As I was standing in front of the mirror this morning, snipping away at my hair ..... I was taken back in time. I used to do the same thing when I was 18. A single mom who couldn't afford to pay attention, much less pay for a hair cut. I do it now because I am loathe to drive 25 miles and mask up for a hair cut.
Back in time, I still lived with my parents. I mention this because my mother had a shop next to their house where she plied her trade and cut hair. You may be wondering why I cut my own hair if my mother, trained in the art of hair cutting, could have done it for me. In answer to that I can only say that I preferred my own method. Of course she had cut my hair many times and those many times usually left me in tears. For the life of me, I was never able to understand how she kept clients. They would come in and sit in her chair and tell her what they wanted. Sometimes they brought pictures.
Every single time, she would tell them that was NOT what they wanted at all, that she knew what they would look good with and proceed to give them the exact same haircut she gave everyone. Some times she would vary a bit, but in the end, the neck line was always the same. Every woman over the age of 30 needed short hair according to my mother. Long hair on old women (over 30, mind you) was bad.
Add to that the obligatory permanent to achieve a mound of frizzy hair that could only be contained with hair curlers and several good coats of hair spray, and there you had the perfect look. She did just that to my hair at the tender age of 17 when I became a mother. I would cry every time I looked in the mirror and vow that her hands would never find their way to my head again. So, I would sneak out to her shop and using the tools she had, I styled my own hair, letting it grow longer and longer. Was my mother a bully of sorts? Why, yes, yes she was!
I kept my hair long well into my 40's, much to her dismay. By then I was immune to her telling me what to do and how to do it. Should she point out my many faults, I would give it right back to her and tell her where she fell short. Do I regret this? No, not really. The fact that I would challenge her didn't mean I didn't love her, but, as I told my Dad, as we stood next to her last viewing ... she was so hard to love.
When I started writing this, my intentions were going in a totally different direction. My mind was set on other things, but I guess my heart wasn't having it. I am at a total standstill in a book I have been writing about her. I have not been able to add a single word since my Dad died. When I started the project, the words seemed to flow. It is a work of fiction, based on her life as I knew it. Written in my interpretation of her voice. There are many stories that I know from growing up in her care and stories that she told me herself. There are just as many huge gaps in what I know about her.
So many secrets she never revealed to me or my sister, some I doubt my Dad was privy to. Talking to her relatives and people she may have interacted with before she became my mother doesn't add much to the picture. I knew I would never try to publish the book until both her and my Daddy were gone. So, how ironic is it that I seem to not be able to continue?
I don't look like my mother and I have lived my entire life trying to not be my mother. I know that sounds harsh, but it is true. I loved Mother, but I also pitied her. She never realized the fullness of her life. My Dad was a wonderfully loyal man. When he remarried at age 75, when she had been gone for 5 years, he confided to me that he had never been so happy in his entire life. He followed that statement with, "Now, if your mother were still alive, you know I would always be with her."
There were many times in my life that I could not be around my mother for various reasons, mostly for my own mental well being. During those times, Daddy would take her side and choose not to be a part of my life. As painful as that could be, I had to admire his loyalty to his wife. After she died, he became a very important part of my life. Even knowing that his cancer was taking him, his death absolutely devastated me. I miss him every day.
And, yes, I cut my own hair. Rarely does that action hit me as profoundly as it did today!