Last September, I wrote about my short (and greying) hair and how I was trying to grow it out. It took a long time, pretty much the whole year, but my hair is all grown out (and I do mean "out," as in width vs. length).
This was me last year, at my aunt's pool party:
I knew I was going to write here about my hair, because I've had some breakthrough/revelatory feelings about it lately. So I had the Husband take a few shots of me last week:
Let's try it with a flash, I told him.
So maybe you've read this far and are thinking I feel bad about the whole drama that is my hair. (And maybe or probably, you're feeling bad for me.) But in the last month, after years of cowering under my hair and it's...size, I feel proud of it. Happy that it's mine, and healthy, and even glad that it's so terribly, ridiculously thick.
Last month, I was getting a bit fed up and wanting to hack my hair off again and go back to short. I was trolling images of hair on Pinterest, looking for inspiration. (There's not a lot out there for curlies like me.) While there, I stumbled upon some of the graphic cartoons and the blog of "Tall n' Curly." The woman who writes Tall n' Curly not only has ginormous big curly hair, but she's also 5' 11.5." So she might know a thing or two about never being able to be invisible or disappearing in a crowd. She might know something about wanting to hunker down and just be "normal" looking.
I'm only 5' 6 1/2", but related to just about everything she had to say. I spent over an hour clicking through her site, smiling and nodding at so many of the graphic cartoons describing all the stupid things straight-haired people say to curly-heads: "have you ever tried to straighten it?" "don't you ever moisturize?" "oh my god, you look so much BETTER with it straight, you should wear it like that EVERY DAY!" and especially, "it's SOOOO humid/rainy today I can't do a thing with my hair!"
But I also got a little emotional reading her "About" page, where she talks in length about her evolution of accepting herself and her hair. This part in particular hit me:
Looking for the truth everywhere, I now believe everything happens for a reason. And in “everything”, there is my hair. I was born with this hair. There must be a reason for that too. So although I still – and will always – get angry a lot at it, I now respect my hair for what it is : a part of me.Well, yeah. What she says. And it seems so simple, but it really shifted my feelings about my hair. Not to imply that I've always hated my hair, because I don't, and I haven't. On the other hand, I've always felt the need to make apologies and excuses for my hair, like it's my bad monkey-child that I just have to drag along everywhere I go, like it or not.
Actually it’s not that different from who I am. I’m pretty stubborn and rebellious too. What was I expecting from it ?
Most of that guilt and embarrassment comes from my mother, who, in a nutshell, just doesn't like my hair. And she REALLY doesn't like it when I choose to grow it out. (Like now.) That topic is a whole other post, but let me just say: I spent my childhood with her brushing my hair. Daily. (I know it's not her fault that she didn't know how to handle it, but all that fighting with my hair made her actively dislike it, except when it's cut very short.)
After I took it out of the heavy-duty hair elastic, I had some REALLY big hair and volume going on. I tried to capture it at bedtime, but even these shots don't capture the true size of the event happening on top of my head:
My first and middle names have Celtic/Teutonic roots, and my names, respectively, mean "woman warrior" and "famous in battle." With those kind of names, it's no wonder that so often I go through life fighting everything (especially myself) and making not-so-complicated choices into arduous, drawn out battles.
But I think it's time to stop fighting myself, my hair, and my true nature and declare: you know what,
Deal with it. I'm a woman warrior, and I've got the hair to prove it. ;)