I went to the salon today and had my hair done. I realized how grateful I am to be able to indulge in this way. I love that feeling of walking in with a day old dirty hair, roots grown out and split ends to walking out feeling like a whole new person ready to conquer the days’ battles. I don’t think this stems from vanity as much as being able to have a control of your being. Let me explain hair in prison.
I was a bleach blonde before I was incarcerated. I assumed there would be no hair bleaching options so I decided to go back to my natural color of brown before I took my plea. I did not want to be trapped in prison with 6″ roots. Go figure! I was in jail awaiting sentencing when a couple inmates commented that my hair was turning green. There were no mirrors in jail so i remember trying to pull my shoulder length hair around my head to see the strands myself. I thought it looked like a deep olive green but then blew it off thinking it was the bad lighting. That was until my first visit from my family and my six year old daughter claimed my hair had turned green. I can now laugh at this situation but at the time, I was devastated. I was going to prison with green hair and there wasn’t a thing I could do about it.
I arrived at prison and was told the rules on hair:
1. Upon admittance to prison hair is searched for any hidden items. All extensions, braids were removed. (The only person I saw that was above this rule was a mother of a famous basketball player) She walked around with braided extensions to the middle of her back.
2. Hair longer than the collar bone had to be pulled back into a single ponytail. They supplied you with one black hair tie.
3. Ears had to be exposed at all times.
I wanted to cut my hair and realized I would have to wait to be secured on a permanent yard. Once I was admitted to Lumley (High Security Yard) I was enlightened to the fact that we had no barber. There was a inmate barber who cut the guards hair in a small room next the visitation building. She used to own a high end salon in Scottsdale and was accused of killing and dismembering her husband. She was allowed scissors right next to the guards heads. Never understood that one.
The inmates, I, had to cut our hair with toe nail clippers. Yes, strand by strand my hair was finally cut into a cute bob that I didn’t have to put in a ponytail and rid most of the green from my hair. I felt a little more human at that point.
The other hair care options were to move to a lower security yard. There was an inmate barber that was given an electric shaver to trim hair. It was amazing what these women could do with this tool to make a decent cut. There was the final option of waiting for the Breast Cancer Awareness stylists to come annually. An inmate could donate there hair and have a real haircut. I found it amazing how many women donated their locks with no hesitation. Even though, in may instances it was their only possession.
I joke a lot about the fact that “at least I came home with long hair”, “That I got something from my stay”. but the truth is…I feel grateful for the small things like having my hair shampooed by someone else.