It took me more than a year to pick up the phone and make an appointment. My hair had become straggly and ugly, long on one side and patchy on the other (because, who knew, hair grows quicker on your dominant side).

Every time I saw myself in the mirror, I averted my eyes. I brushed my hair out in the dark, tied it up into a bun, left it alone.

But after a year of little sleep, of major upheavals, of not taking care of myself, it was time.

Afterwards, Charmaine said “Now, doesn’t that feel better? Soft and beautiful. You owe it to yourself to have your hair trimmed regularly.”

It wasn’t her fault that I had stopped having haircuts.

The memory of that awful morning the day before my sister’s wedding brings up a visceral response of hatred and bile in my gut.

I had just found out I was pregnant, but we weren’t telling anyone yet. I was bloated and scared, I had trouble sleeping. I was tired. I was excited – about the baby, and about the wedding.

And the hairdresser, in the name of “honesty,” insulted everything about me, from the state of my hair at the time (I had figured I needed to let it grow a bit so that she has something to work with) to my job (being an engineer is not the fashion. Who knew? Not the nerds I work with). My eyebrows (I guess it’s wrong to idolise Frida Kahlo), my clothing (comfortable for the heavy lifting we were doing in preparation for the Big Event), my not wanting hair in my eyes (she was literally trying to cover up my ugly face with my hair, and guess what? I don’t want to cover my face. I want to witness what’s around me).

Like I say, emotional.

I went for a follow-up haircut again yesterday. Charmaine was so gracious about me being late (I blame the baby, he didn’t sleep well the night before). She respects my wishes. She understands my half-explained instructions. She leaves comments about my eyebrows well alone.

And it feels so much better, to have had a haircut.

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