Post by Thandie.
This is about hair and healing. If you’re featuring kinks you’ll acknowledge that the two often go together. We’ve already devoted many pages to the theme here at ThandieKay – and doubtless there’ll be many more to come.
I went to an all-girls boarding school between the ages of 12 and 18. We wore a tidy uniform, and the hair discipline was similarly straightforward. Especially the ‘straight’ part. I was a dance student and half of every week day was spent throwing down shapes, so my hair was pulled back in a bun or braid. The weekend was where we got to express ourselves with clothes, hair and make up. It was showtime. And the parade took place in the dining hall. Lunchtime in the canteen we’d watch from tables as girls rounded the corner to select their plates, while revealing who they really were.
It was always more delicious than the food. Dozens of revelations – “Did you see so and so’s OUTFIT! So and so looks fierce with eyeliner! So and so kills a JEAN!”
I was very shy about my appearance (Anika and I talked about hair issues growing up in a previous Post here). But finally at about 13 I braved the canteen with my loose hair.
I don’t think I’d ever seen another person with big bushy hair; only me. Subsequently, wearing it free put me in a profoundly fragile space. I guess I thought I was safe in my boarding school environment.
As I walked self-consciously along, selecting food items, the matron on duty – Miss O’Donohue – saw me and commented loudly “Thandie Newton, you look like a WITCH!” I felt as though I’d been slapped in the face. The room went silent. I was surrounded by a sea of eyeballs. The humiliation was intense.
I didn’t have the self esteem to deflect the easy attack, instead I took the comment and internalised it. I had made a stupid mistake – my hair was a catastrophe, and I should have known better. No more bushy hair for me.
Until about a year ago. Accidentally, and exhaustedly, after having our 3rd baby, I found that keeping my curly hair curly was one task too many. Even hair washing was an alien concept. The most I could manage was scooping my barnet up into a scarf, or a tie. Until one day, without thinking, I took a brush to it (I know – a brush!) … And magically there it was – a wild mane of glorious fuzz.
And, it was everything I’d understood to be wrong.
If you’ve got curls you want them articulated and defined – NOT brushed into a botch of follicle fuzz.
And yet here I was questioning, why? My halo of brown was ROCKING – it was huge, and amAZing! It’s also what happened to my eldest daughter’s hair when it was loose – and she loved it. So too my youngest who would actually ASK for her hair to be loose, so she could enjoy her “curly cushion” as she called it.
I’ve never felt more gorgeous in my life, nor more intensely me. In fact, I’ve been wearing my hair frizzy for 6 months or so – it’s my current favourite style option. I feel strong, beautiful, fuzzy and free.
and something which is no longer taboo. Talking of taboos, let’s go back to Miss O’Donohue – the woman who helped me lock up Rapunzel for all those years. How do I feel about her comment now, or her? Well, who knows her motivation for saying such a thing – and I feel compassion for her; choosing to hurt a young woman. How sad to be the bringer of shame and distrust. She died soon after – no husband, no children and a 40 a day cigarette habit as her only friend. Who knows what sadness darkened her journey to that point.
So to her memory I say “The fear that caused you to recoil from me is no longer present in my body; the buck stopped with me. The world is a better place Miss O’Donohue – if you were here I’d help you, and we’d encourage the damaged child inside of you to come out and play”.
Funnily enough, I was talking to my dear friend Eve Ensler recently, about witches – Joan of Arc, and all those girls burnt at the stake. Bold, uncompromising women; feared by the status quo for revealing the wild magic of the unknown universe. Sounds like the woman I’m striving to be. So, thanks for the compliment – I’m proud to be a witch.