In olden days African hairstyles worked as indicators for a person’s rank, age class, ethnic group or marital status. When I still had hair, I had my very own hair semiology: one hairstyle = one role.
Afro: Angela Davis: free, rebel and disalienated
French pleat: the businesswoman –determined and successful
Ballerina bun: the classical dancer: romantic and dreamy
Ponytail: the jogger – active, but easygoing
Braids: the Congolese – back to the roots
Updo: the 50’s jazz singer –elegant and feminine
High front bun: the teacher – having a natural authority (or at least I hope so. I wore it to impress my students…)
I didn’t care that I had never jogged in my life, the simple fact of wearing a ponytail in the morning made me feel more energetic and gave me the illusion that I potentially could be the next marathon winner. But chemo suddenly ended this “autosuggestion-by-hairstyles”-method. Being bold, I can only play one single role: the one of the cancer patient: sick and weak. (well, and the one of the neo-nazi, but I don’t think my skin tone would fit…)
But that was before I discovered that eyeliners work pretty well on bald heads. Now, every time I go out in the evening, I draw flowers or abstract figures on my head. Not only are they beautiful, they also hide the fact that my hair-loss is due to chemo!