! And I actually really love your short hair but it's funny how we have notions of what we should look like in our minds and when there is a disconnect there, no matter how much others compliment us, it still doesn't feel right. I wonder why that is, I'm sure there is some good research on the 'mirror image' phenomenon out there :)

    Also, just wanted to say that I checked out Your Baby and Child after you mentioned it in your last post and it's been a really good resource so far. Thanks!


  3. It would stand to reason that if one perhaps looks like a certain dude your brother is a marvelous one to look like. Remember when his hair was a bit longer after the Africa trip he wasn't concerned about looking like you. In the end you are both beautiful inside and out! Most importantly mullet containment is essential!

  4. The Wehrli picture is totally cool.

    I need a more complete picture of the new haircut though. I keep getting distracted by E's pigtails.