When I was a toddler, I had a head full of platinum blonde curls. I’ve got the pictures to prove it. As time went by, my hair grew, longer, darker and lost the curl. Since then, I’ve tried all sorts of chemicals, perms and special shampoos but that natural curl remains elusive.
As a kid, I wore my hair long and straight. Well, it was straight except during those fateful years when the “Crimper” came in vogue. A side ponytail never looked so good, I tell you. But long hair was not always fun. I did not know how to fix it. On the rare morning when my oldest sister was willing to help, I had cute hair. Otherwise…well, it’s best we not mention it. So if I couldn’t fix it, why wear it long? Simple reason: my mother made me. She was the one who cut our hair and would never hack it all off when I asked. In fact, she insisted my sister and I keep our hair long. She loved to brush and comb and curl and twist our locks. She said it was relaxing. It must have been relaxing for her because I can remember many an agonizing moment spent at my mother’s feet as, wielding a brush and bobby pins, she worked out her frustration. It might have been my dad she was mad at but my hair took the brunt of it.
High school and I rebelled, so my hair had to reflect that. I permed it. Had the latest in tiny little spiral twists all through my heavy locks. Finally, my morning routine was easier, except for those mornings when my hair was wet. I never knew hair took so long to dry! But if I didn’t show it some attention, it would get it’s revenge for my neglect by frizzing. And no teenage girl wants frizzy hair. Still my hair was a great source of pride; not when I tried to coax it into some ridiculous style, but because I had it. The cancer treatments that would have taken my hair were passed over by my doctors. I got to keep those crazy, wavy, brownish-blonde locks. As much as I whined about them, I couldn’t have been happier.
By the time I was in college, the platinum blonde was spent. Now my hair was deemed “dishwater blonde.” Dishwater? Dishwater? I never did like doing the dishes. But there was something else that happened then: a broken heart. If I couldn’t change the heartache then maybe there was something else I could change. All my memories with my former sweetheart were of a blonde me. I decided that if I wouldn’t be blonde again, then maybe I’d try something else. The box said Medium Brown #9. It wasn’t. More like Brownish-Red #88. And I spent the next two years with red hair, quite by mistake. Unfortunately, my head full of long red curls, my pale skin, penchant for dark lipstick and a mega-blockbuster movie about an ill-fated cruise ship all combined to earn me the nickname of Kate Winslet.
My red hair and me married. Not each other, of course. Don’t ask about my hair on my wedding day…but I will say that I wasn’t always crying from joy. It was only a matter of time before I straightened out the perm and found a professional stylist, who did indeed give me Medium Brown hair, even if it wasn’t #9.
When the kids came along, I did what all moms tend to do when there are chubby hands grasping at stray locks: I cut my hair short. Then I spent another two years trying to grow it back out. After so many years, I found my hair permed again. Going back to my roots – HAH! – I instructed my faithful stylist to give me back my youth in the form of blonde hair.
So it seems to have come full circle. Here I sit, older (much older), a little wiser, and with kids of my own, but still, proudly showing platinum blonde curls. I’ve grown up; I’ve grown out. And the hair is still very much a part of how I see myself. I still can’t style it to save my life but the good news is that I have a brush, bobby pins, and a little girl with long blonde hair.
What do you love/hate about your hair?