It’s been a complicated and deeply disturbing twelve months. And still far from over…
Why have I blogged so little… not at all since Spring. Was I blocked? Not exactly, because I did begin twice, once in late August, and then again last week.
The autumnal piece was titled somewhat prosaically, NEITHER HAIR NOR THERE, and ran on thus…
What does your hair mean to you?
The first time I sat down to have my hair washed at Caldon in Edinburgh’s Haymarket, I looked up and became fascinated by the collage of quotations on hair pasted to the ceiling.
The one that really caught my eye, resonated, was by Shane Alexander: “Hair brings one’s self-image into focus; it is vanity’s proving ground. Hair is terribly personal, a tangle of mysterious prejudices.”
So true, I found myself thinking. Vanity’s proving ground. And I remembered Leonard (http://www.leonardjacobson.com/) advising me at the end of the retreat in Monterey (Mt Madonna, 2015) that I was still too caught up in self image. And while I do worry about being over-weight, it’s my hair that has always been my premier focus. If my hair is not right, I’m not right… which is where the tangle of mysterious prejudices comes in.
Born with a thatch of black hair, and growing through infancy with a head of blonde curls, somewhere along the line my head settles for mouse. For years I was in pigtails, then my mother took it upon herself to try turn me into her with a succession of appalling home perms. Then came rebellion, in the form of a fashionable beehive. Brigitte Bardot I wasn’t – too skinny – but I could try…
Which is the point I ran out of steam, or interest… left only with a long list of further quotes from Caldon’s ceiling, which I will post for your interest or edification:
“Long hair is a security blanket for me. I cut it short a few years ago and I really never want to do that again. When I do cut it, I cut it myself.” Alanis Morissette
“I love my grey hair and wrinkles. I love the fact that my face has more of an edge and more character than it did when I was in my twenties and thirties. No Botox for me.” George Clooney
“Beauty is about perception, not about make-up. I think the beginning of all beauty is knowing and liking oneself. You can’t put on make-up, or dress yourself, or do you hair with any sort of fun or joy if you’re doing it from a position of correction.” Kevyn Aucoin
“If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.” Maya Angelou
“Forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair.” Khalil Gibran
“Some of the worst mistakes in my life were haircuts.” Jim Morrison
“Symbolic of life, hair bolts from our head[s]. Like the earth, it can be harvested, but it will rise again. We can change its color and texture when the mood strikes us, but in time it will return to its original form, just as Nature will in time turn our precisely laid-out cities into a weed-way.” Diane Ackerman
“Hair style is the final tip-off whether or not a woman really knows herself.” Hubert de Givenchy
“They’re not gray hairs. They’re wisdom highlights.” Anon
“How can I control my life when I can’t control my hair?” Anon
“Don’t you think it’s something strange that you rarely look at yourself in the mirror, except to do things like stand and ponder? I mean, in Shakespeare’s day, it was thought that the mirror would reveal something, that it is trying to tell you something – not just to tidy your hair, but something more.” Nicolas Roeg
“I’m undaunted in my quest to amuse myself by constantly changing my hair. Hillary Clinton
Read more at: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/keywords/hair.html
Well, Hillary has a lot of time now to amuse herself. The US has a new President-Elect, and it’s not good news. It makes me reconsider Maya Angelou’s line above, that if there is something that you don’t like that you can’t change, best to change your attitude. Right now this appears a conundrum, but I’m working on it.
Just as I am working on how to explain that the blog I wrote and posted on December 20 before the Winter equinox, two thirds of which disppeared overnight, is now redundant, so I shall not try to replicate. Christmas too is over, and the year-end on its way…
January and February are usually considered dreary months, but I see no reason for gloom (all the obvious economic and political woes apart!). Many find Autumn and Winter depressing. Rather I regard them as times for Nature to hibernate and renew energetically towards Spring. Just as we are doing: sleeping a lot, eating well, breathing deeply, gathering strength and momentum. Living in each and every moment. And glorying in the additional 16 seconds of daylight we have been granted since December 21st.
No, the year is not dying, it is simply passing… slipping off its seasonal snake skin and transforming into whatever the future brings. Which is how I regard death of any kind.
In Japan it is customary to send nengajo (celebratory postcards) to family, friends and colleagues for New Year. The Japanese post office stores them up, stockpiles them, that that they are all delivered on January 1st. Which is a hell of a lot of Happy New Year (akameshite omedeto gozaimasu) cards. Even if the population of 126 million each receives twenty, that’s quite a feat of organisation and stamina.
Anyway, here is our own nengajo, customised for calendars in East and West, and I shall spend the next few days trying to work out yet again why this website insists on deleting so much of the copy I post.
Happy year-end everyone. May 2017 look after itself.