Contributions by other people

Allison Mackenzie Fredericks, England

I remember my friends having long wavy hair at school, I was always so jealous. All during childhood my mother wouldn't allow it to grow beyond the height of my collar. One night I rebelled and cut my fringe completely off the day before class pictures, I was never forgiven for that. I cut my own hair now - I control the way it looks, the layers, the colour, the length. Every April I swear I will grow it and each June it gets cut back again. It has been red, blue, its natural blah brown and now black - but always short.

I don't like going to salons. It's an intimate thing to cut your hair, I like when they wash it but not sever it and steal it away. My hair stays with me.

Every now and then it will rebel and start to fall out (nothing drastic, just more than normal). It will look healthy and feel soft, but still it falls, like leaves from a tree each autumn. I believe my hair is having a rebirth so I treat it to something new - deep conditioning oils, new style or new clip to keep it out of my face.

It needs a trim now. Each time I cut I see the small black wisps floating to the ground. I collect it to put it in my handmade paper, stick it to my drawings or just to feel it in my hands soft yet prickly. Sometimes I imagine myself Samson and Delilah, one in the same - I cut my strength, yet with a short no-nonsense hair cut I feel stronger and harder. I am treated as a 'kid with an attitude,' but that's okay - I am one. Yet when it is longer, enough to blow in the breeze it feels good to have it move on my head and people joke with it being "so long." This is shoulder length - which is a hippie for me.

I am now known as 'the Allison with black hair.' I always wonder what this says about them that they can't find something else to identify me with. Perhaps it is that streaking. I just like the drastic contrast between blue/black hair and white skin with steel blue eyes looking at you (I did warn you about the attitude). My hair has always been a dilemma - to cut or not to cut, to dye or not to dye, to grow or not to grow. So now it's growing just enough for a tiny ponytail - this, I can be rest assured, will not last long.