Sunday, November 16, 2014

“Long as I can grow it, my hair…..”

“Long as I can grow it, my hair…..”

I have a love/hate relationship with my hair. When I was very young, it usually involved screaming a lot. I had a very “tender” head. In other words, everything hurt. Mom washed my hair in the kitchen sink, with me lying on the counter. It was so baby fine that it tangled every time. And this was before conditioners or de-tanglers. It was thin and stick straight. We tried home perms, rag curls, rollers, (both smooth and brush rollers). My school pictures really showcase the efforts, sadly. So, usually, around the end of the school year, we cut it.

The style was called a “Pixie”. My dad called it a “DA” for duck’s ass. The cut was logical, as I spent most of my time in the water, whenever possible, and it avoided those fights with Mom. But my cousins had beautiful long California blond locks. My favorite aunt, who was just a bit older than me, had incredible long red hair. And here I was, short, fine, muddy blond hair. Sad.

For years I tried everything out there. Perms that left me looking like Angela Davis or a poodle. I cut it very short again when I joined the Army. This was pre-blow dryers, and no one had time to style their hair! For my wedding day, I managed to get it just past shoulder length, with a slight curl. That died by the end of the day. And again, since I did martial arts most days, I sweated and everything just plastered to my head. So short hair always seemed to be the right option.

I tried to grow it out. It would make it to just below shoulder length, and then start to split and just stopped growing. Finally, again, I cut it all off. I wore my hair about two inches long for about 5 years. I have to admit that I enjoyed the freedom of just stepping out of the shower, applying a bit of gel and walking out the door. I dyed it red for 25 years, then developed an allergy to hair dyes, and had to quit. But now, my hair is aging, just like the rest of me. My silver highlights look deliberate, and when it was short, a lot of people thought that I had them professionally done. I just said, “God highlighted my hair!”

The challenge with short hair is that you have to have it trimmed every 3 weeks to maintain the look. I found a wonderful hairdresser and visited her religiously. My hair was still fine, but with a good cut, it was healthy. Then, horror of horrors, she quit. Now, she had a good reason. Her mother was ill and she was caring for her. But what to do?? A lot of my friends have shared the horror story of trying to find a new stylist when they move or their hairdresser leaves. And it’s true. It’s a trust relationship.

So, I didn’t find another hairdresser. My hair lost its shape, and started to look shaggy. I just I pinned it, and used a lot of gel. Then, something weird happened. It started to look good. The silver spots flowed into a streak, and softened the whole thing. Grey hair has more texture than younger hair, I’ve read, and now I could see some body in my style. I started to enjoy my hair for the first time in my life.

I decided to give it one more try. Around this time, I found a new endocrinologist. I’d been diagnosed and treated for Hashimoto’s syndrome for about 20 years, and was undiagnosed for another 20. One of the symptoms of thyroid diseases is thin or thinning hair. My new endo put me on a natural thyroid replacement, rather than the Synthroid I’d taken for so long. My hair started to get thicker. It kept growing, way past the limits it had before. Now, it’s down past mid back, and shows no signs of stopping.

I started doing some research about long hair, since I decided to keep it. There are a lot of websites out there with advice. I changed shampoos, and stopped washing it every day. I started using argan oil to condition it, stopped using the blow dryer. I even bought a different brush. I comb it carefully when it’s wet. And I’m ignoring all the people who say that women over 50 really shouldn’t have long hair. Let’s see how long I can grow it…”gimme a head with hair…long, beautiful hair”