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Relinquishing Rapunzel

We’ve all been there before. Post bad haircut, second-guessing our decision to be brave, and waiting for it to grow out with painstaking regret..and a new hat.

It’s only hair, right?

It will grow back, right?

I get that, I really do. But in order to understand why it’s so much more than that, you have to also understand what it represents, what it symbolizes, and why losing it and letting it go are two totally different things.

Long hair in literature is well documented as a sign of importance for various reasons. Samson’s hair was the root of his virility and strength. Lady Godiva would not have been half as memorable without her trademark long tresses. And of course there was Rapunzel.

But what about Rapunzel?

How would she have ever been rescued from the tower without her long flowing locks to aid in her liberation? She probably could have freed herself by chopping off her braid and using it mount a daring escape… but that’s not how the story goes. Actually, that’s not how any of the stories went when I was growing up.

Barbie had her Ken, Sleeping Beauty needed the Prince’s kiss to awaken her, Cinderella waited for Prince Charming to scoop her up out of abject servitude, and Snow White relied on the Seven Dwarves to protect her from the wrath of the jealous evil Queen.

But I always felt a little bit more like “Snow Off-White” in my early 20’s. I was the designated good natured chubby friend that was relegated to entertaining the awkward third wheel friend of the cute guy that was flirting with my gorgeous Malibu Barbie roommate. Making tedious conversation to pass the time, sipping wine coolers until she was ready for me to drive her home. Sadly, back then, the only (real life) Seven Dwarves that I ever encountered were Itchy, Scratchy, Burpie, Sleazy, Humpy, Gropey, and Prick.

I grew up envying Farrah Fawcett’s long feathery locks, the perfect coiffes of Charlie’s Angels, and Christie Brinkley’s flowing mane. Not to mention every Whitesnake video featuring a wild haired token beauty with her lustrous tendrils blowing in the wind in hair band  slo-mo. Even Daryl Hannah in Splash, with her shock of blonde Mermaid hair adornment bewitched and beguiled me.

I wanted Mermaid hair.

I wanted what I never had.  Continue reading Relinquishing Rapunzel

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