The Last Time I Will Cut My Hair

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.


About Kate

I am Kage Baker's sister. Kage was/is a well-known science fiction writer, who died on January 31, 2010. She told me to keep her work going - I'm doing that. This blog will document the process.
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6 Responses to The Last Time I Will Cut My Hair

  1. Jill Hand says:

    Sorry about the depression and loathed person coming out of the woodwork. The hair loss could be thyroid-related. Wonky thyroids can cause all sorts of woes, including depression and weight gain, as I’m sure you know, but it can’t hurt to investigate if you haven’t already done so.


    • Kate says:

      As a matter of fact, I saw my doctor today, and he is running some new thyroid function tests. I already know I have a barely-functioning thyroid, and it may well have slipped into actual zombiehood. If so, time to up the Levothyroxin again. But that’s easily done. Everything else was looking good at the check-up. too.


  2. Kara says:

    I’m glad the haircut brought you some relief and didn’t leave you crying in the corner, Jo March style.

    I hope you feel better and send you my best wishes for high serotonin levels and rapid synapse firing.


    • Kate says:

      Changing your hair is supposed to be a great classic mood-lightener. I’ve never tried it before, but so far it’s rather nifty. The floofiness is amusing and my God! It dried so fast after my shower! And I have always loved hats. So I’m all bubbly and full of myself this morning. Thanks for the good wishes!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Luisa Puig says:

    Oh Kathleen, I am *so* very sorry to hear of your episode of depression. Nasty, nasty stuff, depression, yet it *can* be subdued with all sorts of straitegies including, yes, sacrifices of the most personal sort. BIG {{{ HUGS}}} and hopes for better feelings from now on.

    May the coffee and sweeties remain good to you.
    May a *strong* portcullis drop down and
    Smite! all who would torment you with
    Their dribbles of woe.

    Love and Light be with You, M’Dear.


    • Kate says:

      Thank you so much, Luisa. These things happen – it’s the price we pay for having friends, that sometimes monsters creep in through the open door. But changing my hair style – ha ha, it wasn’t much of a style to begin with – seems to have left me feeling tons better. And suddenly, my hair looks silver all over! Which is wonderful; I’ve wanted that to finally happen. You’d think, at my advancing age, that I’d be done with vanity and the urge for novelty, but apparently not. And they’re still fun!


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