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Lady Ziomi gets a scalp massage from the sun. photo by Colin Danville

Lady Ziomi gets a scalp massage from the sun.
photo by Colin Danville

“It’s rare to even let you see me like this. But I guess it’s better this way. I mean, being honest is easier when you’re not in costume. That’s what those wigs are. A performance of options. I let my clients choose who they want to experience. I can be any woman there is to be. Wigs add depth to the work, let them know I’m serious about playing my role.

My mother taught me early on how to master the art of change. To adjust the eyes, mute the smile, tilt the chin; the face says it all. Mama insisted this was because in life you have to be able to adapt to ugly situations. To laugh when things break. Even if they break inside you. Mama showed me how drying your heart up with sadness never did the world a drop of good. She said it was better to dig through your rubble and salvage whatever was the root of something beautiful and run with that. A bad day is a bad day. Then there’s tomorrow.

So anyway, I don’t wear hair. I am bald all by myself. I shaved my head when a love I had long ago crumbled and I almost lost myself in the wreckage. That’s also when I became a performer of so many identities. It wasn’t planned. I sort of fell into this work. But that’s off topic. My hair, yes. My hair that I don’t have. My mother used to braid my hair when I was a little girl. Her fingers felt like prayers and secrets written on my scalp. She was the only one I let touch my hair. Until that love of mine. The one that deteriorated into what we could no longer call love. My hair, like my tears, had to be shed.

Once it was all gone, it just felt right to put my head under the sun. Its warmth was a prayer all by itself. The sun is good for offering a kind of healing touch when there’s no loving hands around. Yes, I have many clients, but none of them know how to touch me. Let alone pray.” ~~ Lady Ziomi answering the question, “How do you wear your hair?”

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Lady Ziomi was known as Lacy when she was a little girl. See her story and other characters in development in the Embodied Character collection.

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