Unicorn Hair
by Amanda Young

They say a woman drastically changes her hair during momentous points in life. In the 10 years I’ve dyed, fried, and sliced my mane, I was never happy with its straight brown plainness. I wanted my hair to externally represent my soul, a prismatic unicorn inside me that never matched the outside. That is, until life gave me one hell of a momentous event.

When I was a girl, my mother made me her little Rapunzel. She styled my hair any way she pleased with no mutiny from me. It was a point of pride for her to watch a head of thick, straight hair grow and grow as I grew into a young woman. It wasn’t until my rebellious teenage years that I took back control.

This began what felt like an unending cycle. I took risks with my hair — subtle changes in color at first, and she shamed me for my decisions. I focused so much on expressing myself that I caused another rift in my mother’s deepening estrangement from our family. My mother ultimately separated from the family, and I had no idea how to live without her.

So, I reinvented my hair. Feeling the scissors on my neck and the dye on scalp gave me the same adrenaline-fueled excitement it always had. This time the results made me feel wild and free. It wasn’t because I didn’t have to see my mother’s disappointed gaze at my short, spiked haircut dyed a vibrant violet and turquoise. I had never felt more “me” before in my life. The unicorn inside me broke free from the bridles of shame and ran free. I could be me in any color or style and no one’s opinion would stop me.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: The Hair Inspiration — Taken in 2013 at Trinity College, Dublin.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Amanda Young is a recent graduate of Carlow University’s M.F.A. Creative Writing Program in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She began writing detective fiction as an undergrad, and continues to write various genres in hopes of publishing in the future. She currently works in customer service, but her writing journey is frequently updated on her blog  thespottedwriter. Amanda’s sources of inspiration come from authors such as Stephen King, Alice Hoffman, and Anne Bishop. She hopes that others can find a piece of themselves when reading her works as she has found herself while writing them.