I was creating a piece of art in my home art space and as i was organizing my tools i found the plastic bag with my hair in it. the 14″ i had chopped off a week ago. it’s actually quite a morbid item to behold. a ponytail in a ziplock bag.
hair has been a defining entity for me. for 10+ years of my adult life, maybe from 21 through 31, i had very short hair, or a shaved head. i loved that. it suited me. it made decisions for me about who i attracted, my politics. it reflected where i was at in my arc of personal growth. it also contributed to me getting read as an asian man, or a gay man which at that time in bed stuy, led to verbal and physical assault, judgment and escalated racism and homophobia.
at around 31, i started to grow out my hair for many different reasons. and it ended up growing to about 2 feet. i loved that too. my hair is strong and glossy, it’s black with reds, browns, golds, and yes, a couple of greys. it’s fun to play in. i experienced a radically different navigation through the world, in regards to perceptions by others. for the first time in my life, i understood what many women have said to me in the past about other women wanting to slice their hair off. instead of wanting to beat me up, men wanted to pick me up. who i attracted flipped and called for greater creativity on my part. while certain assumptions disappeared, many more instilled themselves. i gained access and privilege to a world i had never known previously. hair does a lot to change people’s ideas of who you are, how you were raised, who you like.
i woke up last week, and i knew, it was time to chop it off. time for letting go. time to change. my hair cut suits me perfectly for this point in my life. so now i have a pony tail in a bag that i am supposed to send in to a nonprofit that makes hair pieces for kids who have lost their hair due to long-term medical conditions.
but, i have left it in the bag for a week now, sitting on my work table. for many reasons.
hair carries energy and power. it can define the presentation of one’s persona, it can speak to one’s culture, race. it can express gender and sexuality. these are thoughts and ideas i have been thinking about for decades now, and i believe in letting go of these things to make room for new opportunities, to challenge assumptions. these thoughts are not hindering me from letting go of that bag of hair.
the portion that has impeded me, is perhaps foolish when i think about how the hair will be used. it is also clearly based in unfounded paranoia, indubitably influenced by my affinity for horror and science fiction. there has remained in my musings a sliver of questioning about where my hair will actually end up. what if it gets lost in the mail and an evil diabolical geneticist gets a hold of it and decides to make depraved robotic YK clones? what if my hair is taken to be used in spiritual rituals, thereby enabling someone to control me remotely? what if the child who gets my hair for her/his wig grows up to be a serial killer that leaves strands of my hair at each murder scene as a signature and then that somehow gets linked to me? alright. all of that sounds impeccably imbecilic now that i have elaborated.
so today, on day 3 of the 365 Release, i am letting go of everything that goes with holding onto hair. energy, preconceived notions about who i am, prejudices by others, cultural norms. with that, i am moving onto another stage. and i am giving the gift of another chance to a kid who needs it and will love it.
[I created the 365 Release Project to practice non-attachment, letting go and change by giving away 1 thing a day for 1 year. The background, vision and guidelines to the 365 RELEASE project are here. The running list of everything I have released is here.]