Monday, October 19, 2009

Hair You Go



I had a dream a couple nights ago about hair.
I was sitting in the chair of my hair stylist Ashlee. I was telling her about my life-long desire to have hair so long it brushed the beginnings of my buttocks (if you will). Long, flowing hair so soft and luxurious, like a Pantene commercial. Then, in the next moment I had convinced myself I wanted hair extensions because I knew my real hair was incapable of giving me such pleasure. After talking this over, Ashlee started applying fake hair to my natural mane. The result was so pleasing to me it woke me up.

"I've got to get hair extensions!" I thought to myself as I blinked awake.

Not a new thought in my head, this hair extensions idea. I first wanted a hair implants in middle school when my cheer coach came to practice with yards of yellow hair that wasn't there the day before.

Overnight she had long hair. Overnight! Judging from my oft-cut, variant-on-the-bob coiffure I knew hair like hers would take my lifetime. A lifetime of battling temptations from within, not to mention a mother who did not take kindly to long hair.

"Get it off your face!" she'd remind me almost daily.

It is not that I have bad hair, just tricky hair.
Having invested in a hair-coach (again, Ashlee) I now know I grow relatively thin hair strands, but with a head full of them. So I've got a thick set of thin hair. And we're wavy in some parts and straight in others. On a hot day full of humidity my head produces Shirley Temple ringlets or a nest of Medusa snake-like strands. And until I learn how to grow two other sets of arms I will never be able to straighten my hair on my own.

My mother knew all this because she has the same set of hair on her head. She'd learned in her life to just keep it short, or permed. Keep it short, or permed and nobody gets hurt. (As a result, I will always be a lover of short hair . . . though maybe not permed.)

But I have learned, in my wise aged way, that I can grow my hair long if I use the help of a professional (who? Ashlee.) Together we've gotten my hair to grow healthy (a great distinction from times past) over my shoulders and down to my blades. This is huge and scary and almost seven times I've had serious episodes of insanity ("Just cut it all off for the love of everything holy!" I'd beg). Like the time my post-natal baby hairs invaded my head making me look like the three year-old who just found the bliss of scissors.

On Saturday, at my weekly appointment I told my professional about my dream to get her opinion. Except then I remembered the time Ashlee explained that my hair dries nicely, actually. With a few tips from a curling iron I could have a wavy-beachy hair in no time at all. I realized I didn't want extensions. I just wanted my own hair. I wanted my quirky, spontaneous hair. I wanted a little more faith in the strands that were passed down to me from generations of woman who shared my same DNA. It was good enough for them, this hair, so why not me?

Ashlee said, "Hair can be your Super Power. You just have to learn how to use it."

I think I understand. Instead of using fake hair in hopes of overcoming what I thought was a physical deficiency, I needed to see the potential in what can be beautiful. Letting my weakness become a strength (you know, that sort of thing). If I want a naturally-trained, physical Super Power it will come at a price of hard work and patience. Not from money paid, not from outside sources, and definitely not overnight.

My hair may never tickle the beginnings of my hindquarters--I will leave that to divas like Crystal Gail, my neighbor Dawn and my best friend Wendy--but I am learning its secrets. I am learning that this the responsible thing to do, mostly so I can pass them on to any offspring who might inherit this tricky mop. If my mom learned to keep it short, and I found out a way to grow it a little longer, think of what the next generation will do!

Now is not the time to give up.