a bang up job

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a bang up job

One of my clearest childhood memories is when, at age five, fueled by the injustice of not being able to do what I wanted with my hair, I took a pair of my mom’s sewing scissors, crawled under the dining room table, and cut my own bangs.

As a kid, my large forehead and skinny legs were my most prominent features. They drew a lot of comments from kids and adults alike. I was powerless to do anything about my legs, but I desperately wanted to hide my forehead from public scrutiny. Yet Mom she kept saying no to bangs.


All those people who made comments about my big forehead? They weren’t liars.

Well, a couple of unsupervised minutes is all it took to win that argument. I got scolded, but it was a small price to pay. I felt victorious. I thought I did a bang up job, whatever that meant.


I won the bang argument by force, but wardrobe would be a battleground for years to come.

This isn’t an accurate picture of the results – it taken months after my self styling. Somewhere, I don’t know where, there is a picture of what I really did to my bangs and it isn’t pretty. The fringe was as short as an inch in places.

So, there was an ugly growing out stage. Big deal, I told myself earlier this week as I prepared to cut my own hair once again. It is just hair. It will grow.

I haven’t found a stylist I like since moving to California. It is an easy problem to solve if you’ve got plenty of money to throw at the problem. But that’s not my current situation. The bang I’ve received for my hard-earned buck has been hugely disappointing. so once again, I took matters into my own hands.

Luckily, now there is this thing called the internet. Oh, and mirrors. I didn’t have to hide under the table this time around! I watched a couple YouTube videos, gathered my hair in a high ponytail as instructed, and trimmed the ends. Not bad! I was kind of impressed with myself. Which is how I crossed the dangerous line from just trimming my shoulder-length tresses to creating bangs. Bad move.

I was rather calm after my first hack attempt. I just took a deep breath and turned to back Google. Kept cutting. Small cuts. Snip, snip. Assess the damage. Snip, snip some more.

Cutting hair is just like editing. Earlier this month I was in the audience at Dime Stories, where authors have just three minutes to read a complete story. One writer had her laptop open, and kept stealthily cutting words from her essay between readers until her name was called. She’s obviously an experienced writer. She was able to choose which strands belonged, and which were strays that wouldn’t be missed, with relative speed and ease. I admired her focus, and the resulting story.

I’m not an experienced hair cutter. It took time for me to choose which strands to cut. Which way to angle the scissors. Which of the many, many tutorials might actually help me create the results I wanted.

My haircut was messy. It was time consuming. Anxiety producing. There were several points where I thought I’d gone too far and there was no hope of redemption.

But I kept cutting. And while I might not have “the perfect side-swept bangs” as advertised, I’m happier with the results than I have been with my last five professional haircuts.

I just had to keep hacking.


edit: a mixed-media art piece I made from copper, brass and aluminum.

Here’s a link to the Costa Mesa chapter of  Dime Stories


1 Comment

  1. Candi
    July 23, 2015

    Oh this is good!!


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