Friday, 19 August 2011

Mothers, teachers, hairdressers, the doctor's, the library: fear of so many and so much. The end of the day.

There.  That's better.  Nice big writing.  

I finished the book I have been writing, today.  It's gone off for its first editorial, to the kindly (but beady-eyed) Badger.  Next it goes to Julie Faraway for perusal.  Then it goes off to the publisher on its Journey of Hope and Pitiful Optimism.

I think it's come up good, but I'm so tired and wrecked after the tossing seas of Grim Concentration Against All The Odds that it's quite hard to say.  I'll see what the Badger and Julie Faraway tell me when they've Inspected.

But peering dimly to see what was left inside after the book is all done, I felt a bit surprised to see fear.  Fear of what?  Oddly, fear of my mother coming upstairs.

Let me explain.

I have this problem with having haircuts.  Afterwards, the hairdo always looks fine, very pretty - but it looks like a hairdo still, not like a person.  It never feels like me.  And very little time elapses before I think "I don't want this", and chop off a bit here and a bit there with the sewing scissors, until it looks more normal, more hacked about and less professional; more actually me.  And that's what I did today.

Now, when I was about . . . ooh, maybe five or six . . . I decided to cut my hair.  After I cut it, I was scared.  My mother would come upstairs and see.  So I stuck it back on again with sellotape.  Funnily enough, she noticed anyway.  She was neither thrilled nor filled with admiration.

My life has lurched unsteadily from day one through this landscape of threatening looming disapproval, the OMG What Have I Done of so many inadvisable Bids For Independence and ill-judged Acts Of Self-Expression.  Though by nature timid and reclusive somehow Trouble has followed me with its Terrible Nose on the scent of my vanishing fear.  It knows.  It finds me.

I joined a library, but I forgot to take my book back and then my card went mouldy, and I never dared go back again after that.  This would be about . . . ooh . . . nineteen years ago?

I'd go to the doctor for pre-natal check-ups, and he'd look down his nose at me and say: "A little knowledge is a dangerous thing, Mrs Wilcock."  He also thought I was Very Tall.  I'm not really. Only five foot seven.  If you don't count the flamey bits and the wings.  When my first child was born, the consultant did his Grand Tour of Frank Shaw Ward saying "That's What I Call A Baby" etcetera: until he came to me.  "What did you have?" he asked.  I was polite.  I didn't say, "A baby, duh!  Dork."  I said, "A girl."
"Ah!" he said, with but the faintest hint of a sneer: "Another one to argue and fight with the doctors."  That was where he went wrong, really.  I just said: "Yes."

And teachers . . . oh, glory . . .  "You have passed the point of no return"; "Penelope's attitude has been a little more pleasant this term" - and it was all downhill from there, really . . .  

The trouble with the hair is if I ever go back.  Trembling with horror and disdain, the artiste combs into the air a skein of my scratchy wool.  "Who cut this?" the ominous questions begin:  "This looks as though it has been cut with a razor!!" (Yes.  The Badger's.)

I have left school, praise be to God on high.  I have left the library.  I guard my health like the Crown Jewels and stay as far away from the doctor's surgery as life will permit.  My mother's kindly, guiding light of disapproval reminds me I am still alive and this still must be me.  And I've blown it with the hairdresser now haven't I?  I will never dare go back.  Have to just let it grow again, I guess.

Oh!  That's better still!  You were there all the time! I can see you now!


Susanna said...

Ember - I totally empathise!!!!!! Actually, you look really lovely. Susanna xxx

Ember said...

Awww... you are such a poppet! x

Anonymous said...


I have been cutting my own hair for years. I put it in a high ponytail, hold it high in the air and cut across in a generally straight-ish line. Then, I take a wedge out of what I gather is the bang area and twist it down the middle of my face and cut a little lower than the bridge of my nose.

I have been thinking about having it cut by a real hairstylist for my 30th high school reunion. There are fears of many sorts.

Ganeida said...

You are gorgeous! ♥ And when my household complains my hair needs a trim I whip out my scissors & do it myself so that they regret saying anything. Doctors, teachers, mothers ~ all are to be avoided if at all possible when one has asserted one's indepence in novel & unorthodox ways. I'm sure these things are sent only to see how serious we were about it in the first place! lol So happy to have you back!☺ Book all done! Yay!

paula said...



(I use scissors, but then my hair is straight)

Julie B. said...

I agree with Susanna - I think you look lovely. Lovely with long hair, lovely with just-cut at the hairdresser's, and lovely after taking Tony's razor to it. It's the love and the light from within that bring the beauty - you could have hair as short as mine and you'd still look lovely. :)

Cora said...

I LOVE the new look! I hope you give the hair dresser a second chance. If you like the new 'do, then by all means keep it up!

Ember said...

Julie (butomysoul Julie, not Julie B), I am impressed by your technique. I have to have my fringe (bangs US) high up my forehead cos I can't stand hair in my eyes. It looks strange but I can see out anyway.
Ganeida - hiya - you need a rest and some treats after all your traumas of family and sea this week, not to mention fasting and deep spiritual thoughts - haven't you got any mellow and peaceful girlfriends who would take you out for coffee and cake?
Hi Paula - it's all coming out now, isn't it! Is there anyone who reads this blog who doesn't cut her own hair? This is a kind of Hirsute Independence Day!
Julie B! What are you like! You speak with the voice of a doting friend! x MS on it's way to you later today :0)
Hi Cora - I will never go back to the hairdresser unless you are there to hold my hand and speak in my defense!
Have a happy day, internet tribe! xxx

Ember said...

Oh, glory! Will you look at that! A rogue apostrophe right in the middle of an its where it shouldn't be! 'On its way', I meant, not 'on it's way'!
As plagues were to the 14th century, so are apostrophes to the 21st!

Elin said...

I learned how to cut my hair myself as a student because I could simply not stomage paying about the same as a week's worth of food for someone taking the scissors to my hair. I started with trimming the bangs and the hair on the sides (at that time I kept it shorter there than in the back) and finally I also cut in the back making a ponytail like butomysoul but I kept it low in the neck instead. When I started working I went back to hairdressers and found a great one who does wonders with my hair but now that I have chosen to grow my hair out I have yet again moved back to cutting it myself because I simply do not see the point with paying for someone to trim it.

I love your new bangs, I think they are better than the hairdresser's choice because they now look more mischievous and I think that suits you very well...

seekingmyLord said...

I have cut my hair for most of my life, including the Farrah Fawcett shag where you just pull the hair straight up and a bit forward to cut across, but when I keep it in this mid back length I have had difficulty cutting it, until...I found this method online called Feye's Method for self trimming long hair. My hair is similar to yours in that it is wavy and I like it a bit unruly, which hides any little "off" stuff, but my daughter has silky, straight hair like her father and blunt cutting her hair put the fear of my mother cutting my bangs which was never straight and then way too short. Thankfully Feye's Method worked for me cutting her hair too with a nice rounded U-shape.

I definitely feel the same about doctors also. Why does one go when they hardly ever not find something that is wrong with you, use scare tactics to make you do things "their way" much of which is scientifically unsubstantiated proproganda, send you for more tests which makes you very nervous, write you a prescription for your nervousness from the stress that they caused, and you then pay for the whole unpleasantness--one way or another! Yeah, you could say I try to stay out of that whole system as much as I can, too.

Glad to hear you finished the book. I hope there will be little found in the proofing and the rewrites, if any, will be small ones.

Janette@Janette's Sage said...

So enjoyed much like my daughter. Your lines from The Hawk and the Dove, "her rebellious hair"...I have used that term through the years...and you expanded on it today.

Enjoy your new hairdo!

Ember said...

:0) Hi ladies!

I'm so impressed by all this adventurous self-hair-cutting!


Buzzfloyd said...

I am totally impressed with the creativity and concern for the feelings of others that led you to sellotape your hair back on. If my child did that, I would think he must be a genius.

Ember said...

Hahaha! I got this the wrong way round - I wish you'd been my mother!

Donna said...

Wow, the thought of cutting my own hair is in itself as terrifying as all those doctors and things put together! But I have the kind of straight hair where every out-of-place strand shows up. Or so I think, anyway, I'm sure Buzzfloyd would tell me I'm worrying too much!
I'm also still very sore (emotionally) from a recent hair-cutting incident among my children. I cried.
If you want to go back to the hairdresser, when they venomously ask 'Who did this?' just say, 'Oh, I never go to any hairdresser but you...' and see what they say. ;-)

Ember said...

Heh heh - good idea, Donna! x

Linda said...

The teacher thing I come across a lot. My husband is a teacher that taught at the school I went to as a teenager, he is 12 years older than I am, he is well known in our hometown of 20,000. I used to visit that school in our early marriage. I have no teacher fear or whatever you call it lol.

Linda said...

I have had the straight edge cut out of my hair. I haven't been happy with how it poofs out. It has changed my personality or how I and I guess others see me, I see the lady with the poofy hair which usually has a personality with it. I am going to get it put back to straight next time, then try not to go back every six weeks, even though I vowed I would. If I do it will be for a trim, small one as they suggest, but I always think it is a waste to trim off just 1/2" of hair or whatever tiny bit they show me.

Ember said...

:0) Hi Linda! x

Rocktan said...

Cool blog!

Hairdressers Adelaide

Ember said...

:0) Thanks Rocktan! x