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“Don’t worry, your hair grows really fast. You’ll get used to it,” apologized the stylist after cutting my hair.

She cut off 12 inches, not by mistake, but at my behest.

The stylist ceremoniously measured my hair and repeatedly asked if I was prepared for the outcome. I guess I was and besides, I couldn’t let the audience down. A small gathering of astonished women were already staring, waiting for the event to begin.

I waited as her scissors made their way through my thick hair. It took a while and as I sat and viewed myself in the mirror, I hoped the epiphany would quickly arrive. Alas, it didn’t. I didn’t feel as though a great weight had been removed, nor did I feel a terrible sadness.

Instead, I felt a little brave. My hair has always been my marker, and cutting it all off is akin to changing my name. So there I quietly sat, the astonished women were long gone and it was just me, the nervous stylist and my two daughters. I thought perhaps if I just wait a little longer, the deliverance will come.

It never did.

It is still a small jolt when I see myself. My irreverent son added to the mix by saying, “Mommy, you are beautiful even if you don’t look like a lady.” Well, thank goodness for small reassurances.

All I have to do now is stop referencing Dorothy Hamill each time I catch myself in the mirror. That, unfortunately, may not happen until I grow out this hair.

January 11, 2010