Monday, December 13, 2010

Rapunzel? Not me

I have had a love/hate relationship with my hair for most of my life.

I think every kid starts out that way. We never saw it but it never made anybody else happy. Mom would brush it, tearing at the tangles, cut it when it got too frustrating. When I was 12 she cut it off. That began my hate of it. I tried to take over from that point, but being new at it and maybe she wasn't ready to lose control, plus again, she had to look at it ~ I never saw it once I walked away from the mirror ~ taking over my own hairdo was easier said than done. Most of the next few years she kept it short, once it was a Dorothy Hamil style, which was fun at first but needed more work than I wanted to give it.

When I was in high school I had a bad perm job, which thinned it out plenty because it was burned in. In my senior year, I finally started getting some length but it never grew past the middle of my shoulder blades. I really wanted the hair the girls had in the shampoo commercials but I would lose faith that it could ever be that way and do something stupid to it again. Like maybe another perm. I colored it, starting when I was in my mid-twenties but never with a permanent color, always the kind that washed out in a month, and always something close to my natural color because I just wanted the grey I've had since childhood to disappear.

Apparently, I'm not the only one in the world with hair anxiety. Some of my favorite movies have big major life changing haircuts. For instance, Audrey Hepburn in 'Roman Holiday': 1933 'Roman Holiday'

And then there was Jo's dramatic donation to her family's effort in 'Little Women' (I like the Katharine Hepburn better but I couldn't find a clip of it, even June Alyson would have been better than this but you get the idea from Wynona Rider): 1994 'Little Women'

Not to leave out the guys ~ I remember laughing myself silly over Ice Skating Olympian Scotty Hamilton's exhibition performance to this song: 'Hair'

The last fifteen years or so, I just pretty much let it go. I wash it, let it dry, if it's not behaving put it in a pony or a braid. I quit coloring it when I turn 40, I figured I deserved to let the whites shine. I also have discovered I have severe trust issues with stylists doing their own thing or their interpretation of what they thought they heard me say.

My hair never got very long until about 18 months ago, I started using a shampoo & conditioner that said it was 'made for fragile or hard-to-grow-long hair'. Finally I got some length. It's still fine, the braids were pretty teeny, but it was waist length or longer. I think last week it was to top of the pocket on my jeans. I loved the way it felt silky on my skin, feather touches on my elbows and forearms . . .

This is me in the chair at the salon. I had the stylist use my camera to photograph it before he cut it off.

This was a really hard thing for me to do. I kept thinking about little kids with problems, like cancer or alopecia (can't verify that's the correct spelling) that don't have any hair, little girls wishing they had the hair the princess movies all make such a big deal about and thinking they are less than . . . Little Superheroes with nothing on their noggins. I had to donate it.

The really cool part of my little story is that my co-worker also donated hers the same day without my knowing it or she knowing I was donating mine. Her final cut is much shorter than mine so perhaps her sacrifice/donation was greater than mine. She has a 7-week-old baby and said it was getting to be in the way all the time. Her hair was that healthy mommy hair, and when I saw her the day after it was all gone.

Mine's about shoulder length now. I miss it so much. It feels stubbly and hard. So, I can't wait for it to grow back.

Because it will, you know.

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