Boy … my hair … where do I start?
It took me till I was thirty before I finally accepted my hair. Having grown up being constantly told by my parents that my hair was awful, that it looks like “rats tails”, not being allowed to have it long, and spending most of my first decade of life with it cut like a boy, … and then having spent countless hours trying to tame it, style it (with NO success), and with a handful of hair dresser disasters where other people tried to MAKE my hair be something that it “should” be instead of being allowed to be what it is, …. at thirty years old I finally came to believe my husband that my hair isn’t that bad after all, and in fact that he does actually LOVE it (as apposed to just thinking it isn’t THAT bad), and to give up hair dressers altogether, leave it to it’s own colour, curl and length, and enjoy it for what it is. And even celebrate it!
Don’t get me wrong, I still get people telling me to style it, colour it, blow dry it, and people are shocked and horrified that I only wash it once a week, that I don’t dye it or colour it, that no hairdresser is allowed anywhere near it, and that I cut it myself once or twice a year with a pair of kitchen scissors! Maybe it’s the hippy in me, maybe it is the complete disaster of any other method, or maybe it is because I simply do not have the strength or energy to deal with it, and time on appointments is something that I can’t abide, especially as I have spent my entire adult life on a parade of doctor appointments and that I way too often don’t have the emotional or physical energy at any given time in the future to set and appear at appointments of any kind.
I also HATE having my hair washed at the hair dresser! My head hurts, and when it is tilted back into those washing bowls, at the end my neck can’t hold my head up properly and I cringe and squirm the rest of the process… not to mention that I HATE what they do to my hair and it costs money which for a very long time, we did not have to spare on silly things like hair.
And so I have spent since then with my hair “el natural” and have felt waaaay more comfortable and at peace with it like that. I have also kept it pretty long. Short hair looks fabulous on some women, but for all kinds of valid reasons, it does not look fabulous on me. Not to mention the trauma of the boy hair all those years ago, I just feel like I am ME with my hair as it is, and long. I mostly wear it up, so people are often surprised at how long it is when I have it out, and they tell me I should wear it down more often … But it can be hot when it is down and having it up is a REALLY easy way to deal with a bad hair day, especially when I am out of spoons and can’t do anything else about it.
But brushing my hair has always been a problem. It hurts my arms, my hands, my fingers, and more often than not I am miserable by the time it is brushed, and so I am VERY embarrassed to say, that for most of my adult life, it only ever gets brushed once a week!! Once a week in prep for it’s wash…. because if I don’t brush it then, then I am sure that it will never be brushed, and one huge dread lock is not something that I aim for!
I think if someone had said to me that now that I have a diagnosis, that my long hair has to go, I would fight it all the way. No way. My hair has gone from being the bane of my life to being something that I quite love, enjoy and am proud of! I LOVE that it takes so little effort (except for the brushing), that my husband ADORES it, that I don’t yet have a single grey hair, and that every now and then (not often, but every now and then, a stranger still stops me and either compliments me on my hair or asks for advice on how they can have hair like mine). I can’t stand bragging and I hope that that doesn’t come across like that, but having lived so long with a body that is falling apart, having something about me (I know, it is as beyond my own control as everything else about my body) but nonetheless, it is something that I can feel good about, something that is NOT going to pot!
But I have always hating that brushing it causes me so much pain. I found it stupid and crazy and frustrating, and so I would always put it off as long as I could, but it had to be done… Now that I have a diagnosis and know that I need to preserve my joints, the chaos and heartache around hair brushing is a no brainer that it is has to go … but at the same time, keeping my long hair is part of me feeling that I am not completely losing this battle, that not everything is out of my control! If fact one of the early decisions that I made in trying to balance my life, was that I would keep my long hair!
But then last night, sitting in the bath, my husband came in and as he does so very often, he said how much he love love loves my hair …. I know it is corny, but it is real and spontaneous and it makes me feel vital and pretty and desired and lovely, … and a woman needs that now and then, …. especially when the rest of her doesn’t FEEL like it is ever those things! And so I said thank you, and soaked it in as always. But then something made me ask him what he loves about it so much? Is it the amount it? The length of it? the curl? the colour? … and he thought and looked and said that he loves all of it, although he does prefer it a little shorter!! WOW! I was shocked! Not in a bad way, or good, just super surprised … and so I asked him how long? And he said he doesn’t like women’s hair to be long when they are over eighteen. It wasn’t a judgement on anyone, and he isn’t into short hair, but he said that in his mind set, long long hair is for girls, and that my hair would still be all that it is now, if it only came down to my shoulders ….
And so first thing this morning while he was out cycling, out came the kitchen scissors and most of it came off! I tossed up going to a hair dresser to have it done properly (for about a nanosecond), but I just didn’t feel safe or comfortable with that. I still can’t style it or blow dry it or do all the things that other people seem to be able to manage, so what is the point of having something fancy done right? … and if this doesn’t work it will always grow back (it would take a couple of years but still, it would grow back!). So the new overall length is just to my shoulders but I also layered it so that a lot of it is even shorter than that…
It felt CRAZY throwing so much of my hair in the bin … about eight inches of it, plus more from on top! But it also felt right. It just happened this way and I’m glad of it. I think he would have been just as pleased if I had not asked, clearly he LOVED my hair before, and I certainly didn’t keep it long for him… but I love that this all just came about organically and that it doesn’t feel like I am giving something up!!!
It’s still me, it still doesn’t look like a boy, I probably won’t brush or wash it any more often than I did before (sorry!!), but it will no longer get stuck on things, will hopefully be SOOOO much easier to manage, (both brushing, washing etc), and I can still put it up (barely, and not all of it) but I feel REALLY good about it!
And yes, he LOVES it!!! I kinda wish I had done this years ago …. except, that it was good for my soul and good for that time in my life to have it long … so I have NO regrets at all 🙂
I should have taken a photo before I cut it, I don’t have many of it out and long, but I do have this photo taken about a year ago which is sadly not at it’s longest, but anyway … we will see how it goes and hopefully I can preserve some joints for other things!!!