Kage Baker understood dramatic gestures. She was a writer – her own dramatic gestures were often entire novels; most of which were designed , at least in part, to articulate deep, old feelings in her heart.
But she quite loathed melodramas in others. And, as is often the Fate of quiet and observant people, she had to deal with quite a lot of them. There were several divas among her relatives, and her mother was a classic Steel Magnolia: her tantrums were rare and cathartic, but oh my! The sugar bowls surely did fly.
And then there was me. Now, I’m not really much of a prima donna. I’m more of the cope with the disaster and sweep up the broken china persuasion – usually. However, being of mostly Celtic stock, I have a profound well of angst and excess in my soul and sometimes I succumb to wild dark passions. Also, acts of idiocy. It’s in the DNA …
Dear Readers, I’ve been – depressed lately. Really, really, really depressed; sitting under your desk drinking cold coffee and eating Christmas crackers depressed. Thus far, 2016 is not a great year. The news is dark and terrifying. Agent Carter has been cancelled. I’ve been sneezing and sniffing for days. It’s been freezing cold and damp, then today it shot up to 90 degrees and the humidity dropped to 16%: all my joints and sinus cavities imploded. Someone I loathe popped up out of the past to remind me of pain and hard times. I haven’t been able to write. I haven’t wanted to read. And – presumably from stress, or maybe from voodoo – my hair has been coming out in handfuls.
So tonight, in a fit of despair and madness, I lopped most of it off. My hair, not my hands.
Kimberly, bless her patient heart, has trimmed it so it looks halfway human. But it was nearly to my waist, and now it’s nowhere below my jawline. This is the shortest it’s been since I was 7, even shorter than when I caught my braids on fire in a Bunsen burner in high school … But it was an enormous relief. It really was. Whatever symbolic weight could be attached to the two feet of hair I shed does seem to have left me.
Now I’m watching it in some curiosity. It’s suddenly much, much more silver – the new hair is all that’s left, with the old dark locks cropped away. It’s showing signs of resuming the curls I had as a child. It’s – fluffy. It doesn’t exactly look good, because I’m short and fat and have a round face: but it looks sort of lively. I can live with this happily while I see what it does next.
Kage’s hair was about this length when she quit cutting hers, and it grew down to her hips in a year. I’m healthier now than I have been in years; so I have hopes.
I’m going to set out the cut hair for the birds; who, according to Shakespeare, began to build their nests yestreday. It is a sacrifice to the dead, to the past, to inertia and grief and bad memories. I’m paying off Winter in the hopes of a fertile Spring. I feel fresher, lighter, free and young and ready for whatever comes.
And I think it is the last time in my life that I will cut my hair.