By the time you realise what you feel, you end up in a kind of cycle. At first the phases are disbelieve, denial, acceptance and then rejection again, until you’ve gone through these so many times that disbelieve isn’t an option anymore and you finally land with acceptance. 
A second cycle orbits the first. That’s the cycle of longing, frustration, giving in, bliss, doubt, shame and tranquility. Actually the second cycle crosses the first. And itself. How does it work?
Early 2005, shortly after the birth of the twins, I shaved my hair with clippers for the very last time. It wasn’t unusual, but while I’m doing it I realise for the nth time that it’s not natural, my hair should be long. I’m almost 35 and I figure out that my hairline is moving upwards and I’ll get a bald spot on top of my head. Many of my male co-workers are younger than I am and have already lost more of their hair than I do. This feels as my last opportunity to learn, to experience how it is to let my hair grow long. Desire and frustration intertwine at full speed.
I announce this was the last time I used the clippers and I’ll have a proper haircut next time. At the hairdresser’s.
Nine months later I have a full funky head of hair, that would make many a modern hipster jealous.
“So, when are you going to the hairdresser’s?”
“Don’t know. Haven’t decided what style I want yet.”
“You want to grow it long?”
Maybe?! Definitely!! But being my shy self, I was again only telling part of the story. Unexpectedly getting the chance to let my hair grow long! The month that follow are months full of hair-bliss. I put in effort to take good care of it, buy a proper hairbrush, find ways to add extra volume, and fiddle with it to see if it fits in a ponytail.

On a windy day I take the bus. A woman gets on. She looks pretty windswept, and takes a seat two rows ahead of me. She realises her wild looks and takes out her hair clip, redoes her hair with her fingers and puts the clip back om. Just like that. Very simple just like that.
I’m green with envy. I want that, I should be allowed to do that. I never realised this desire, and straightaway the frustration jumps up. Giving in was never easier, I’m on my way to the station and there is a small chemist. I immediately buy three clips, and pack them safely in my bag. A second episode of the cycle can begin
The next day I find myself a quiet spot on the train and try out one of the clips. Unfortunately, my hair is still too short and the clip doesn’t hold yet. But about two months later it does. Kind of. It works with clip no 6, they don’t survive well at the bottom of my bag, a serious collection of broken bits of plastic lives there nowadays. From that day I wear a clip in my hair during the day, so also at work. On my way home I take it out, of course. Imagine. But the giving in caused a great deal of bliss, just like growing my hair longer did.
Late 2006 I have an interview for a new assignment. I realise I will make an impression with my hair clipped back, but I doubt if it is the desired impression. Also the whole charade of acting as if nothing is different at home, doing my hair on the train, and undoing it on my way home, loathes me. Opening up is not an option. One day I throw away my entire collection of hair accessories in a bin at the station. I am ashamed of my secretive behaviour, but also of my lack of determination. Not hiding things in my bag anymore brings some rest. Some time later I start to have doubts about my hairdo as well and I finally agree to go for a haircut. 
This collecting and discarding, it was an ongoing phenomenon. Hair accessories, make-up, mailpolish, shoes, I’ve bought these things so many times and thrown them away again too. On occasion only the carrying of an item with me was enough to hold on to that blissful feeling and I am convinced that I was easier to have around the house in these periods as well. Happiness can be in the smallest things.

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