As long as I can remember I’ve had long hair. Since I was just a kid. It’s gone through various cuts and styles as well. There have been a few times where I’ve gotten tired of it and chopped it all off only to immediately regret my decision seconds after it happened. It’s been dyed and mutilated and cut unevenly and tangled and destroyed by various products, but it’s still here. It’s still holding on to my head for dear life, afraid that one day I’ll slice it all off again.
I thought about it the other day. I was just talking to some people, voicing an idea that I chop all of my hair off and keep it short because I’ve had long hair for so long now that it just kind of became a part of me and I want to shake things up. That being said, a few days after I had been talking about it there was a real fear that I might need to find a new job. Since I’m a man who works in food service, it’s pretty frowned upon to have long hair like I do. It makes it harder to get a job because long hair is easier to detect in your food should it fall out and land on a plate. Among that and a handful of other health reasons we aren’t supposed to have long hair in a kitchen and most places don’t let their front of house employees have long hair on the floor either.
So this led me to thinking I really should chop it off to make it easier to get a job. After a day or so of thinking about it, I tossed that idea out the window. My hair is who I am. It is what people have used to identify me since I was in the third grade. It hasn’t changed, despite how much my life has. As petty as it sounds, my hair is the thing that reminds me to keep writing, to keep designing, to keep working every day. Because it is symbolic of me. It’s my grounding in life. It’s the thing that reminds me that I’m still here. I’m still very much alive and that means that I have work to do yet.
In short, if I were to cut my hair, it would be like me giving up. Just throwing in the towel and not fighting against the pressures of life anymore. It’s who I am and it has become a symbol of me. Everyone I’m friends with knows me by my hair. It’s special to me. I can’t cut it, because if I cut it, I give up.
I think we all have something like my hair in our own lives. Some small thing that we hold on to because we just can’t bear to give it up. Maybe it’s a habit you have. A cup of coffee in the morning, a candy bar before bed. A certain passage in a book that you read every day. A necklace you wear to remind you that your friends are there and that they care deeply for you. Whatever it is…
If you’re thinking of abandoning it, don’t. Those things ground us. They keep us in this world. If it’s healthy for you, keep it around. It won’t kill you to have an extra cup of coffee or a candy bar. It’s going to be hard for a necklace chain to kill you. It’s going to be hard for hair to stop me, so let’s keep those things close by…
So that we can always be reminded to keep fighting. Get up every day and cleave a new mark in your world. A good mark. One that it littered with happiness and laughing and love. Don’t let anyone cut your hair. It’s your source of strength on the hard days. It’s what you’re known for. It is a small piece of you that punctuates your existence. You need that identity, that strength, every day.
So let down your hair, grab a jawbone and start ripping through the things that frighten you. No matter how ferocious they might look on the outside… They are nothing compared to you.
You are wonderful. You are powerful. You have the soul of a genie and you will conquer everything in front of you, I’m positive. Don’t give up the things that make you feel safe and happy. Don’t go down without a fight.