Sunday, February 21, 2010

Filament, Protein, Glory

Today, Mike and I spent our day going to the Pacific Mall in Markham. For those of you who don't know of it, it's an enormous mall with teeny-tiny stores and is entirely dominated by the Chinese and Japanese culture. This is no Chinatown, it's a bona fide megamall, with every electronic device, herbal supplement and super kawaii hairbow you could ever ask for and want. Personally, I wanted a purse. Recently, my hair has gone through many changes, and changed hair means changed clothes, changed purse, changed outlook.

I change my hair a lot.

When I was younger, I wanted to dye my beautiful pristine blonde locks a shade of moody black. Naturally, my parents would hear none of this. Then, in highschool, due to an interest in modelling, all I had were some bland highlights and that was all. By the time I graduated, my hair was long, half way down my back practically, and incredibly healthy. Oh, to have the patience of those days return...

Since then I have been platinum blonde, midnight blue-black, purple, red, black, platinum blonde again, and now, red once more. The style has ranged from a marilyn-esque bob, replete with nights of bumpy curlers (ouch), to dreadlocks, and my current mohawk. Sometimes I cut it myself, sometimes I have it professionally done, and I have not made any connection with better results for either one.

So why do I change my hair so much? It's a good question. I'd like to say boredom, because that's the easiest answer, but that's not it at all. When I start to imagine changing my hair, it sets in motion my imagination. I think about the places I would feel comfortable with a new hairstyle, the places where I would get stares. I think about the clothes that I could wear with it, the way it would feel when I washed it. New hair changes everything.

I feel about hair the way I feel about makeup. If we were to take makeup out of its cultural context, strip it of all meaning, what is left? A bunch of women painting their faces. How cool is that? Like every day is a carnival. It's completely culturally acceptable to paint your face, and go about your daily life. Some days your face (granted, your eyelids) can be green, other days blue, or smokey black. Likewise with hair. It becomes a changeable aspect of your outward appearance. If you want to, it can become not a marker of your personality, but a marker of your mood.

Admittedly, this hairstyle is a bit of trainwreck. I didn't really know what I wanted to begin with, so it has involved a lot of haphazard hacking of hair in front of the bathroom mirror. I don't really have the time to spend in front of the mirror perfecting things anymore. There is a tiny man who sits on the carpet and looks at me like I'm nuts. There's nothing like the honest humility of a child to make you feel vain.

But you have to take the good with the bad, and in many ways, my neon-red mohawk represents where I am in life. A little shaggy, rough around the edges, loud, and not sure if it's up or down, curly or straight. If only everything could be so transparent.

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