Appearances

Here is a little update and apologies most probably a nostalgic reminiscence, that does have a point, hopefully.

This begins rather simply with; I got a hair cut on Tuesday. This may not seem that extraordinary however for anyone with curly hair I am sure you will agree that a hair cut can be a traumatizing experience. I know it is necessary but that does not dull the dislike I feel towards the event. I have honest emotional scars, memories of being held in a chair as a child, forced to get the standard family cut of choice, an easily managed bob. I know this was not done to me in malice but none the less it has definitely created the particular attitude I feel towards getting a hair cut today. My two sisters, as luck would have it had pin straight blonde hair, they emerged each time thoroughly pleased, bounding from their perches leaving lockets of golden thread in their wake, the picture of sweetness and charm. I on the other hand left salon with tear streaked cheeks and a mass of curls that surrounded my face in every direction. What it seems will never be understood is that when you cut hair wet it is obedient, it will behave as directed forming the beautiful bob I have seen on so many others. However when the air dries hair like mine, curls take form, spirals seek escape and the restrictions of gravity seem to be abandoned completely.

To say I grew up oblivious as to how to manage my own hair is an understatement, over the years I have learnt a few tricks here and there. Never brush my hair when it is dry, you can never have too much conditioner, saltwater is a form of punishment, if I sleep on my curls I will not be fit of society the next day. There are so many obstacles but also will relent to say there are some benefits. Since the invention of the straightener I find myself, to the relief of my sanity, with many more options. There is no greater feeling than having straightened hair and knowing I can go more than one day without washing it and still having it look presentable. I accept that I am lucky to be able to straighten my hair or leave it naturally wildly curly. I hear with persistent frequency just how lucky I am. I can acknowledge this but I am still entitled to feel annoyance at the tangled frustration atop my head and the occasional uninvited attention it draws. Mostly I get compliments for my curls, sometimes ‘my god that is a lot of hair’ but in general it is fascination that dominates the conversation. My absolute limit it when people, who apparently have become hypnotized and lost all control of their limbs reach out and grab a ringlet, stretching and releasing it, marveling at the fact that it bounces. I do not joke, total strangers have walked straight up to me and done just this. Please, this is not acceptable behavior under any circumstance, but thank you for the compliment.

I suppose all these things follow me daily and when it comes time to get another hair cut I bring with me my past and also anxiety for the outcome, a mixture of too much experience and knowledge. I have still to meet a hairdresser who completely understands what I am telling them when I say ‘please cut exactly what I ask’. No matter how clearly I say this they will cut according to something behind my comprehension and each time be amazed with the results. Perplexed perhaps is more accurate, my hair when I entered the salon on Tuesday was to my waist wet or straightened. I tried to explain this but all that was seen when I entered was curly hair at least 6 inches shorter than this. I once again pleaded my case as best I could then surrendered and received my cut, the result was nice, the service excellent but again I say, I have curly hair. No rules apply here. The shorter it is the curlier it becomes. When I start to feel in control it changes itself completely, how I could not say it remains a mystery.

All in all, I now have much shorter hair than intended but not totally unexpected. I can’t say I like it but I am well used to this scenario and thankfully hair grows. I suppose what frustrates me most is the complete lack of control I posses in these situations and really all the time over my own hair. I need to keep it long to weigh down the curls but then its too long and unmanageable so I end up tying it up the majority of the time. This results in me realizing a cut is needed, which in turn leads to unmanageably short hair causing me to grow it long and so the cycle begins again. Therefore today I am once again at the beginning of this self struggle, feeling not all as confident in my appearance as I’d like to be. I’m certain most people can relate to the reality that as trivial as it seems our hair not only is a means of self expression, individuality but also of our identity. It can be empowering or restricting. This is definitely the case for me, having grown up with less than ideal hair, battling to gain control and some semblance of order. For me when I can achieve a state of close to pleasantness for my hair I instantly feel more altogether better in myself. Personally my hair has caused me much ridicule over the years and so I carry these wounds but I have also learnt many lessons from what I have experienced and can recognize the power appearance holds over me. I have not yet bested this control but I am working on it and with each day making progress. I accept who I am and how I look. This particular hair cut may not be all I hoped for but it is not permanent and I can handle that.

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