I’m going to talk about my hair. It might not seem like it at first glance, but I believe the state of my hair is all tied up with the state of my work.
A while back, I talked about my haircut.
I used to have lots of hair, really, lots, in a big curly mass. People described me by describing my hair. All my life, my hair had been part of who I was.
I was hiding behind all my hair.
During the last year, as I rebelled against my job, I have had increasingly severe haircuts, and up till very recently, it’s been really short. It is also most of the time, grey.
I’m not earning much at the moment, so my hair has had to wait. If my hair is shoulder length and curly and grey that’s ok. If it is really short and spikier and grey, that’s ok…. but grown-out short hair that’s grey, somehow, makes me look like a much older woman, from a different time… think about your mum or your grandma with a shampoo and set. Not right at all. So I dyed it whilst waiting for the money to get it cut. Mistake. Having dyed my hair for years when younger, recently I had got used to the grey, or the grey with bits of colour put in professionally. I hate the brown dye now. I feel like a traitor.
I am making work about middle aged women (I’m 53).
I am making work about the strength of them, and the way their lives are sandwiched between generations that they care for over themselves. I am making a stand in my work about these women. Dyeing my hair myself this horrible cheap flat brown I think makes me more invisible. I feel like I am hiding under it again. I am washing it furiously every day to get rid of it as quickly as possible. I am waiting for my next lump of pay to land on the doormat so I can make an appointment to get it cut (I love my hairdresser Tina she’s full of art, and really gets what I’m about, and never once asks me what I’m doing at the weekend or where I’m going on my holidays http://www.birminghampost.co.uk/lifestyle/birmingham-hair-salon-coustis-turned-7099188 ). Then I will feel like myself again. I will feel like I am presenting myself properly, not hiding behind my hair and the dye. I feel it closely allied to my work that the hair feels like it’s mine. I want short grey hair, possibly with some blonde bits in if I’m feeling adventurous… embellishing it, not hiding it. I feel I am worth it… no… really…. I am worth it. I am worth the cost of new underwear. I am worth the cost of a bloody good haircut and some highlights. I am unashamedly middle aged.
The women I represent in my work… the embroidered bras, the songs…. they are worth the effort too.
Edited to add: Cheque landed, appointment made, haircut Tuesday.