The first few years of occupation seemed to be years where everyone was discussing, attending marches, keeping the fever pitch, spreading the descent. But on the morning of the 3rd anniversary of our occupation I remember not moving in bed, just staying still and thinking about the war.

And thinking too about thinking about the war. And asking myself quite honestly if in fact I thought about the war every single day. And it seemed an honest answer to say Yes, that I did. But I was worried about the future, was worried about continuing to think, to remember the many lives my tax dollars pay to destroy.

It was that morning that I wanted to make something, just for myself, something that would remind me every single day without fail that we are a country at war. A handwritten, or painted sign could easily be gotten used to and lost in the room. So many ideas kept coming. I even considered a tattoo, but felt that that too could get lost in the routine of survival and pain of routine.

My hair. When I finally thought about my hair I knew that I had the answer. And ever since the 3rd anniversary of our American invasion of Iraq I have refused to cut my hair. Every morning I have to see it, and feel it, and wash it. It's grown beyond my shoulders, and the longer it gets the more care it needs. And I've had long hair in the past, but I didn't care for that hair like I do this hair. It's a personal metaphor to live with, this War Hair of mine. I've never spent money on conditioners like I do now. Being with this hair keeps me in check, keeps me angry, keeps me mournful, keeps me far FAR FAR from sentimentality and other stupidities, and sets me down in the middle of this breathtaking landscape of American denial.

This hair will not be cut until we are out of Iraq. And my friends keep asking what that means exactly. Does it mean when our soldiers are out? Or when the war itself is over? Or? Or peace? Or?

It would be nice to not die with it is all I can answer.

photo of CAConrad's hair by Zoe Strauss

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