When I was in Grade 7, I tried one in a series of experiments in cutting and/or dyeing my own hair, and I cut myself a nice fat fringe. (‘Bangs’ in American-ese.) I walked into school the next day… And a boy burst out laughing and said ‘You look like you just lost a fight with a lawn mower!’ (Yeah, yeah, laugh it up.) I was not impressed with that feedback, not impressed at all. I probably exacted revenge on him by thoroughly kicking his ass in every single subject for the rest of the year. Yeah, take that! Me and my fringe are intellectually kicking your dumb ass! I bring this story to the playground tonight because I may have just cut my own hair again, I may have just given myself a fringe, and I may be way more intrigued by that fact than is logical.
It’s such a thrill, isn’t it? This process of self-definition. To see the image of ‘you’ transform in front of your very own eyes! ‘Who am I deciding to be?’ is the most intriguing, expansive, and brilliantly, delightfully creative question of your life, if you let it be. Obviously ‘a woman with a fringe’ is a very, very small, relatively temporary, part of who I’m deciding to be, but it’s fun to explore nonetheless! (And, if I don’t like it in the morning, bobby-pins are my new best friend!) I’ve heard it said that our hair represents our past, and to cut off all of your hair is to cut away all of your past. Anyone who’s ever cut their hair really short can attest to what a personal landmark it can be. My mother certainly subscribed to this idea, and her cutting off all of her hair when I was about 4, was definitely a significant event for both of us! As was her losing most of her hair during cancer treatment. Certain fundamentalist religious orders forbid the cutting of hair, hair is apparently a significant enough topic to make it into more than one religious text. In other interpretations, hair is a sign of strength, and to lose it is considered a loss of strength. I even read a story once about a Native American Indian who was a renowned tracker… He’d never cut his hair in his life… But when he was forced to, his tracking prowess faded. Lots of stories about hair out there, if you’re one for looking. Personally, I have a bit of an ingrained habit these days of looking at people who have really, really long hair, and thinking ‘Woah, that’s a lot of history you’re carrying around there!’ (This is not necessarily a good or a bad thing, it’s just generally one of my first thoughts.) I’ve kept my hair relatively short for years, I recently decided to start growing it long again… Because I’m more OK with staying connected to my past now? Possibly, possibly. Anyways, this isn’t ‘Haircutter’s Weekly’, let’s move on shall we?
A few years back, I went through a phase where I banished every single piece of black clothing from my wardrobe and wore only bright colours in ‘hippy’ styles. Years before that, I went through a ‘corporate phase’ and got right into the high-intensity, ‘power’ culture of the business school I was studying at. And yes, of course I was having radically different experiences of life in these two different ‘style seasons’ of mine. Yes, the way we choose to show up physically in this world says interesting things about where we’re at internally. Of course it does.
Everything about your physical, external occupation of this life says something about where you’re at internally. Everything. Every. Single. Thing. It’s ALL feedback. Internal and external are interdependent. Yes, your internal creates your external… And a consciously created external will support you brilliantly in those moments when your internal focus wavers. It’s scientifically proven (by me) that it’s harder to stay feeling shit when you’re surrounded by beauty, quality, and well organised, consciously chosen possessions. Every single thing about how you are showing up in this physical world is a manifestation of some internal value, or lack thereof. Every single thing. Did I mention that it’s every. single. thing? I think I did. Life sees everything. Life is watching, and Life will magnify whatever you show it. How clean and well serviced do you keep your car? How promptly do you pay your bills? How cracked and dry are your heels? Do you use the cheapest toilet paper, the recycled one, or the most expensive one? Do you give way in traffic graciously? Do you tell someone if they’ve given you the wrong change? How’s your underwear looking? Are your cupboards full of ‘home brands’ or organics? Is your tax up-to-date? Do you go to work because you love it, or do you drag yourself there because you actually kind of get off on whingeing about how how much it sucks?
What do you do when you think no one’s watching? Because, I assure you, Life is watching. What do you think in that little skull of yours? Thing is, it’s actually an amplifying chamber, not a soundproof room. Life can hear you. Your life is your message to the world. And you get to decide, design, and redefine every single aspect of it, as many times as you like. Who are you deciding to be?