For the past nine months I’ve been committing what feels like a subversive act: I’ve stopped dyeing my hair. There are some reasons behind my decision. The first is that while working as a high-school teacher my brain got programmed into thinking in short time compartments. When I lost three hours on a Saturday morning in the salon chair–the requisite small talk adding to my already heavy professional talking burden–and three hours of my Sunday afternoon lesson planning for the week ahead, not to mention ferrying my own children to their weekend activities and catching up on washing, there didn't seem to be enough time left over for a proper recharge. Second, early last year I watched an interesting show on Netflix called Unorthodox about a woman who escapes her cloistered community to go live in Berlin. Before she does there is a scene where, after her wedding, she engages in a ritual where the hair on her head is shaved off and replaced by a wig.
I kept meaning to post a few blogs in 2020 but… I just didn’t want to use the C-word.
In teaching, I have heard another C-word spoken often as part of ordinary teen vernacular. It pings back and forth around school like a tennis ball over a net. By the end of the first class of each week I have usually stopped being jolted by the sound of it and started to think about the term objectively, and then nonsensically. How is it that four letters arranged in a certain way have such capacity to shock? They sum up frustration and anger so succinctly, that’s why. You can use it as a noun, a verb and an adjective, and also as a teachable moment. Once, when an adolescent lobbed it across the classroom at their BFF during one of my lessons, I immediately stopped to address it.
‘Do you know what that word means?’
He didn’t, which was absolutely fantastic.