For too many years, I have had my hair straightened. This behavior started in the early 1960’s, when everyone was admiring hair without kinks and curls. I am certain I even ironed my loose locks to appear fashionable. I remember my sister and I driving one-half hour each way to have an appointment with the desired stylist. I couldn’t accept what nature gave me.
One weekend when I was in college, I visited a man at another school and looked great when I arrived in Philly from New York-my hair appearing long and shiny and straight. By the end of the weekend, my hair had shrunk to a shorter length as it returned to its natural state. I don’t recall if I ever heard from him again.
Several years ago, a new technique surfaced-keratin-a less-harsh way of destroying the curls. Every few months, Jenny, my stylist put this goop on my hair and flat-ironed it till all the life drained out of my curly locks. I was sort of thrilled with my new look, but my hair looked burnt and unhealthy.
Winter is an easier season for curly haired females, as the lack of humidity is not there to encourage the frizz. But now spring is edging towards summer, and my hair was becoming curly again. For now I decided to no longer get the treatments. I also grew tired of beating my hair into submission with blow dryers and hot irons.
So, one Monday morning, when I was headed to a discussion group, I just let it dry naturally. I can’t say my hair looked great-more frizz than curl, but I liked myself better.
Being self-centered, I assumed my friends at the meeting would comment on my unruly locks. But nobody said anything. I have to accept the truth that I am not the center of attention in other people’s lives. How had I become so narcissistic?
I know now that I am just like everyone else, and have to become authentic rather than trying to look a certain way. Still recovering from depression, being real, looking like my real self and speaking my mind have all taken center stage. I no longer have to hide for fear I am not good enough.