I’m writing today as one unit, but I represent the shared voice of approximately 100,000 parts.
On this particular head, some of us fall out, some are gray, some are gold, some are curly, some are straight, some are dead, some are healthy- but we all think as one because we are a collective consciousness. If you think of skin as soil, our constant cycle of renewal and growth far outlives that of the organs just below the surface.
We are an evolved citizenry. For the most part, we all agree to fulfill one foundational purpose: cooperation, both amongst ourselves and in accordance with the expectations of the mind under our veil- no matter how outlandish or modest. As a healthy democracy who exercise full voting rights on how we want to behave that day, we are aware of how much better it is for the general population if we fulfill our duties. Keeping this healthy system functioning depends on the relationship between the microcosm and macrocosm: from the individual to the whole, and from the whole to the individual. There is of course an “exception clause,” or Bad Hair Day, for those who have a mind of their own some days and simply won’t go where they should; which is okay, as a community we eventually adapt and self-correct.
Beyond this, however, our timeless purpose is a complex one. Across space, time, land and peoples, we bear the weight of desire, race, ethnicity, gender, religion, expression, political persuasion, transition, initiation, mourning and wisdom. We are seen in infinite tales of sensuality, magnetism, virility, seduction, creativity and grace. In other words, we have an active yet subtle role in advancing human civilization. We bridge worlds and realms, myth and “reality,” god and human, story and truth. #yourewelcome.
On this particular head, we haven’t been trimmed or groomed in over three years, meaning that we hold in our strands the physical evidence of having experienced time and connections with other people. The hands that have run their fingers through us, the eyes and foreheads that we brushed over, the jaws that we made drop.
The ends of our strands have Turkish sun in it, with a little bit of Portugal sprinkled in there. Oh don’t remind us about that time- we were too confused to figure out which suitor would come play in us. Neither ended up doing so and wouldn’t you know, it ended up being okay anyways. When we trim that part off, it will be a milestone for healing and moving forward. Almost all of the dye and chemicals will be out of us, and we will be untainted virgins again.
Our relationship with our “owner” (what is the proper way to call her?) is an interesting one. Our partnership and flow is a big part of what others perceive as the entire body and soul which we help comprise, but really we are just cool with each other and happened to be in this symbiotic relationship. She didn’t choose us and we didn’t choose her, but we make the best of it.
Sometimes she’ll sharpen and mold us with hot iron, like a weapon, knowing the power we have over people. Beware if you’re a target for when she’s aiming to kill, to make a point or to make you find her irresistible. She’ll make you regret, she’ll make you long, she’ll make you wonder what it’s like to crumple us in your palms as you draw her near for a passionate kiss. A really good one, because she doesn’t fuck around. She knows how to drive you crazy if you’re open to it. Sometimes she’ll know exactly what she’s doing and other moments she’ll be completely oblivious, or indifferent. Figuring out which of the two she is acting in will feel like a drug.
Outsiders have their opinions about us. At times we’ll slowly be drawn over her shoulder to let observers take a momentary gaze at the precious neck and collarbones we hide. We both humor curiosities about what it would be like to cut us or style us differently, but its been a pretty wonderful run that continues to be worthwhile, so why mess with a good thing that continues to evolve anyways?
We’ve lost count of the people who have threatened to revoke their friendship and love if we were altered, who upon hearing this suggestion cry, ““Whatever you do, don’t touch your hair!” It sounds shallow, but deep down it comes from a good place. We get it.
There’s been some close calls, however. She’s held us in the grips of scissors, too often for our comfort, late at night in episodes of frenzy and desperation. We beg the conscience to intervene, or for intergalactic creatures to step in and remove the nuclear arsenal that threatens our lives. Whatever it is, probably just some deep seated vanity, she usually puts the scissors down and walks slowly away from the almost-crime scene.
In other times of serenity, we find reflections of ourselves all around us: in brush strokes, long draping plants, water currents and sound waves. Of course I could get into resonance in nature and how we are all connected to a divine unity and what we are really seeing is reverberations of our interconnectedness- but I think everyone obviously knew that at the first paragraph of this piece.
Originally written June 27, 2015
Cover Image Artist: Tanya Shatseva