Monday, January 08, 2007

let's back up a minute

I feel the need to explain why I said my hair is an indulgence (see post below.) Generally speaking, I'm not shallow, but when it comes to my hair, I am.

That's a shot of my hair above. If you're a curly girl like I am, then you understand how often it feels as if your hair is the center of your life - like it or not!

Growing up my hair was just like this, only short. My older brother had short, curly hair, too. We are 2 years apart, and though my mom denies how often this happened, we were mistaken for brothers on many occasions. Many. Quite naturally, as a young girl I started believing that my curly hair was an unfortunate part of my appearance. Everything else was manageable, but this was...well, hideous. Nobody ever told me my hair was attractive. The kids at school didn't like it. I didn't like it. Hairdressers used to ask me how short I wanted it when I went in for a cut. I thought it was just my bad luck that I had been born this way.


Right before I started high school, my mom made an appointment for me with the hotshot hairdresser in town. When I went in for a consultation with him, we started talking about big changes. He told me that I would be beautiful once my hair was chemically straightened. And you know what? I believed him. Afterwards, everyone told me I looked great. Everybody. I was thrilled that I had found the solution to my problem. My self confidence sky rocketed. I happily went in for straightening every 3 months or so, and I was careful to not talk about my curly hair with people I didn't know well. Only my close friends knew my dark secret.


I continued happily going straight until my early 20's. When I was almost done with grad school I started looking around me and noticing that there were some beautiful curls out there. There seemed to be more options for curls, too. Curls didn't mean you had to wear your hair cut close to the scalp. Curls could be soft and pretty. I was curious.


Then I met a hairdresser near my office who had long, curly hair. She was ready to guide me back to my natural ways. Her enthusiasm was contagious and I decided to do it once and for all. I stopped straightening and started growing out the curls. Straight ends were snipped off as the curls took their place. My new look came into focus gradually, and I became more excited with each inch that grew out of my head. My then boyfriend (now my husband) cheered me on all the way. The transformation took about a year.


Now, as you can see, I'm all about my curls. I still visit the curly haired hairdresser and I buy my shampoo from a famous curly lady in NYC. I get a lot of comments (and truthfully, compliments) on my hair from people when I'm out. Funny, what used to embarrass me now makes me proud. I love being curly, it's a better fit with my personality. Perhaps my 8 year-old self didn't understand that being different was actually a good thing, but I don't hold it against her. Sometimes you have to grow into your skin a little bit before you can appreciate it.

21 comments:

Cindy said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you for posting this. I have a 14 year old daughter with beautiful curly auburn hair. She just died it dark brown, almost black and spent $100 of her own money on a straightening iron. She spends about an hour a day between straightening it and touching it up. I always hope that one day she will appreciate what she has...you have given me hope!

Your hair IS beautiful!

Kim said...

Your hair is GORGEOUS!

But, isn't it true that we can't appreciate what God gave us until we are older & wiser? I struggled with my weight (which has remained pretty much the same since high school)for years. I finally realize that I'm meant to look like this & it looks pretty good!

Leona said...

Your hair is Beautiful!

Deb said...

Great post and picture! As a fellow "curly girl" I can relate to the story!!

J said...

I agree with the others--your hair is gorgeous! When I was younger (like 12-16) I would spend over an hour a day straightening my super thick curly hair, and if it wasn't straightened, I pulled it up. I finally let it go at the end of high school and am so glad I finally did.

So Cindy, don't despair! I'm sure your daughter will grow to love her curly hair eventually.

lisagh said...

I agree with everyone here: your hair is absolutely stunning. I too am a "Curly" and even worse, I'm mixed race with mixed hair (part afro-y/fuzzy, part wiggly and parts are downright straight)... it's such a chore, but I too have given in to "the beast" and have learned to love what I was given.

suburban mom said...

You have awesome hair girlfriend.

Becka said...

Oh I wish my hair had "life". Always wishing for what I don't have...

Your hair is drop dead gorgeous and you should order your shampoo from Antartica if you want to...

homedaisy said...

beautiful. just beautiful!

Kim - ScrapToMyLu said...

I'm a curly girl too. Gotta love BioSilk! My hair didn't get curly until Jr High. Perfect timing.

Your hair looks great!

East of Oregon said...

beautiful!

Jolene George said...

I can see why you get compliments...your hair really is beautiful. I love it!

Kim said...

Your golden locks are so pretty! Isn't if funny that we often think that "if only this were different about me, everything would be wonderful"?! Good for you for being your true beautiful self:) Thanks for sharing!

suburban prep said...

You have great hair.
I understand though from what you speak. each time I go into the hairdresser she always states that she doesn't need to workout after me because she will get ehough working on my thick thick hair.
People i meet usually make a comment about its thickness.
my mother and sisters have hair just as thick. The thing is though that I got the kink and the curl and the wave from my father and my sisters got the thickness.
One sisters grew in thick and very curly after going through with chemo, radiation and a bone marrow transplant. It is 5 years since that and it has reverted back to the straight she had pre-cancer.

Belle-ah said...

You do have gorgeous hair. You give me hope that my 10 year old son will one day appreciate his!!!

Meg said...

My goodness, I will re-read these comments any time I'm feeling low. Thank you very much for your kind words, they mean a lot to me. Thanks also to those of you who shared your "hair tales from the front". Hair seems like it should be such a small, insignificant part of life - given all the other things out there that are truly important - but alas, it is not.

Anyway, I want to pass on a website that I've visited many times in the past. If you have a daughter (or son!) coming to terms with their curls, I highly recommend it. Or, maybe you just might like it for yourself: www.naturallycurly.com

It has all sorts of useful info, including recommended hairdressers around the U.S., styling tips, etc. Mostly it's just a place to go to meet other curlies. There are some great pictures on that site, so have fun!

Thanks again, everyone. Truly, you've made my night. :)

RaNae said...

Better late than never your hair is Beautiful Meg- It's just what I always wanted, have paid good money for and never achieved LOL My hair used to be stick straight untill recently when the large LARGE number of greys that have taken over are wirery and wavy enough to give great body to my hair wih a lil help from some mousse so I'm learning to be happy with it finnally at 43 Lol... If I could choose though I would choose yours I think curly hair is soo romantic.

Jen said...

I love your curly hair. Wear it proud, girl!

Shabby in the City said...

Wow! Wonderful post! I have an affliction of a head full of hair that waves wherever the heck it wants to all the time. A little boy the other day asked me, "why do you have that hair???" LOL! Maybe I should enlist in the army and shave it off...my curls aren't behaving like yours.

jilly said...

Grass is ALWAYS greener and I have STICK straight hair with ZERO body and have always wanted the curls, you are blessed in MANY ways but the curls are a plus! :)

smilnsigh said...

Oh yes, you are so lucky to be a "Curly Girl." I *envy* you, much! :-) I'm so glad you finally came into your true "Curly Girl" Glory.

'MN'