September 6, 2013

Curly Headed Woman

Be forewarned, this post contains a lot of pictures of me. And most are selfies, too, God help me. Not because I think I'm so gaw-geous or anything, but simply talking about my hair without the accompanying visuals just ain't gonna cut it.

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:
And this is me now (taking my selfie-taking so seriously!).
 My hair is,  and will still grow "longer" than this, but it's hard to tell, because of shrinkage.  That means my hair is one length when it's wet out of the shower, and about 3" shorter after it dries.  So in the photo above, my hair, when wet, is actually about as long as where my shirt puckers on both sides above my chest, but it's all dried and "shrunk."  My hair is extremely curly, not just a little, and it dries into tight little corkscrews, especially in the back.

 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:
I've found that my hair can be just as non-photogenic as the rest of me. While my face gets all fake and tense and my body language stiffens up, my curls are just hard to actually see.  I had the husband take my photo because it was a good hair day, i.e, I had lot of good curl separation and definition. But in the photo above, it just looks like one big dark clump of hair, especially on the left.

Let's try it with a flash, I told him.
The flash does help show more of the tight little curls I have going on back there.  But still, it's hard to get a sense what exactly is going on back there (and under there, too).

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.
Actually it’s not that different from who I am. I’m pretty stubborn and rebellious too. What was I expecting from it ? ;)
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.

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.)
 Speaking of humidity, I must be all grown and wised-up these days, because I've (mostly) been able to control my hair in the crazy heat & humidity that's lingered here for the last two weeks. In the past, I'd have been forced to just throw it in a pony-tail every day to deal.  But my hair has been mostly behaving with the products I've been using. (And paying my crazy-expensive Deva stylist is also a big part of it.) Yesterday I did wear it up in a great big, top-of-my-head up-do. (My daughter said it looked like a hair-tsunami!)

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, mom world? Life & DNA gave me some really crazy-thick and curly hair. And I actually like it. And my husband loooves it and thinks its sexy.

Deal with it. I'm a woman warrior, and I've got the hair to prove it. ;) 

1 comment :

  1. Awesome :-) I like your hair and would pay lots of money to have it. There are lots of blogs out there that write about dealing with curly hair, do you read any?


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