The Weight of Her Hair

© Melissa Gaggiano
The little one wanted her hair to be short. In her words, 'to be like boys hair'. She doesn't have patience for brushing her own hair. Days would pass and then her mama would end up brushing the dreadlocked hair. So a hairdresser appointment was happily made.

I explained what the little one wanted, and the hairdresser said she would create a layered bob. Once she was done, the little one said 'shorter'. So, the surprised and hesitant hairdresser went even further with the chop and declared the little one to be brave. The guy who operated the hair salon was also awed by how short the do was turning out.

In this salon, in which the little one sat, there were full grown women, with heavily applied makeup and long tresses, wanting hair that shone more brightly than any other. The little one sat, taking her haircut most seriously, was more interested in being comfortable and carefree. She would not be satisfied with a sort-of-short-but-not-really do. She wanted a hairdo that wouldn't slow her down and distract from what was important: climbing, running, jumping, dancing, twirling, playing, building, drawing, reading, creating.

The result: The little one loves, loves, loves her short hair. And somehow the haircut has increased her muchness, if that could even be possible. It's as if the long hair had weighted down her spirit. And now her spirited little flame has turned up, the brightest crimson glow.

I thought about the hairdresser's comment, about the little one being brave: She is brave, but perhaps not in the way that the hairdresser was imagining. I believe the little one is kind and bold, the embodiment of bravery. More than anything though, the little one is brave, for being herself.

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