Ruth’s first act of rebellion is an eyebrow piercing, a simple thing, silver, not actually interesting enough to call attention to her person.
Still: It marks the beginning of a new chapter of her life, in which her body is her own, no longer monitored by strangers and relatives, and her decisions don’t need to be put through a vote.
She remembers her mother vetoing a shorter haircut, her own hair in a frizzy ponytail, a wiry hand on Ruth’s shoulder. “Oh love, you know the audience knows you by your mop of hair, we’ll lose money if you cut it! Mr. Althoff would definitely lose it if you were to cut it all off. Why not try something more gradual? Let them get used to it slowly.”
Ruth had gone through a year of increasingly shorter haircuts before she’d gotten the length she’d wanted. Life as a circus artist makes for one weird mix of extremely slow and incredibly fast changes. Ruth can’t say she misses it.