Being compared to Shirley Temple was nice. The fact that I neither looked like her nor tap danced up and down the stairs did not dissuade the comparison from the straight hair majority who appeared to think we curly heads were all related. It was as if protein filaments that formed ringlets were the sign of a unique race to which I was clearly one.
Now, if you’ve straight hair, at this point in the blog you have a couple of options. You can yawn and close the link, or read on trusting I’m expressing deep truths of some sort or other. Personally, I’m inclined toward the latter. Without further ado…
My poor mother had no experience of curly hair and when I arrived as a baby, she was smitten with mine. She’d spend hours rolling my soft locks around her fingers. And then I grew up. By the time I was ready for school, the love affair was over. Getting a brush through my hair was a painful ordeal. Nobody told her you don’t brush curly hair when it’s dry. You comb it out when it’s wet and leave it be to dry. Period.
When I entered my teens, everything fashionable was straight. From Cher to Twiggy, the sleeker the hair the better. In an effort to get straight (no double entendre intended) I called soup cans, irons, and bad products into service. I became addicted to weather reports knowing even a hint of humidity would ruin my do. I avoided elevators knowing a sneeze in those close quarters could create frizz. Any hint of moister no matter how seemingly insignificant was an enemy who turned soft, pliable, smooth styles to bad afros in a matter of seconds. Worse, the texture is Brilloesque. No guff. You hair actually feels brittle enough to snap off. Yep. Just like it looks.
Needless to say, the relationship I had with my curls was mostly a hateful one. Of course, I had moments of rapture, but few until I surrendered to genetics, and new products. Halleluia and thanks be to every scientist ever! New hair gels, lotions and potions became available which tame the frizz and produce lovely curls. Okay, that might be a slight exaggeration, but at least much less burr-headed stuff.
Do not misunderstand, though. Just when you think you’ve figured a way to control the mop, the mop will change, grow weary of the latest mousse or cream, and rise up – literally. Back to the shops to consult for something new. Drat.
Still, at this stage of the game, I’m happy to still have hair and the curls make it seem I’ve a lot more of it than I do. Sure, the days when it’s dry and furry aren’t preferred, but mostly, the curls are soft and kind of pretty, truth be told.
This past weekend I went to a festival in a Welsh woodland. My kin were there in plenty in all shapes and sizes – of curls, that is. I decided to adopt a new appreciation for the messy chaos of my unruly filaments and be happy about them, once and for all. I’ll hazard a guess that straight hair folks complain about their locks from time to time. Part of our natures, maybe, to complain. Better, maybe we just get a bit bored. Whatever the case, I’m singing the praises of my hair today instead of bemoaning it.
So tonight’s wish is for self-appreciation. We are magical, generous, beautiful and loving beings inextricably woven together with dull, stingy, ugly and hateful beings. Perhaps the first step to real change is accepting ourselves completely. Loving the curls despite most others being straight means we accept our unique qualities. As we grow to love ourselves as we are, seeing others with compassion, and understanding, even though different from us, should be easier and easier, more natural and instinctive, with each day. How could we respond any different if coming from a heart filled with love? Surely we could all appreciate something about ourselves that could use a little more appreciating.