This is the hair that happened while I was not paying attention. In other words, it is my real hair. No blow drying. No irons. No products. Just me.
This morning, glancing up from a particularly intense GRE study session (because I will have that doctorate), I caught a glimpse of my wild self in a mirror. And it shocked me.
I saw for the first time that my real hair is full of waves, with tighter ringlets closer to my neck. It is also kind of frizzy. I think this is because, while I know exactly how to prep my hair for straightening, for setting in rollers, for blowing it out smooth, or otherwise obscuring my own curls, I really haven’t the slightest idea how to care for the hair with which I was born.
And gosh, that’s kind of sad. How is it that I only know how to become something else? How did I miss learning how to care for what I am?
It’s not that I’ve ever really hated my waves, they’ve just made me uncomfortable in a way I can’t exactly define. A bit too country? Too girlish? Too untamed—but, ooh, that’s troubling now, because I am fairly certain I’ve no wish to be tame.
This morning, I saw my wild self in the mirror, and I felt love. I realized that I love my real hair. I realized that I must love it, for I know how this hair happened. This hair happened because, frankly, I’ve been busy. All those irons and dryers and rollers have tumbled quite low on my list of priorities.
But it’s not just “being busy” that has done this. This is not a story of, “Meh, I just don’t care anymore.” It’s the very opposite of that.
This hair is the result of caring about myself and my world at a higher level than I’ve ever dared before.
I used to busy myself with a hundred things I really did not enjoy. I had a career that was draining my spirit, friends who thrived on negativity, and emotionally unavailable, yet highly controlling partners. I went along to events that secretly bored me to tears, all while accepting the premise that my own talents and interests weren’t worthy, interesting, or important enough to pursue at a deeper level. And throughout this masquerade, I played along with perfect, shining, totally not-me hair.
It’s amazing the amount of time one can find for mask-making, when the scope of a life is cast according to someone else’s mold. It’s much harder—and much more time-consuming—to seek out an independent drummer, to design a march that is truly one’s own.
When I consider the things which devour my time these days (helping, and studies; exploring, and studies; writing, and studies; mothering, and studies), I see that they are all good, positive, soul-growing things. They are the things which, at long last, most reflect and complement me: the natural, imperfect, untamed, unpolished, unpretending, slightly frizzy me. The me who I never really hated, but for some reason, always felt uncomfortable showing to anyone.
In the very busy work of accepting that woman, in loving her, in letting her out of her box, this is the hair that happened.
This is me.
The real me.
I will keep it, gladly.
My Hair tells My Stories.
Author: Katie-Anne Laulumets
Assistant Editor: JoJo Rowden/Editor: Travis May
Images: Author’s own
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