The Story of My Golden Locks

World renowned designer Coco Chanel once famously proclaimed, “A woman who cuts her hair is about to change her life.” Instead of wearing their hearts on their sleeves, some women decide to wear them cropped short, or bleached blonde, or curled, roaring like a 20’s flapper.

I have theorized that maybe when our worlds start spinning, we try to find a niche to control. So if our lives are turning to sh*t and it’s about to hit the fan, we grasp hold of a part of our identity to keep as our own, like hope at the bottom of Pandora’s Box.   

My mom was always less than enthusiastic whenever I wanted a chop during childhood - I had such pretty, wavy thick hair, and cutting it made her wince. The theory I gave her every summer was that shorter hair was easier to wash and dry after swimming, but it was compromised to be cut once, in a “NOT TOO SHORT MARTA, YOU NEED TO HAVE A PONYTAIL” style every June and left to grow for school in September. Each chop was so delicious and freeing, like I was cutting away the parts of the school year I didn’t like.

Like the time I was twelve and decided matching Olivia Benson from Law and Order: Special Victims Unit was a good idea because she was a badass, resourceful fighter who put bad people in jail for hurting women and children. My neighbor and classmate would sing to me as we walked to the bus stop "Marta is gonna get raped, get raped, get raped," and cackled with other mouthbreathers about how my breasts were a "concave black hole.” I wanted to look like someone who could put them all in jail.

Or like the time I was fifteen and a plastic water bottle was flung from a backrow desk to my front row skull because in Shirley Jackson’s The Lottery, whoever “wins” is executed via public stoning since otherwise the town’s corn crop won’t grow. I cut my hair very short that summer. I didn’t want to look like the girl whose head got whacked with hard plastic to appease The Corn Gods.

Winter Quarter of University, I chopped my hair into an inverted bob after escaping terrible roommates (b*tchmates), and my heart broken by a boy directly downstairs from my room who had promised me the world, only to sporadically snatch it all away (and happened to love sexy, long hair). Maybe we got lost in translation, maybe I asked for too much, but maybe his plan was a masterpiece till he tore it all up (All Too Well by Taylor Swift is quite the heartache classic). So I signed my soul away to the housing services department and had them randomly ship me to a different building someplace else. A girl I used to do everything with decided this was an inconvenience and disappeared faster than a bat out of hell, but instead I gained a whole 4th floor of some of the raddest humans DPU has ever seen.

Now I have long, layered hair to match Blake Lively (I love Gossip Girl). I’ve felt very comfortable and peaceful for quite some time, safe from too much turbulence, and so my golden locks are happily halfway down my back. Maybe I’ll keep it long like a little mermaid, or tie it into braids and cinnamon buns like Princess Leia, or maybe dye the bottom half pink like the juvenile delinquent one of my favorite high school teachers could tell I was deep down. But whatever I do, I’ll be the Queen Of Whatever I Do. I will be unfuckwithable, I am going to have a degree in English Literature, History, and Women’s and Gender Studies, I am going to stay spunky and witty and humorous, and I am going to be okay.      

If everything has to change, if unexpected things are always going to happen in life, then maybe choosing to handle it with grace and courage and most importantly, a say in at least something in the impending doom of “what happens next”, is how we survive.