Monday, November 25, 2013

New Life Growing From the Top of my Head

I realize it may seem a bit vain to spend an entire blog post talking about my hair, but hear me out.

Growing up, my hair was straight as a board, and I hated that. I had a long, thin face, and I thought my long, straight hair just accentuated that and made me look like a horse. So, I tried desperate maneuvers with a variety of curling irons and rollers to change the shape of my coif. All to no avail. By lunchtime, all my curls would disappear.

Then during my junior year, when I landed my big theatrical lead of my high school career (Ruby in “Dames at Sea”), the director asked me to perm my hair. Hallelujah! I loved this! I continued perming my hair for years – many years after the style was in any sense fashionable. It was an EASY style. I washed my hair, put a little mousse in it (maybe) and let it dry. Glory! With two little ones in tow, I hated the hassle of messing with my hair.

Then my friend Maria in Jersey offered to color my hair for me to save me the money I was spending at the hairdresser's. As she was finishing up, she said, “You wanna see what your hair would look like straight?” And she pulled out this remarkable little flattening iron and proceeded to make my hair straight and amazing-looking. I was so excited! I immediately bought myself one of those handy little tools and had her teach me how to do that with my hair.

That was my last perm. I let the kinks grow out and took to straightening my hair after every wash. And I did find it interesting that even when the perm had grown out, there was enough “wave” in my hair to require the flattening iron. But I didn't think much of it.
Until we went to Panama . . . and my hair took on a life of its own. I may as well have left my beloved little tool at home because my Panama hair defied it with vengeance. That hair was big and curly and flyaway and I'd have had more luck bottling the waves of the ocean than taming the locks on my head. I chalked that up to life in a different continent, one of the many things that would be new in my world if we decided to make that move. Everything was so different in Panama that my hair being curly seemed to just fit right in.
Imagine my surprise, however, when I found the same to be true in Texas. It's not quite as bad – I can force my hair almost straight right after a wash, but it's not worth the effort. The picture above is my own little head. My naturally curly head that still doesn't feel like it belongs to me. I paid good money for this look twenty years ago, and now it's given to me as a gift. No, it's not the climate -- the climate isn't THAT different here -- it's just my freaky hair.
I don't get it. I've heard of a woman's hair changing dramatically after pregnancy, or growing back differently after chemotherapy, but I've just been living life and suddenly my hair has decided to create a new life for itself.

As if it were inviting me to do the same. Weird.

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