I looked this up today and came up with around 6 inches a year but hair can grow more or less than that.

Yesterday I had a haircut; in an ordinary life this would be no big deal. Mine has not been ordinary and the haircut was significant. I wanted to do it since my hair had become so long I was sitting on the ends. I didn’t dare go outside without braiding it. It’s also gray and in places white. Even braided people would stop me to comment on how long my hair was. Actually most of these comments were in awe…as in wow, I couldn’t grow my hair that long when I was young and now that I too have gray hair (or colored hair) it won’t grow at all. I never knew for sure if was surprise that I would do this or some sort of youth envy. My generation worshiped long hair. My dad however always wanted me to cut my hair short. My hair looked terrible short, its naturally wavy and has cowlicks so when it’s short it goes in many directions at once. It looks silly unless a lot of time and product are applied both of which I’m opposed to. I have the kind of hair that hairdressers love, whatever they do to it (other than cutting it short) I can simply shake my head and it looks perfect. It doesn’t look perfect when I neglect it and that’s what I had done. I stopped cutting it the day my father died. I didn’t so this on purpose.

My long hair

Do my dogs wonder why my tail is on my head?

messy hair

My hair at its absolute worst - not even braided properly

I would have told you I stopped cutting it after my father’s death but I would never had said that it was a plan or that it meant anything. My hairdresser who was amazed by my story (and the length of my hair) asked me what my father had to do with it, that’s when I remembered how he’d tease  and cajole me about cutting my hair. He’d give me one of those, why aren’t you beautiful, looks that only a father can impart. My relationship with him was difficult, painful, scary but his death was annihilating. Part of me felt maybe he deserved so much pain and suffering and it was not my business to interfere but the bigger part of me would have done anything to make his agony stop. Who was in more pain, him or I? A friend told me I was enmeshed, which was expected since I had not gone through years of therapy to heal from my past. Whatever.

I remember (now) that his wife (not my Mom) kept having her hair done, short, of course, in beautiful styles and gorgeous color while my father wasted away in a care center that ought to have been condemned.  I’d look at her hair and want to scream.

Yesterday Britta cut it. Her arms couldn’t reach to the ends but she didn’t complain. Oh, it’s still long and still gray but I can wear it down now.