At their most basic, these photographs represent my morning ritual during my first year of teaching in a public West Baltimore elementary school. I wore my hair the same way every single day I taught—coiled in a bun, secured by two clips. This beginning was really my one constant, my battle armor against the uncertainties of the day that lay ahead, a way of taking control and gaining power over what I could.
Inevitably, though, this beginning led to an ending. The hair I had methodically pulled back had slipped and fallen throughout the day, leaving a mess that was barely in place. This hairstyle was unsustainable, yet I continued to pursue it with futility. I consciously wanted to control this constant aspect of my appearance, simultaneously knowing that it was impossible to truly do so.
On a broader scale, I think of this work as a reflection of my first year teaching—another first—and the contradictions of this time. Never before had I so completely and continually failed at something I put my efforts towards, so the repetitive failure symbolized by my fallen hair is yet another form of firsts.