My sister tells this story of me as a little girl that I just love. I am two years old and have a crazy tangle of curls lining my face, halo style. I am the sweetest of kids (that might be my embellishment) who doesn’t cry or fuss or make demands. The only time they ever see tears, they only time they ever see resistance from me is when someone pulls out a comb or brush. With that, I cover my head with my two little hands and the tears start streaming.
“No comb no hair, Mommy,” I cry. “No comb, no hair.”
Little girl, more than 30 years later, I totally feel you.
My hair is a hot mess. Not as hot a mess as it was when I came home from a month without conditioner in the Brazilian Amazon (my own version of Survivor). I talked to one of my good friends half- way through the trip, and she asked if there was anything I needed for when I came home. “Yes,” I told her, “a massage and a hair appointment.” We went to the salon straight from the airport where my hairdresser gingerly cut out the dreads that my hair had curled itself into during our last week living on the river and swiming into work each day from the little boat that we lived on (I told you it was my own version of Survivor).
So, it’s not that hot a mess. But it is still a fairly hot mess. Call it age, call it hormones, call it stress, call it short hair, whatever the cause is, my hair has just fallen apart. It’s wholly unreliable. And these days, where I shower and get ready mostly in the YMCA locker room (because that’s the one place I can work in a shower while my child is being watched), I need for my hair to be a little more reliable and a lot less maintenance.
I guess I should be honest about my maintenance at this point. It goes a little something like this: wash, condition (with sulfate-free shampoo and conditioner, at least), comb, squeeze in product that may or may not be right for my hair, and go. With this strategy, I knew my hair didn’t look great, but I certainly didn’t think it looked bad. Turns out it looks bad. Really bad. How do I know this? I saw video footage of it on a day that I would have said was an average and NOT a bad hair day. Turns out, it wasn’t average. It wasn’t even bad. It was awful. Ooops.
And so, while I had entertained the notion of straightening my hair before, I had resolved to NOT do it. The fear of the unknown was a big deterent- I have never done anything to my hair and what if the absolute straightness was worse the erratic half-curly, half wavy, totally flat on top challenge of my hair now (but, seriously, after reading that descriptor, how can it be?). And my curls are, in many ways, a manifestation of my personality– or they were, when they looked full and fun and not so sad and neglected. When I saw the video, I thought, “there has to be an intervention” and I made the straightening appointment.
The ultimate goal with the straightening is that I will get a grip on my hair. Seriously, I am in my mid-30s. I should know how to do my hair. That little girl who cried No Comb, No Hair, Mommy certainly didn’t expect that this would be her battle cry for life. And, yet, it has been. It’s a bit absurd. So I am taking over my hair, thank you very much, which means that I have to make it as easy for a girl- this girl- to do as possible. The appointment’s on Thursday. Hopefully, I’ll remember to take my camera to snap shots of the process along the way.
Peace out, curls. I’ll miss you (I think).