You may or may not have noticed, although I can’t shut up about it, that I’ve had my hair done. Anyone who has had their post-quarantine haircut will know the level of excitement and freshness that comes with it - sauntering out of that salon never felt so good! For me, this was not only the first haircut I’ve had in over a year but also a journey back to my golden blonde roots (with a little gentle encouragement from Mr Peroxide).
And this is what I wish to share with you today, and it may seem trivial, but it’s happening so come with me dear reader…
A few years ago a respected hippy friend of mine told me that your hair holds your memories, and tbh I’m pretty into that. I mean it’s brain-adjacent and we do keep hold of it for quite some time. I like to think there are still strands in there that have met my grandparents, though unfortunately that means they would’ve met some of my exes...swings and roundabouts eh!
But that’s it isn’t it really - there’s so much myth and ritual around hair.
Sliding Doors didn’t invent the post-break up haircut, washing that man out of your hair is a thing. Experience is part of what gives us power; look at how Samson crumbled once Delilah took his battle-filled top knot! While I certainly do not believe in dwelling on the past, acknowledging the journey you have taken, alongside your ability to transform and renew particularly after a Corona Chrysalis (™ Lucy Pope) is super important.
On a little inspection, I can in fact chart my life by my hair choices in the past 5 or 6 years. See, I was dying it almost black which against my au natural goth skin was so harsh, and that’s what I felt I needed to be. Harsh, tough, sharp, no room to even consider softness, and those who knew me at the time will know that this permeated every aspect of my life. As I started to think about changing my career from hospitality to Yoga, every time I put a colour on my hair it went red...so I just accepted it and started putting red on it...and thus my Little Mermaid years were born. Maybe that was my body/spirit/memory’s way of channeling my fire energy; the energy to undergo a transformation. The thing with fiery people is we don’t do things by halves, and the fire that burns too bright often has a tendency to burn itself out. Looking back at pictures, sometimes my hair is so red it doesn’t look real, or so red it goes dark…
This is the self-perpetuating cycle I have been on for the past couple of years. I am not alone in this; many people who are passionate about their job and consider it their life’s vocation struggle to stop blurring the lines between on and off. A quick late night email here, a cover class there, it all starts so innocent but quickly the activities bleed into each other and you find yourself accidentally working a 14 day week (- read, multiple times).
My ability as a fire person to hold myself to an impossible standard was pushed to its limit during La Quarentina. I have never had more freedom and support to create my own schedule, so what did it do? I obviously completely fucked myself with it. First I burned out physically (which I convinced myself I wasn’t doing by because I fidgeted through a Yin class once a week) and eventually mentally (which I also pretended I wasn’t doing by nailing paracetamol at the constant headaches...then the migraines get you in the eye and you’re like ‘fine, I’ll bloody sit down then’).
Anywho, as lockdown was the longest Yoga retreat that none of us wanted to go on and the universe moves in the ways you need it to, without trying I happened to find an absolutely outstanding therapist/coach whose assistance has legit changed my life. I cannot sing her praises high enough. We are getting deep down and dirty in my psyche and it is TOUGH, but so worth it. Burnout gets me nowhere, repeat, nowhere, and I really feel I’m getting to the bottom of this almost ‘desire’ for it, shaking off the hustle-porn mentality.
You may have heard me (and any other teacher who has read Women Who Run With Wolves) say ‘go collect your bones’ in class. Your bones in this context are you essence, the You you were before you learned otherwise. The things you really like, the things that inspire you, your whims, your nature - You. Collecting your bones is a process of re-getting to know yourself. And you might think ‘well hang on I spend all my time with me, of course I know me’...and maybe you do...but maybe there’s more…
I could’ve very easily choppered in some red dye over the past few months, but I didn’t want to deal with the Texas Chainsaw Bathroom and the red trail of destruction on everything for weeks. To be honest, I liked my blonde roots and the softness they brought to my face. Seeing the real colour of my hair gave me this kind of teenage sense of possibility, how I felt before I’d been out into the cruel cruel world. There is a post-shower freshness to my perspective; I’m really into it I’m currently reading The Artist’s Way (which I won’t go into my love of right now but everyone needs a copy), and there are many affirmations around creativity and truth, the one resonating with me most being;
My creativity heals myself and others.
Well, yeah. Firstly, the parameters of creativity are not defined by your ability to audition for Watercolour Challenge. Everything you do is a creative act, because it is how you express yourself. To introduce some well overdue parameters in this ramble, your yoga practice, for example, is an act of creativity. It meets you where you are that day, and your body expresses how you are feeling through movement. And as such, we get to know ourselves. As I’ve said many times, the more we know ourselves, the more we own our experience, the better we can feel. When you come to practice, there is quite a bit of resistance if I say ‘just move how you feel’ at the start, because we’ve not quite tuned the internal radio. But when I say it at the end - magic. No two people are doing the same expression, and it is such a beautiful and humbling moment as a teacher to watch you really be yourself.
And I guess that could be what I’m trying to conclude here. We put on masks, labels, war paint and wait for instruction as to how to act. But if we start to acknowledge our own experience a little more, believe in our internal wisdom, well maybe...maybe you knew what you were doing all along...so in conclusion...it’s not the end Sandy, it’s only the beginning...