In the swinging sixties a baby girl was born. Like most babies she had a mop of black hair at birth, but before long she had lost it all. Pretty soon the hair started growing back and initially only a wisp of light hair appeared on the top of her head. Against all odds the girl had turned blond, and her hair kept growing. By her third birthday she had long, blond locks.
The girl’s mother had been forced into having long hair when she was growing up during the war. As soon as the mother became independent of her parents, she had her hair cut short. For her own three daughters she therefore favoured a short and practical haircut. So by the time the little girl was four, her hair – which by now had started to get darker – was cut short. Until the age of about nine, the girl had short dark hair, and to be fair, was probably not overly concerned about her looks or locks. But there comes a time in every little girl’s life when she starts to have ideas about her appearance, thinking about boys and wanting to be feminine. This lucky girl managed to persuade her parents to let her grow her dark mane.
The little girl grew into a teenager. She was particularly proud of her reddish Bowie hairdo, which was principally long but with a short tuft sticking up along the top of the head. Boys came and went, but at the age of 14 one relationship became serious and lasted for two and a half years. She went into it with long hair, and came out of it with short. Somewhere in the middle a change happened to her. The little girl was growing up. She was going through a metamorphosis or sorts, and began to feel different. From a young age she had been a bit of a rebel, indulging in eating, smoking and drinking and now she noticed that it did not do her figure any good. The relationship was clearly also suffering from the influence of alcohol abuse. The girl and her boyfriend decided to stop drinking and smoking, and went on a diet. The makeover was complete when the girl decided to return to having her hair cut short. The couple was happy for a year or so, but the girl grew up faster than her five years older boyfriend and became bored. She had been tied down for too long at her tender age. They split up, and soon after the girl had started growing her hair again.
Short-term relationships came and went and the girl was still yearning for true independence. Unable to decide what she wanted to become when she grew up, she decided that escaping and going abroad would give her the necessary freedom. Little did she know that getting away turned out to be a permanent arrangement – she met her husband to be within weeks of settling in her new country and married just over a year later.
Almost two years after the wedding she fell pregnant. Once again she needed to change her lifestyle. The old habits of unhealthy eating, smoking and drinking had crept back into her life, and the latter two definitely needed to be removed. In the eighties eating for two during pregnancy was still thought to be desirable, or at the very least it was commonly used as an excuse for overindulging. The young pregnant lady was especially partial to ice-creams during this unusually hot summer. She had a baby girl and her life was changed forever. She soon realised that she could not cope with her long hair anymore. The baby pulled it, and it was near impossible to wash – the little family had no bathroom of their own, but shared facilities in a separate building. Short hair once again made sense, and it was no co-incidence that the weight started falling off – not only the expected postnatal loss, but the new mother actually slimmed down to a smaller size than before the pregnancy.
Another daughter followed, happy years! The young woman felt fulfilled as a wife and mother, and lead a reasonably healthy life. That is until boredom started slipping in, the hair started growing and the harmful weaknesses started to raise their ugly heads and crept back into her life. However, the young woman was a fighter, so whilst still ‘living it up’, she stuck with her husband, brought up her daughters, studied and held a job. It was not all bad, but her marriage did start to crumble and eventually broke after close to 20 years. The hair stayed long, and the not-so-young woman got into another relationship, which turned out to be a rollercoaster of a ride for the next seven years. The unhealthy habits were definitely back on the scene and the hairstyle did not change.
This detrimental but spectacular period ended when the now middle-aged woman started growing up, and realised that she needed to change her ways. She did just that, the smoking and the drinking fell to the way-side, this time for good. The eating was more difficult to curb, it followed a yo-yo pattern for years to come. This was combatted with a lot of exercise, sometimes maybe a tad excessive? Some of the weight she had lost stayed off, but she could not find nor stick to an ideal size. Masses of self-development was also in progress at this time, and at last she was starting to believe that there might actually be light at the end of her tunnel. But still she was scared and held back, not ready to let go of the past or her ego.
Finally, after working for over 27 years for the same company she cut loose, having decided to return to her country of birth to live with her mother – who still had short hair – for six months. The stay extended to nine months, and did something to the mature woman. Another transformation had taken place during which she found herself. She came back wiser and at peace with herself, at last. The weight started dropping off as if by itself. She felt so amazing that one morning she decided to get rid of her protective shield. She cut her hair short again, shorter than it had ever been.
© Ewa Donnachie 06/08/2018