Lately, my hair has has been driving me insane.
It’s in the ultimate awkward stage right now, and no matter what I do with it, I’m not quite happy with how it looks. See here’s the problem: Just over a year ago, while I was in California killing time and realizing that I have no business living in Cali or working in Logistics, I got fed up and chopped my hair. The Haircut. Gone were those long locks that had been practically to the small of my back since the fifth grade. Gone was the girl I was, here was the woman I am. That was the feeling – I think – although it really just happened on an impulse (walk-ins welcome on a weekend night). It’s just hair, right? Then when I got home to my trusted hairstylist – the one who tamed those locks all through puberty – she cut in quality layers and it was done. A Beautiful Bob. The all the excess weight was cut, I blogged about it, and I was a new woman. (trying at least).
Then this year happened. There was Uniqlo, and then there was no Uniqlo, and there were plane rides and interviews and lots of things. Blah blah blah. But by the time a new life began for me in May, the haircut just didn’t feel right. It was too in between, and this city doesn’t do in-betweens (no wonder I fit so well). This city is Spanish Harlem next to the Upper East Side. Park Slope next to Crown Heights. Black and White. Pixie cuts and hair long enough for thick top-knots. Nothing in between. I’ve always been enough of a Gamma Girl to want elements of my own style, but I’ve also always been enough of a chameleon that where I am affects who I am. So I decided I’d grow it out again. That’s not so hard, right? It’s just hair.
The problem with that is that hair doesn’t grow back as fast as it cuts off. So now what I have is a style that wasn’t made to be how it is now, but it isn’t quite to where it will be in the future. Nothing is right about it. The bangs aren’t anything near bangs anymore, but they’re too short to be pulled back with the rest of the hair. A few strands get pulled automatically behind the ears, but the others flop listlessly forward over my nose. Supposedly there are layers but I am beginning to wonder, and it was either over thinned or underthinned and somehow my opinion on that changes based on the day. It sits right at the shoulders, meaning simple movements or even sitting upright bend and shape it in unexpected ways. The texture is changing too, which is apparently normal. People’s hair changes over time, and its color and texture are actually very much affected by events and phases like puberty, pregnancy, chemotherapy. Fortunately I’m not experiencing any of those right now, but I suppose my life without them is definitive in itself. What once was uncontrollably full and wild is now flatter and straighter.
What’s more, it never does anything the way it’s supposed to no matter how hard I try, and frankly, I can’t even manage to do anything the same way it was done the day before. Today it flips out. Tomorrow it will flip in. It will be frizzy one day and alarmingly flat another. And that cowlick – that infuriating genetic reality – is as untamable as ever.
And you don’t really want to cut anything off of it, because you feel like you’re ruining your progress. You worked hard to grow that. And besides, if you do chop it to “work” now, who’s to say it will look right when you finally get it where you want it. And then you’ll find yourself thinking gosh this haircut would be perfect if I just had that piece back. But once it’s gone it’s gone. Gotta think hard about what you cut.
I decided I couldn’t take it a couple weeks ago and got the color taken care of at least – that was a step. Darker for fall, a little less Joan Halloway and a little more Jackie Kennedy. But that’s a little weird too, because when it falls out, I don’t even recognize it. I see these dark, straight strands laying around the house and wonder who was here. Not red ringlets, and not dirty-blonde pixie remnants, so they can’t belong to a roommate. Every time I see a strand I have to remind myself – that’s from you. That’s you now.
One day I’ll be able to run my fingers through it again. I’ll be able to toss it over my shoulders, twirling it like a six-year-old spinning in an A-line dress. I’ll get a beautiful cut that fits the length, and I’ll be set. Settled.
The thing I’m probably most excited for is being able – once again – to don the ultimate morning after something interesting style – the messy bun. What a fantastic creation. Effortless throwing up of something messy but contained. Well functioning despite its erratic appearance. Organized chaos. A far cry from what I have today and everyday of late. Right now, my hair is disorganized chaos. Meaning, just chaos.
I heard that the other day about me. The person who said that wasn’t talking about my hair.
That’s the funny thing – that you girls know – when we talk about our hair, we’re never really talking about out hair, are we?
“The great thing in the world is not so much where we stand, as in what direction we are moving.” – Oliver Wendell Holmes