I was as bald as an onion when I was born. And when I finally did grow hair it was platinum and straight. That all changed …. well …. I don’t know exactly when, maybe about when I was ten or so. Then all hell broke loose. On top of my head. Massive frizz the color of straw.
Braids became my savior. Any solution to tame that unruly crop that suddenly appeared up there. I remember my grandma and mother making my plats so tight my head would ache. But the mess was hidden and undercover. I used to hate it. Hate it…Hate it!
Why is it we are cursed to covet what we don’t have? I have done everything throughout my life since those braids to get rid of the curls. Not the hair, just those darn curls. For me, it is and always has been ‘straight-hair-envy’.
When my mother was getting poodle perms I was embarrassed by my curly, unruly hair. I thought she was crazy to ruin her nice straight hair to look like our family pet. But she didn’t think twice about keeping mine in braids like a show horse’s tail.
At thirteen ‘The Hair War’ between mother and daughter about cutting my hair finally was won by me, and she chopped off my braids. But that’s when the next battle began. The one between me and my new short and wild hair finally escaping from its braided jail.
I struggled through high school using pony tails to normalize the life sprouting from my scalp, but it wasn’t until the mid 60’s that I found out about a cure to what ails me. Hair straightening! I had discovered my new best friend! Considering every model and movie star had beehives and straight hair, my tangled mess was anything but beautiful in the eyes of the celebrity world back then. So I was relaxing, straightening and rolling. This girl did everything measurable within the law to kill my curls.
At home and away from the public eye I walked around like a space alien in front of my children with empty frozen orange juice cans bobby pinned on my head trying, oh so trying, to look like Farrah Fawcett. This was the best method available to me at the time to murder the kink on my head.
And then something quite strange came trending out in the 80’s. Curly hair ?! It was…. It was….. everywhere! Natural, permed, short, or voluminous. Curly was in vogue. Meg Ryan, Susan Sarandon! Gosh, I hadn’t gone out in public with my curly hair in almost 20 years! What in the world?? Should I dare to just shower, fluff it dry and go out of the house?
Nuts as it sounds, that first time I walked out of our apartment onto the streets of Manhattan with my curly hair, I was a little weirded out about being so nakedly honest as to who I really was. To step out being the real me and to embrace, to accept the whole me which included that mass upon my head was hard and a long ride down in the elevator to the street.
I will forever blame it on my husband. It took the ‘hair love’ of my husband for the first time in my entire life to really, really accept my unruly wild and naturally curly hair. He made me do it. It was my husband, finally, who told me to just ‘go for it.’
So recently, when I posted a new profile picture on my Facebook page my cousin made a nice comment about my hair. That reminded me about a photo album my husband has compiled throughout the years taking literally thousands of pictures of my hair. He has always bizarrely been obsessed with my wild hair. So one thing leading to another, and with writing time on my hands today, forgive me for digressing from more important things and selfishly opening up to you about my hair woes and joys.
As a dear friend of mine who suffers from alopecia often reminds me, more is more, less is less and no fun at all.
She is right. There has been a truce. I have made peace with my hair. At last.
P. S. I still haven’t thrown away my magic wand to straightness-my long and narrow hot iron. I suppose if I were a smoker it would be like vaping or sneaking around the corner for a puff or too. Sadly, still addicted. Sometimes. But still at peace.
Copyright Sandra Hart 2014. All rights reserved.