Wednesday, July 16, 2008

After My Cousin's Work Was Done--My Hair Cut


Well, I've been praying and considering for the past year, whether or not to cut my hair back to it's length before I was a Christian. I started growing my hair out as a cultural symbol of my Shawnee ethnic heritage, and also as a symbol of my faith in Christ. My ancestors used to grow their hair long as a symbol of freedom, and since Christ set me free from my sinful life, I felt it appropriate to grow my hair to honor my ancestral traditions and celebrate what God has done.

At the same time, my ancestors would often cut their hair as a symbol of mourning and honoring those who had past out of this life into the afterlife. When my mom died last June, I cut my hair significantly to honor/mourn her. As the anniversary of her death approached, I felt like I should have it cut the rest of the way down. My life, and the lives of my family will not be the same with out her. In my spirit, and after much prayer, I feel cutting my hair short was an extremely appropriate gesture.

Beyond this, since the resignation of my chieftainship, which you can read about here, I have been mourning and broken-hearted over the state of my tribe. I could write with profundity about the deep, rich symbolic nature of a Shawnee man cutting his hair, but I believe these few words will suffice.

People who knew me before I was a Christian, will probably vaguely remember me looking this way. People who meet me from now on will probably not know about this story. And many who know me now probably won't get it either. C'est la vie, I guess. Truth is there are stories we all carry that very few people are privy to.

Will I grow it long again? I don't know, I imagine it will be short for quite some time, but one never really knows what will happen in this life. I spent fourteen years of my life with long hair.

For those of you conscientious people who are wondering--the answer is yes--I did donate my hair to locks of love.

And for those of you who have seen me, and have been wondering--as so many non-native people do, "What's up with the haircut?"--now you know . . .

6 comments:

BigMama said...

My dd just cut her hair yesterday to donate to Locks of Love. Thanks for doing that too! (From someone who dyes her hair too much to donate!)

Nathan & Sarah said...

It looks good Billy! I guess it is the first time I've ever seen you with a really short cut other than your driver's license. I just cut mine off two weeks ago. Can't wait to see it in person sometime.

young wife&mom said...

i winnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn!!

Michaelanne said...

wow... i'm shocked!

Lauren said...

Ha-ha! Crazy!!! I love it!!!!

Meghan Baird said...

I wondered when you would do this. There's no better reason than for your mama. My Dad had been growing his hair out since I left as a lamp until I come home. Now that I'm home, he's still not cutting it. Its longer than all three of us girls in the family.