I am ashamed and embarrassed to admit it. We have always had a rocky relationship. I think you just learn how to put a smile on your face and go on like things are all normal and that you are perfectly happy. But really, it has been one of the greatest trials of my life. I think the only time that things were really great between us was in the 90’s. Other than that, I can probably count on one hand the days that I have been satisfied with our relationship. But it takes a crisis to realize how much something means to you.
I have always known that my hair didn’t really like me. But, honestly, who wants to accept that? Who?
I have crazy naturally curly, way-too-thick hair that has a mind of its own. You can’t make it do something it doesn’t want to do. So, really, the only time that I could just go with it was in the 90’s when big, curly hair was in. I just learned to put my desires aside and go with it. You just have to learn to be unselfish. And I truly was happy. And I thought that was what I wanted. Until straight hair became the order of the day.
My journey of appreciation climaxed last summer when I purchased a new flat iron. I was ready to get better results and took it into my own hands. I had been RELIGIOUSLY straightening my hair for the past 6 or more years. Subconsciously thinking that straightening out those curls would straighten the problems between us. So, when I got that new red and silver flat iron- from Sally's- with more than 10 heat settings, I was pumped.
Immediately I cranked it to the hottest setting and let that baby get HOT. I ritualistically divided my hair, affixing the appropriate clips to hold the upper layers in place so I could work on the under layers. And so I began to flatten out those curls. Strip by strip. I watched as this magic iron slid through my tresses, steaming as it went. Then I began to smell the scent of very hot, not quite burning, hair. But I was not alarmed because my hair was straightening beautifully. In under 15 minutes, my hair was completely sleekly straight. It was a monumental moment. The best results I had ever achieved on my mop. And, I knew I had hit gold.
The next day, after washing my hair, I was ready to repeat the process. I began to blow dry my hair and immediately knew something was not right. Instead of frizzing out and going out of control, my hair was blow drying straight. What? One would think that I would be ecstatic. Not so much. It was in that moment, a moment of sheer terror, I realized what I had done. That beautiful new red and silver flat iron had melted the curl right out of my hair. I was mortified. What had I done?
Do you know what this meant? It meant that I no longer had the option of letting my hair go curly when I didn’t have time to straighten it, because the way it dried was so unattractive. I couldn’t just dry and go like I could with my curls. I am here to tell you that it truly is in a crisis that we realize how important some things are to us.
So, here we are, a year later. I have learned a few things 1) you cannot turn your 10 heat setting flat iron to the hottest setting, 2) curls can melt out of hair, 3) no matter how much I complained about it before, I really did appreciate my hair all along, and 4) I would be sad to lose it.
My curl is finally growing back in. It is funny to see my hair with the curl at the root and then straight about two inches after that, all the way to the end. But I am embracing it- like The Prodigal Son returning from a wayward life.
In the end, I know I was the selfish one in this relationship. My hair gives and gives. I take and take- expect and expect. (Although I do give it good conditioner.) I am the master, it is the servant. Still, I don’t love that it usually looks its best right at the end of the day- just as I am brushing my teeth and getting in to bed. What is up with that?
I think our relationship is on the mend.
P.S. Go USA!!!