shedding

a haircut is more than a hair cut.
more than hundreds or thousands of hairs cut.
it’s letting go of more-than-i-care-to-remember all-nighters to meet journal deadlines;
removing from my immediate memory nervousness and anxieties, frustrations and uncertainties (well, some of them anyway);
shaking off once-thought-inexcusable slights and misdirected injustices,
hours of line-by-line edits of students’ dissertation proposals and chapters (only to have them start “fresh” thereby rendering your time, effectively, a waste! … but you learned something: to say no more often and to notice the warning signs of wayward students earlier);
it is the sloughing off of the tough skin, built up to bounce back more resilient following rejections, negative feedback, cricket-like silence following conference presentations (and sometimes the presentations to your immediate colleagues, whose looks of confusion may never quite go away);
it is the stripping away of layers tension that has been shellacked onto each muscle as the gym and the outdoors become your friend again — and a series of massages doesn’t hurt, either.

no, a haircut is more than just a few hairs cut.
a haircut is shedding of the loveliest sort.

and now we begin to grow again — fresh, hopeful, with skin so tender it hurts.

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