About The Women Who Always Cut Their Hair After A Break-Up

Photo by  Maia Flore

Photo by Maia Flore

Every time my lover – whom I truly loved – left me without any serious explanation, I was carving my hair. Now I see that it wasn’t just because it was one of the ways to face or even break up with my former life, and, in the other hand, a silent way to start a new one, but the new haircut, I assumed, should be my reminder of how strong I was.

The new haircut, I thought, was a sign of victory over terror that has gone through me, and whom I wanted to forget.

How wrong I was!

The fact that I was carving my hair actually was my way of mourning. The need to resist the illusion of control over things that cannot be controlled, and to end the futile struggle with the questions of why why why. It is the last desperate move.

That I threw at my lost lover a part of myself and at the same time I tried to show how important was he in my life, and that I grieved for him in this, someone would say silly, way. But I grieved, also, for all of the time my hair was growing next to him. Or, to be clearer, when you’re constantly just with one and the same person, time gets another dimension in the way that your inner world does not depend on external factors.

Time allows us to create plain image of the world, but when you’re with a lover then you rely on him, you perceive the world from perspectives, yours and his. Each of my lovers was my best friend. We passed through some experiences together and we changed together.

What I have to do by myself now, I used to do with him, and that transition is all filled with silent suffering.

I thought my hair remembers the smell of his palms, the taste of the sweat from his body, his spontaneous kisses and compliments, so I had to kill it.

Realizing that I’m alone with my lifeless hair now, running away from it to nowhere and everywhere. That hair keeps such strong memories that I can easily, with the help of a few scissors strokes, get rid of. I tremble holding scissors in my hands, at that very moment my whole being is flashing. I am the wind, and scissors are the night. Hairs that are falling in front of the mirror, sometimes it happens in my bathroom, sometimes in the hair salon, just for a minute seemed to make me feel better, while I desperately try to run away from the place I was alone.

When I finally cut my hair I stare at the mirror for a long time, after that I cry some small tears in my bed. Later in the deep nights, I start to be really disgusted myself, disgusted by my new hair, disgusted by every cut of it, it disgusts me when it is dry, it disgusts me when it is wet, it disgusts me for I become even lonelier and sadder. That woman in the mirror is not me – that is another one that has the same eyes, the same nose, the same breath between her lips, but it’s not me anymore.

Because every new haircut is a small death, by which some part of me dies. With that fresh start, I become someone else, someone I wasn’t supposed to meet, but whom I have to accept and live with, while the world continues to turn over and over again.

And then when I figure that out, the tricky fact that shows me how I’m losing a little bit of myself all my life, that makes me want to scream. For days, for days and days. While lovers pass and disappear like rainy clouds.

And that is unbearable, that feeling of the constant need for someone else to be nestled in my hair, someone to fill the void, so I could be happy, so I could be worried again. Then I say to myself: „let your hair grow“, assent at your own shenanigans. As the new hair grows, as time goes, pain I live in become smaller. Until my hair grow it completely, and insensibly transforms me into smiling woman who can love again. And that is always. And that is all the time. I cut hair. I cut hair to keep my mouth closed. I cut hair to rest my eyes. I cut hair, as if I cut my heart out.

Naida M. has published two books of poetry. She has a master’s degree in humanities. She survived the war in Bosnia. And loves to make cakes.