I’m pretty pleased with my hair these days. It isn’t stylish, but neither am I. It suits my lifestyle. My natural curls are oblivious to spring winds and rain, summer humidity, and winter snow. They bounce right back after time spent inside a hoodie. They don’t care if I forget to wash them for a day. My natural color suits me too. Even while approaching sixty I have very few gray hairs. I’m not sure it would bother me if I did, but I just don’t. Bigg Mama’s hair- that’s what I have. I looked at her curly brown hair when she was in her seventies and asked her repeatedly if she colored it. The answer was always no.
I have not always been so happy with my hair, and I have certainly not been kind to it. I have ironed it, rolled it on spiky curlers, teased it, sprayed it, colored it, cut it, and even permed it in an attempt to bend it to my will. That last step seems absurd until you realize that for many years I lived in California (no humidity) with long straight hair. The constant pulling and ironing, plus the length and sheer weight of it kept it straight. So of course I occasionally wanted it to curl a little.
I’ve had nearly every color of hair you can have, from the darkest of dark to the lightest of light. I don’t know why women love to change the color of their hair, but we do. I guess it makes us different for a while, and we all have times when we want to be different.
Hair “style” has always been my downfall. I spent many tearful hours trying to look like some star or model in a magazine. I never could quite adapt my hair to the picture of a hairstyle that I thought I had to have. When long hair was the rage I had short. When short hair was fashionable I had long. And I never had good luck with salons. Once I asked a stylist to trim one inch off my hair. She ended up taking off about three and I looked like a boy. I cried for hours.
I participated in a hair styling show once. Not as glamorous as it sounds, but lots of fun. There was an ad in the paper for women with “14-inch untreated hair”. Luckily I qualified that year. My hair was easily 14 inches long and hadn’t been permed or colored in over a year. I met one of the stylists at the hotel where the show was to take place. She explained that the show was going to demonstrate new perms and hairstyles for the coming spring. So I agreed to let them first perm my hair that day, and later cut my hair on stage. I loved the perm, but wasn’t crazy about the geometric hair cut that took months to grow out evenly.
I probably haven’t been too much help to my girls over the years. One has curly hair and the other has wavy hair. I have to confess to being at least partially responsible for some less-than-wonderful haircuts and styles for both of them. But they soon took the brush away from me and did their own thing. And I think they were more successful than I ever was with my hair. Both have at times wanted their hair to do “something else”, but have had to find their own way to hair that suits their lifestyle.
My students say I have “crazy hair”. Some asked about it at the beginning of the year. One girl made the comment, “my mom curled her hair like that once, but she didn’t like it”. Another asked me why it looked like D’s (an African American child). I always give them the same answer. This is the hair God gave me, and I like it!