Three months after my 5-year-old daughter was diagnosed with leukemia, I cut off my hair.
It’s not what you think; I wasn’t shaving it in solidarity with her hair loss. In fact, she didn’t start losing her hair in earnest until a couple months later. And while I did donate my eight-inch ponytail to Beautiful Lengths for use in free wigs for low-income women with cancer, the decision to cut my hair was about much more than charity. It was about punctuation.
Or, perhaps more accurately (if I stick with the writing metaphor), inserting a page break and starting a new chapter.
When I look back at the history of my hair over the years, I see a similar pattern: changes in my hair, whether drastic and intentional or passive and gradual, cleave close to the plotlines my life.