top of page


It sounds a little mundane, but I want to try to turn a few moments at the barber into something significant. I cut my hair short, which was a complete shock to my mom. Rooted in tradition, I realized that she feared me. She feared that I looked like a boy, that I looked "queer." Something irrevocably changed, and it goes beyond hair. This piece will describe that moment before the snips, and what they mean for my relationship with my mom.

Amma doesn’t look at me the same way.

She used to love my hair.

It was long


It used to curl a little at the end and form little waves

It was deep and dark, almost a perfect black

And she would oil it to make it even richer

weaving Love and Tradition

Into my hair.

Now that’s dead.

Last Saturday, I was determined.

Nothing could stop me

Because that hair

That hair she loved

I loathed.

While she saw waves,

I felt weight.

A weight on my back

A weight, omnipresent

A weight within myself.

It was like a little seed

Planted in my brain, I don’t know when

But I had cared for it

Watered it

Let it grow.

Its roots

Permeating my thoughts.

It was persistent.

It became a passion.

A poison.


I had ignored it.

I was scared of it.

What it said about me.

What it changed about me.

And what it would expose

About me.

Because now, my hair speaks volumes.

I see their eyes

Their realization

Their recognition of that seed

That shame, seared deep within myself

Scarred my family.

Amma is now careful around me.

Our conversations are fragile.

They stretch and bend

Twist and twine

Are careful to not touch

Anything that would collapse.

Beneath them,

Embedded in them

Hiding in them,

Is a fear both of us have.

They dangle

They are a measure

Of the person I have become

And the person she has lost.

We both don’t know how to escape

From the superficiality.

We are both lost.

I thought cutting my hair would be liberating

It was.

But now that weight consumes her

And so, it consumes me.

Editor: Cydney V., Joyce S., Charlotte C.

bottom of page