Friday, June 25, 2010


Like most women, I have a love/hate relationship with my hair. I think I always have.

The proverbial grass is always greener.

It started back when I was a little girl. Long before I should have been aware of how much hair color can influence your life, I was. I was born the sixth in a line of girl cousins. And they all had something I didn't. Sun kissed, golden blond hair.

Mine came out brown and dull. Straight as an arrow, fine and wispy. I still have those little tiny baby hairs all around my hairline. Like my hair never grew up, even now.

For as long as I can remember, I wanted what they had. I wanted to fit in. I wanted people to tell me how pretty my hair was. How pretty I was. I wanted people to know that I belonged in the family. When my grandfather died, a woman actually came up to my grandma and asked who I was. Surely I couldn't have been part of the family. Surely.

Not long after that traumatic experience, I asked my parents for a perm. What I wanted was a spiral perm. What I got was something much different, much worse. The stuff hair nightmares are made of. And I got a haircut at the same time. I closely resembled a poodle for a few months. A poodle with some brand new super dorky glasses, that is. As if I didn't have enough issues already.

Thankfully since my hair was so short, it didn't take long to grow out. When it got nice and long again, I asked for that spiral perm. The right one, this time. I got one, but realized that my hair didn't like spiral perms. It took, but only on some of the hair. What I wanted was bouncy, flowing curls. What I got was stringy occasional curls.

Sometime in high school, I started experimenting with home highlighting kits, sun-in and lemon juice. They either did nothing or turned my hair orange. Not good. Finally I managed to talk my mom into letting me get highlights done. By a real hairdresser who knew what she was doing. I needed professional help. And I got it.

By then, I'd learned to embrace my straight hair. It looked better with some highlights. And all was good for a few years. Through college, I was semi-blond. Over time, it got too expensive to maintain. And my hair slowly started to turn to straw. It couldn't handle the amount of chemicals it took to lighten it. So I gave up.

I went back to plain old brown. By then, I was attempting to get pregnant and trying to avoid all the chemicals anyway. Except there was a problem. Poking up from the top of my head.

Wiry, gray hairs. Lots of them. The blond hid them well. The brown wasn't as kind.

In between pregnancies, and these days on a regular basis, I have to dye my hair. I can't do plain old brown, has to have a little auburn tinge to it. I have too many issues with that plain old brown color, honestly. It's amazing how much what one person says to you at nine years old can screw you up for life.

Pregnancy brought with it other blessings, besides the cessation of the highlights that hid the grays. It made my hair wavy. Not wavy enough to be nice, just wavy enough to be annoying. I miss that stick straight hair.

To combat the waves, I've been growing it out. These days, it's longer than it has ever been in my life, mostly because I never can find the time to get it cut. I never have time for me.

I have always had issues with my hair, and I probably always will. I think it's just part of being a woman. Our hair is a huge part of how we define ourselves, how others define us.

It's taken a lot of failed perms, a lot of horrible haircuts, a lot of bad dye jobs, graying and waves, but I have learned to love my hair.

I've been growing my hair for a reason, one that not many people know. I'm having it cut tomorrow, donating it to a charity for cancer patients in my Dad's honor. I can't do much for him right now, but this I can do. Someone out there might be happy with slightly auburn, awkwardly wavy hair.

Someone other than me, that is.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Some of My Most Popular Posts