Thursday, December 10, 2009

When Wanda was little

When I was little, my mother would not let me cut my hair.  She wanted a little girl who's hair she could braid and put pretty ribbons in.   She would parade me around like I was a doll.  I can't recall what I looked like to my mothers high society friends, but when I look at pictures, I imagine I am Sacagewea visiting the Old World.  The faces of my childhood looked nothing like mine, yet I didn't feel different.  One year I even dressed in some faux suede fringy dress, that was the rage at the time, for school pictures, by hair in tiny braids on either side of my head.  What was I thinking?   Did I not know I was indian?  Was I taking a stance?  For which side I'm not sure, but a stance all the same.   Did this long hair make me more indian and I didn't know it?   I did eventually cut my hair.  I walked into the hair dressers alone, my mother couldn't bare the horror of a lifetimes worth hair being chopped in one fell swoop.  Andrea, my family stylist, asked me several times before she actually did it.   I assured her that yes, this is what I wanted as I showed her the photo of some hair model I had found "hair catalogue" that salons carry.  I was 12, how was I supposed to know that I had an odd shaped head, and that hair is not supposed to go that short.  Regardless, she braided my hair in a long braid that almost reached my lower back.  She tied it nicely with a bow, and asked one last time if I was sure.  I nodded and she began to chop through my massive braid.  Once done, she handed it to me.  I didn't cry, I just placed it in my lap, content the did was done.
I watched as Andrea combed my now ear length hair.

 When I got home, I rolled it into a tight coil and placed in a ziplock bag.  Every day for the rest of the school year, I carried that piece of me around.