Monday, July 6, 2009

Long Hair

As a little girl, I almost always had long hair and heavy bangs. My hair, being long, wavy, and red, made me a target on the playground and in the classroom; my braids and ponytails got yanked hard and often by the little bastards at school. One girl delighted in seizing one braid in each hand and screeching, "Make a wish!" while she pulled hard. When I was ten, my mother cut my hair to about the middle of my neck. My youngest sister was starting school, and my mother didn't have time to brush my hair for me every morning; it was too long and thick for me to take care of myself. So, my hair was cut short. I actually liked the way it fluttered around my ears when I shook my head. My head felt light and cool.

In eighth grade, I decided I wanted to let my hair grow. I had learned to care for it myself and felt able to handle it. The period while my layers grew out is horrifyingly documented in school pictures.

Query: does anyone have a good time in middle school? Why can't we hide our transformation period in cocoons?

When I was fourteen, I began baby-sitting a family of three children, whose mother had curly hair. She advised me to try a little gel in my hair, applied by "scrunching." I did try it, and suddenly I had curls hanging to my shoulder blades. I asked my parents for a "Curly Top" diffuser and was thrilled with the results.

Since then, I've let my hair grow. It hovered around my waist for many years, and now it hangs below my hips. The springy curls I enjoyed when it was shorter are now pulled into S-shaped waves by my hair's weight. I don't wear it down very often, but when I do, people stare. I've found that some people respond very strongly, and positively, to hair like mine. Little girls have mistaken me for a princess.

No matter how I feel about the rest of my physical self, I always love my hair. I love its length and weight and color. If I could change anything about it, I'd like it to be curlier. It could be, if I cut it, but I don't want to do that. I wish it were immune to split ends, too. Someday, I hope it will reach to my knees, healthy and strong and shining deep red.

For anyone interested, here's what I use these days:
Mehandi Ginger/Cardamom shampoo bar
50/50 cider vinegar/water rinse
L'oreal Vive Pro Nutri Gloss Conditioner (long/wavy/curly formula) (I'm looking for an inexpensive, cruelty-free alternative and, since there seems to be no such thing, I am considering making my own.)
flax seed gel
cocoa butter on the ends


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