After turning 45, Vanessa Mártir ushered in a new phase of life with a serious chop.
The way they called Britney Spears crazy when she shaved her head was a violence I felt very deeply even though I’d never do it, myself (I don’t have the head shape for it). As the daughter of an Ecuadorian mother, I got the same lecture about “your hair is your asset.” I was like, really, not my intelligence or my resourcefulness? (Sometimes when someone says something so obviously stupid it’s a gift!) if I had the money to get my hair cut every month I’d have short hair for sure.
I’ve had such a complicated relationship with my hair, from hating it and myself, to loving it and hating myself for cutting it, to finally just being okay with it being hair. But in all my fantasies of running away and starting over, one of the first thing I imagine myself doing, is shaving it all off. How else would one get a fresh start.
Vanessa, this is a beautiful essay. I lost my brother, my best friend, as well. I can't fathom the loss of his only son too. I am so grateful you've shared your story.
Beautiful essay, Vanessa. I relate to so so much of it. Just to note what’s not been commented on yet—the myth of the long-haired superhero! So true.
Vanessa, you've written such a moving story about your hair that tears welled up in my eyes.
I was quite amazed by how polar opposite our long hair stories are - the story of my relationship with hair down to my ass is just as intense as yours.
My story, in a nutshell, echoes Samson and Delilah - a dramatic shearing, recovering power as my hair grew back.
But my story shares with yours - a response to being treated as a non- human and how my response enriches my life and makes life safe for others. It is a story of recovery - like yours.
Sending you a huge hug
Thank you for sharing.
You are so beautiful!