I got my hair cut today. It’s probably been 2 plus years since my last, but the memory still haunts me. The recollection of the physical stripping of my head doesn’t so much grieve me as thinking about the actual process, the parting of such a beloved piece of me onto the floor, to be swept up later by an unloving kid in eyeliner as they listen to their iPhone7.
It’s the change that gets me. I hate change. I always have. It’s the destruction of what is comfortable, familiar, of what I’ve spent hours, days, years accepting and growing attached to. ‘But change is synonymous with growth!’ People sanctimoniously clue me into this revelation when I mistakenly let my disdain known. I know it, and I still hate it. No matter what it is that changes in my life, as inevitably as it comes I dread it, I stress over it, and I fight it.
At the hair salon today I kept my eyes glued to the floor and away from the mirror, forcing myself to accept the notion that I want a change, am desperate for the smallest discretion in my ordinary life, and yet I am resistant to each second of it.
I suppose the actual process of change isn’t so bad. What I really can’t stand is in those moments before, when you can feel in every ounce of you that this moment, this feeling, this hairstyle is never going to be the same again so you cling to it with all you’ve got as it inevitably falls to pieces. Breaking up, moving cities, changing dorms, getting on an airplane, finishing one book and starting another, getting a hair cut. That petrifying uncertainty and that overwhelming loss are overwhelming.
When I finally force my eyes to the mirror I realize I have bangs where my spectacular forehead had once shone bright. I try and shake the feeling that I’ve lost something, other than way more of my hair than I had initially asked to be cut. Instead I think about fall.
Fall is my favorite season, especially in Boston. Especially at BC, when I can see every tree ever planted in the history of the world from my 8th floor window. What I find spectacular is that no matter how long I stand at that window, I can’t make out a single leaf changing or tree turning. Yet in the morning I’ll look out and the whole world consists of bright oranges and yellows and reds that could not have existed the day before. My love for fall is inconsistent with my hatred of change, and yet the inevitability of it, the knowledge that nothing is going to stop it from coming this year or next– there’s some stability in that. Some peace in that.
The idea that change is inevitable is such a tired cliche that I’m exhausted from just writing the words. However, since I just refuse to accept this as a fact, I find myself in awe each time it indeed occurs. It’s phenomenal, really, that despite all my attempts at stability and routine, whenever something becomes familiar in my life, something else comes along and shakes my world up. Every time. Looking back, I guess there’s some peace in that as well.
And FYI, I’m thinking my bangs don’t look all that bad this morning.