The buzzing of the electric shaver rattled my skull as I apprehensively laughed at Sofie, while she guided it along my scalp. I wasn’t nervous because a long strip of hair in the middle of my skull was missing, but because of my sister’s maniacal laughing and snorting as she did it – and how her laughter shook her arm.
I got a fresh haircut but impulsively decided I didn’t fancy it and made the snap decision to shave my head. I always wanted to participate in Shave for a Cure, but I hadn’t decided when. Until about ten seconds ago. I laughed, reminiscing when Sofa saw my short ginger haircut; she said I looked like a rip-off Finneas O’Connell except with slightly shorter and straighter bangs and without the good-looking stubble.
I imagined myself with stubble as I gazed into the mirror. I would be a good-looking man, I thought.
I’d have been lying if I said my mum’s abrupt appearance by my side didn’t scare the shit out of me, albeit briefly. She observed in silence and with a burgeoning smile as my sister began shaving an undercut, leaving triangle wedges of hair on top of my skull.
“You look beautiful.”
“Holy fuck, look!”
“Language, Chelsea.” Ma rolled her eyes as I gaped wide-eyed at my phone. My second ever publication Churchyard—a suite of poetry—was released in ScratchThat’s ninth Issue. “What is it about?” Ma asked.
“Uh…” I stared at the titles of the poems, Machine and Hate Lives On, “it’s about… being different, and… people not accepting it.”
Ma hummed absentmindedly.
I tried to ignore the twisting and jolt of pain in my stomach as I saw the name it was published under – Chelsea (Eurielle) Glenn.
I was good at being a contrarian. In fact, I’d like to fancy myself as the King of Contradictions.
This is the part when I set the scene. I was a potbellied babe born with a condition called jaundice, which in simple terms, meant that I came out of the womb rocking a beach-baby tan. I also had tufts of blonde hair, and as such, I was born the idealised Gold Coast Australian beauty. However, it didn’t last long.
As I grew older, my blonde hair turned brown, my brown skin turned white. With each year, I appeared to be getting progressively paler and paler.
At eleven my hair was dyed blonde, and Ma began to insist I get spray tans.
I always looked like a raccoon. The tan never adhered to the skin near my eyes and neck, and I was left with a blotchy brown and stark white contrast. But that outcome was better than turning orange. That happened a few times.
I found myself scrolling Pinterest. I had a handful a boards – one filled with Game of Thrones memes, another with Percy Jackson memes, and of course, who could forget the Supernatural board which, to this day, hoards 3,395 memes.
Okay scratch that, my OCD couldn’t allow it. 3,400 memes.
But the meme-boards were just the beginning. I had boards titled: Could be Me, Creative Clothing, Short Hair, Bangs, Cut. The longer my hair grew, the more the contrarian in me wanted to cut it all off, and the more Australian beauty standards wanted me to tan, the more I wanted to be transparent.
Being olive tones were all the rage. Fuck that, I thought. I wanna be a ghost.
But… long hair looked kinda cool. I suppose. A part of me wanted that as well.
For the longest time I couldn’t tell if I was just being contrarian to be contrarian, or if I really wanted these different things. It wasn’t until I defied the standards put upon me through my family, the modelling and acting industry, and Australian society, that I realised I did want this. I wasn’t contradicting myself. I could have long and short hair at the same time! And so, I took the plunge.
I loved my reverse mullet. It was a short bob at the back, and long at the front. I enjoyed braiding the front, and my short fringe was low maintenance. It struck a perfect balance for me.
I continued to get published under the name Chelsea (Eurielle) Glenn, until I got sick of it. Chelsea was too… well, Chelsea. I didn’t know why I disliked it – I just did. My parents didn’t understand, and they disliked my thoughts of changing it. Chelsea just didn’t fit me, so when I discovered the name Eurielle I went with it and ran. But something still felt off. It was too… cute. Too feminine. It also didn’t help that my parents pointed out it sounded like urinal.
So… Euri it is.
My hair has grown out now. I have the typical bob with straight bangs. The only real reason it hasn’t been cut yet is because I’m too absentminded and indecisive. My inability to choose what I want—and considering the varying pressures in my life—has left me at a standstill. But I don’t mind. Sometimes it’s good to slow down, and let things be.
I told my family they could still call me Chelsea; it didn’t bother me as much as I thought it might.
Yesterday, my parents gifted my sister and I a notebook each. I looked at Sofie’s – it had a golden S on the front.
I picked up mine.
It had an E.
Euri Glenn is a Jambreen/Tamborine Mountain-based writer, and a third-year Creative Writing student at QUT who is currently working on a novel based in a post-apocalyptic Gold Coast Hinterland. She aims to tell stories with emotional depth and intrigue, and tell stories that speak on present issues around the world—whether social or political—in multiple art forms. In every story, she seeks to inspire change for the better of the world and the creatures who dwell within it. You can find her work in ScratchThat’s 9th, 10th, 11th and 12th Issues, QUT Glass’ 14th Issue and @euri.chelsea.glenn on Instagram.