I was at a monthly woman’s gathering this weekend. Each month a different woman shares her insights, knowledge or passion with the other members of the group. In this past meeting, Bliss who was leading that evening, asked us all to take out a pen an paper – she had prepared a questionnaire about hair.
We wrote down our answers to the questions: What does my hair look like? What do I love about my hair? What do I dislike about my hair? If I could change one thing about my hair it would be____. If I could have _____ hair and why? My hair represents to me _____.
We were all wondering where this was going, when she then said to take the pen and cross out the word “hair” everywhere it was written and replace it with “personal power.” After changing our answers in this way we read them aloud. The answers were often humorous, and always insightful. Some women felt that their “hair” was shining, flowing, and strong, while others had stated it was dull, lifeless, or not full enough. We could see that how we felt about our hair was actually a metaphor as to how we feel about our personal power.
We shared our hair experiences; from drastic cuts and dye jobs to always natural or low maintenance. A few women in the circle said that they had cut off their long hair after being in an abusive relationship, perhaps to show that they were in control of their own power. Women who had gray hair felt that they had to dye it, symbolizing that they felt a loss of power from their graying hair, rather than seeing it as a symbol of increasing wisdom which comes with age. There were women who would dye their hair darker in dark periods of their life, while others would try to lighten their hair.
Most people are dissatisfied with their hair. Those with straight hair want curls, those with curls envy the ones with a straight head of hair. Some people are constantly altering their color or style, never being satisfied. In the same way we never feel that we are good enough, and struggle to find ways to increase our sense of personal power.
The correlation between hair and one’s sense of personal power applies not only to women; men are just as likely to make drastic changes to their hair, and lets not forget how they often feel a significant loss of power when they start balding.
The representation of hair as personal power is not new; the Biblical figure Samson had tremendous strength, until he told Delilah the source of his strength – his hair. When she cut his hair in his sleep, he woke to find that he had lost all his strength and power.
So, how do you feel about your hair?
Do you see your hair in a positive light: fun, beautiful, shining, or do you have negative feelings towards your hair: dull, lifeless, mousy, unmanageable. Do you feel less empowered on a “bad hair day”. Do you get uptight if your friend or lover does not notice your new haircut? Do you make drastic changes to your cut or color in times of stress or life crises. How do you feel about going gray?
We may desire to have the hair of a friend or an actress not realizing that it took many hours to get it looking so good. In the same way, we may envy another’s power, not realizing that it has been years in the making. You can spend more time on your hair, and it will look good – You can spend time developing your sense of personal power and it will look even better!
Reflect on your life and how the perceptions of your hair have changed with your sense of personal power, and next time you book that hair appointment or reach for the bottle of dye ask yourself how you really feel.
Image used under Creative Commons from dearbarbie
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