When I was little, I learned that hair matters. Other than memories of my dad demanding I never cut my hair, I remember watching my mom, aunt, and grandmother give each other home permanents...I can still smell that smell, in fact. I remember how my cousin Kathy wanted long hair but her mom, Linda, wouldn't let her grow it out. Kathy would take a single strand of yarn and drape it over her head to pretend she had long hair like mine. I remember harrassing my mother to stop dyeing her hair because the silver strands were so pretty and shiny.
Yeah, that last one came back to bite me in the butt years later when my own silver strands were so pretty and shiny.
Anyway, I used to have long, straight dark brown hair, which I put in hot rollers every blessed day of my teenage years. See?
The pretty lady in argyle is my aunt, the one who wouldn't let Kathy have long hair. I love her anyway. We share a birthday during the week of Thanksgiving, so our family photos of Thanksgiving always include a picture of the two of us cutting a cake. This particular celebration took place around 1980, in case you're too young to remember big tinted glasses and Dorothy Hamill haircuts.
When cousin Kathy went to college, she grew her curly hair really long. When I went to college, I cut my straight hair very, very short. So short, in fact, that mom's patients would see my picture and would say, "My, what a handsome son you have!"
I eventually got tired of the gender confusion and grew it long again.
Then, when my dog Shemya died, I had it cut to medium length.
Then short again.
And there it stayed for the past 10 years, except for the failed attempt to grow it out a few years ago. It has changed texture as it's gone gray, and now, my head is full of stiff wires with a couple of weird flips that won't behave. On really bad hair days, it looks like this.
Jack took this picture a few weeks ago. He likes to pretend he wants to take pictures of me with my camera, but as soon as he snaps one, he pronounces it good and then takes lots of pictures of his own hands, feet, and face. We might get him a camera of his own for Christmas, and he can load a hard drive with photos of parts of himself. I will then be spared more pictures like the one above. Best Christmas present ever!
My recent obsession with Pinterest has made me want to do something about my hair. Lots of people pin pictures of gorgeous hair...wedding hair, celebrity hair, model hair. My hair cannot look like the hair in those pictures. Mine is middle-aged hair. Straight hair. Gray hair. Coarse, ill-behaved hair.
But that is hardly a reason for me to neglect it.
When I went to my stylist yesterday, I tried to tell her what I want to do, and she seemed skeptical. She knows hair well, and has cut mine for almost eight years. It will take a bit more growing out to get it where I want it (pictures to come in a few months!), but even she was surprised how much an improvement my new idea was. She told me my instincts were good, and that she needed to expand her own vision to be more creative in her work and encourage other clients to branch out.
I told her about Pinterest. She's eager to let that monkey climb on her back.
And hopefully, in a few months, I'll be able to put a picture of my new do on my Thankful Tree and feel like, at the very least, I've done my best for now.