Sunday, January 5, 2014

Shaving My Head, Dying My Hair, Part 2

Day 5 of Fun-a-Day: the ArtClash Collective's amazing art-piece a day commitment for the month of January. I chose blog-a-day.

Yesterday I wrote about the freedom to express myself outside of work that led to my shaving and dying my hair in June. When I got to Vermont, I thought I would stop it, settle into life and the important work at hand. 

I also was worried about what hair dying might do to the baby growing inside me. Though we didn't quite plan it, I got pregnant while on the road. We didn't not plan it, either. We have been wanting to have another child for about a year, and the stressors of leaving work and travel made it seem impossible. But, somewhere between PA and NY, via Woods Hole, MA, the next one got hatched, and we moved to Vermont with the plan of growing this baby, this farm, this family and community, together. It was exciting and terrifying. Another mouth to feed, another letting go of any control of body or hormone or anything at all. It's own revolution.

It's a big deal, being pregnant and having a child. It changed my life, and will continue to as I parent

And so, a month passes, and I'm nearing the end of my first trimester. I find a more than competent midwife, and go in for an initial appointment. We don't check the baby's heartbeat, because I am doing so well and having all the requisite nausea, smell sensitivity, fatigue, and moodiness. 

The next week, I start spotting. This also happened with my first pregnancy, so I was not too worried. But I went in to the midwife anyway. She couldn't find a heartbeat. 

The next three days were full of ultrasounds and appointments, and at the end of it, I had a D and C procedure because I had a missed miscarriage. The baby didn't make it past week 8. I didn't find out until week 13. 

via youwall
We wanted to bury the baby on our land. The week after the procedure, I went and got my head shaved and bleached, and then came home for the burial. We walked out to the woods, and buried her under a yellowing tree. 

I made a film about it, for the Sloppy Film Fest, and it seemed to help make it more real. I've been  living into this reality ever since. I've written about it, cried, walked, jogged, slept, hid out, screamed, had anxiety fits, cried some more, laughed, remembered, mourned.

And some of that mourning has been embracing dying my hair and shaving my head. For me, the color of my hair is a yes to my life, my wholeness. For me, shaving my head helps me feel free of the constraints of femininity that can feel so affronted by this loss. I am able to hold onto my self-determination, and this feels really important as I also hold onto the powerlessness and unknowableness of this reality. 

So that's my story.  My hair, my looks, all of me, are more truly about me than any other time of my life. This feels like a real success, as a feminist and a person who values freedom and self-determination so much. The loss of this pregnancy sits in the middle of my hair, and is nurtured and caressed and loved through green and blue and purple strands, sitting atop my head. Maybe it won't matter so much, in time. But until then, I dye, I shave (and bought a great clipper set, too!), I live as I imagine myself to be-- free and easy on a colorful wave of light. 


  1. Thanks for writing this out for all, and for being colorful you.
    When you visit we can talk miss carriage. Love to all...

  2. Awwww, I am SO sorry. This adds a layer to the let-go-and-goodbye piece of our solstice gathering! Sympathies.

  3. Dear Victoria, Thank you for your testimony/story/witness. You inspire me to be more and more myself and to be ok when it's hard to know what is myself and even if I do know, to be it. I enjoy your writing and filmmaking. Keep it up!
    hugs, christopher