Signs of Faery In Your Life—Hair

Glitter happens. Sparkle happens. Not necessarily in the obvious, usual ways. Creativity happens. Silliness and joy happen. Sometimes it’s subtle; sometimes blatant. It’s never forced—it just happens. Green and growing happen. We get ideas and we just do them and they make us feel better even when they are “silly” or “weird”.

“Silly” and “weird” are almost a trademark of faery.

A few months ago, I had surgery. After stuff like that, I always have problems with my hair. It starts dying—going dull, straw-like, breaking off. It takes a few months to be noticeable but then it becomes horrible. In desperation I began taking vitamins “for skin, hair, and nails” knowing that they wouldn’t help for months, if at all. What usually happens next is that I start cutting it off, an inch or so at a time. Like pruning an unruly bush.

Usually four or five inches comes off, but this was seriously bad. Every time I looked in a mirror, I wanted to cut more off. And I did. It got down to two or three inches long—some of it curly and rather a lot of bits sticking straight up or out. It was horrible. It reminded me of the way my granddaughter’s hair looked when she cut it herself when she was four. Urchin-like. Only not cute. Awful.

Yet people started saying it looked cute. Pixie-like. I knew they were trying to comfort me, and it wasn’t working. It just looked like a small child had run amok with the scissors—not the way an elder wants to look if she is moderately sane. I considered cutting it all off about a half an inch long. Truly, I felt completely discouraged and wanted to take up wearing big scarves or possibly even wigs. I had nightmare visions of those dreadful cheap wigs that look like plastic—short and blonde and tightly curled, every hair in place. Arrrrgh!

The local fae were muttering and laughing. They were giggling at me. The worst of it was that I was supposed to appear at a FaerieCon in Seattle in a few days. I had pretty dresses. I wanted to look nice. Old, maybe, but nice. I knew I’d never attain the look of a dignified elder anyway, not even with nice hair, but this was just ludicrous. I thought about ways to hide it. I considered again the idea of cutting it right down to the scalp. Or covering it with a fancy headdress, which I didn’t have time to find or make.

The afternoon before the first day of the convocation arrived, and I had to do something. I was going to be standing in front of people, teaching. I was going to be in a panel discussion, for Someone’s sake! (There doesn’t seem to be a patron saint of hair.) One of the things I notice about folk who are “into” faery is that they usually have a lot of hair or nearly none. I didn’t fit either category—I had absurd hair.

It wouldn’t be better if I colored it. Not even in rainbows. It was much too random and disorderly. But… what if I did? It might make it seem as if I meant it to be that way, instead of looking as if I’d been caught by some hair-devouring monster. Is intentional ridiculousness better or worse than accidental? Brazen it out, the fae said. A friend took me to the local beauty supply. We got violet, turquoise, and hot pink temporary hair coloring. (I wanted it subtle and didn’t want the hot pink, but they hadn’t a soft rose and I hoped that using it briefly would result in a gentle rose—it didn’t. It went a bright and hot pink instantly.)

We applied the colors to seven strands each—seven is allegedly a faery number. We waited a little bit, but not too long. (Subtle, remember?) Then I rinsed it out. Apart from the hot pink, which was glaringly apparent, I couldn’t see any colors in my wet hair. Well, that was at least mostly subtle. My friend assured me that it looked good. Colorful. Not awful. Cute. I know she is kind, but this seemed to be carrying things to an extreme of kindness. I gave up and finished packing.

When I arrived at the convocation, people politely didn’t mention it—mostly. Amid the glorious costumes and makeup of others, this was really very mild. My son asked me about it. I shrugged and said, “Sometimes things just happen.” My granddaughter liked it and patted it. A few said it looked like pixie hair and cute. I couldn’t imagine looking “cute” at my age. Never mind. I sat down at my table, which put me under one of those bright lights recessed into the ceiling. Someone did a double-take and said, “Your hair is iridescent! I immediately felt much better.

And the fae giggled all week-end long. I’m going to color it again when it washes out, and dress up in my blue velvet and white lace, and have my picture taken in the woods. It would make them very happy. Me, too.

© 2013 by Jessica Macbeth. All rights reserved.

One thought on “Signs of Faery In Your Life—Hair

  1. there is a man i often see on the bus – quiet energy, 60-ish, walkingstick that says My owner is disabled. His hair is always beautifully coloured, like a Monet painting. Sittingclose to him this saturday I decided to tell him my daughter loves his hair and we both thought he’s not the type to ruin it with chemicals. The colours are pink, golden yellow, orange, purply-violet, blue and green and white. A woman comes from Germany with her collection of natural dyes. “I started dying my hair young and have always kept it going” The change from lapis blue to aqua is made using the same dye. He was amused at your post of the ‘That was weird’ gravestone and regretted he had not achieved more in his life.. me too, though I spose I’ve done my best. It was a real human conversation and when I went my way he clasped my hand in heartwarming way that took me by surprise. Where I live, paignton devon, there is not much unusualness. When I dared to go to the supermarket in my leopard onesy with ears on, i definitely didn’t feel one of the herd. Just by having his hair like that I think that man has woken people up..
    By the way I’m going to be experimenting with a friend’s totally pure white wool, first with daffodil dye as it’s the time of year. There’s a book by Violetta Thurston on natural dyes from the 1930’s, extolling the excellence of natural colours over chemicals.
    I also tend to be expressive with my hair in moments of strain and stress. You have inspired me jessica to be more daring.I have enjoyed hacking it off after marriage and other tricky times. I have shaved it twice – aged 50 for charity, loads of us – Guinness book of records stuff in Cornwall.Some people can take you bald, others not so much, particularly when the flush of youth isn’t there to help. In Kerala, India as part of a Panchakarma cleansing ritual, I escaped from the ashram, preferring to have my hair shaved out in the world. I chose a beach salon and the comfort of the most eccentric driftwood high chair under a palm leaf shelter. Feeling fresh as a kitten after the performance by a expert knife-wielding barber, I shared a bun with a strong young Israeli girl recovering from her stint of national service. She thought if this old woman can shave her head, then so can I. As we sat watching the sea, three dolphins rose out of the waters and performed for us. They took our breath away This was a community that had been destroyed by the horrific tsunami that here had trapped many people between the ocean and the normally tranquil backwaters .A few weeks previously on 24th December we had joined thousands of local peopl, all of us carrying oil lamps and chanting to honour the memories of all those who were taken by surprise or could not run fast enough to find shelter in the solidly built and protected ashram. And later that day when I returned to the ashram I unexpectedly found a white dove caught in netting on my open balcony, caught her in my hands and released her with a prayer.. There was a triple whammy as the most down-to-earth members of the ashram, the welders and boatbuilders, allowed me to burn my hair on their open supper fire. “No problem, madam” they said “The smell of hair is fine for us.”

    I hope this is the right place for this posting. lots of love to all

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