Yesterday I got my hair trimmed, colored and styled.  I love having this done, and have managed to find good stylists both in Hilton Head and Long Island.  Doing this always reminds me of my history with my hair – and my checkered feelings towards it – and now – the good feelings I have about it.

Of all the human features I notice – – on me and others – – the one I have the most affinity to is “hair”.  I’m drawn to notice it’s length, texture, style, color.  Most people admit to noticing people’s eyes or facial features first.  With me it’s hair – on men and women.  I don’t know why this is so, but it’s been like this since before I remember.  If the truth be known, maybe I should be paying more attention to other things – like my weight.   And – the truth is that facial expressions show more of a person’s “insides” than their hair does.  But, maybe my affinity to hair is my avoidance of these other, more difficult issues – or maybe it’s things in my past.  To explain…

When I was in 4th grade, I had long(er) hair and wore it in pigtails.  Each morning my mom would do them for me before I went off to school.  If it wasn’t done that way, my hair was usually all over the place and left to hang tangled and unkempt.  My mom appeared to be the only one who cared, and that year there was intense pressure on me to get my hair cut in what was then called a “Pixie”.  This style was very short – – cut above the ears and layered all over.  I don’t remember the circumstances and how and why I gave in, (I did have a choice) but that year I had my hair cut in that style.  I think the pressure to do it came both from my mom and grandmother, who offered to pay for a salon visit for me.  They tried to make this event “special” – – but I knew, even then, that it was not about that.  It was to get all that ragtag hair off of me and into something that looked neat(er).

I was not happy, though I don’t think I realized just how unhappy until I began to let my hair grow out of that style.  There is always this “transition length” between “short” and “long”, where it is harder to care for your hair and still have it look nice.  In those years, I didn’t know how to do it, and the hair styles that were popular during those years required more effort.  I’d get frustrated – and cut it all over again.  I was getting to the age where I did care, but was left with what I considered a “boy style” – and there wasn’t much to style.  I longed for the long hair I saw on most of my friends.  Not only that – when I reached puberty, my hair suddenly went very dry, became wavy (read: frizzy) and “fly away” – and that made it doubly difficult to grow.  I hated my hair.  I wanted everyone else’s hair but mine.

Since that point, I never let my hair grow much past that “Pixie” length.  There was one time when I was influenced by the Dorothy Hamill hair cut and I did get a little length on it – but – again – I cut it when I became frustrated with the tangles and the difficulty in styling.

I’m now age 60.  I’ve noticed as I’ve aged that my hair has tamed a bit.  Though still thick and a little wavy, my hair is a little less “wild”, and doesn’t seem to be quite as difficult to handle.

So – a few years ago I decided that this is my last chance to have “long hair”.   I’m going to make up for all those years of short hair  — as if I can really do that.

It has been told to me that long hair ages a person.  There’s a “belief” out there that long hair is for the youth – short hair is for older folks, and if you defy that “rule” – you actually make yourself look older, as it appears “incongruent”.  You cannot hide facial and neck “wrinkles” with your long hair, and the contrast of “young hair” and “old wrinkles” is what makes one’s older “age” stick out so strongly.  Or – that’s what some people say.  I’m not sure I buy this, but I see their point.

However, I do sense that long flowing *gray* locks might age a person – as it can give an unkempt appearance if the hair texture is more frizzy.  And – I’ve been told that gray hair does change in texture and becomes a little more like that.  (I know mine has!)  However, I’m coloring my hair and the coloring has helped this issue – at least with me.

My hair is actually longer than shoulder length now – maybe about as long, or slightly longer, than it was in 4th grade when I had it cut.  I’ve been told by many that I DO look good in this style (although how many people would tell me if they didn’t like it???)  I’m continuing to let it grow so that I can more easily pull it back into a pony tail.  Because I’m allowing it to be more layered – and a little shorter on the side, there are some shorter parts which don’t quite make the pony tail yet.  But – to me – the layered look is a bit more “mature” than evenly cut hair long hair – which, to me, may appear more “teenager-ish”.

But – the good news is that – – I CAN ACTUALLY TAKE CARE OF MY HAIR!  YAY!!!  It is helping me wipe out all those old feelings of incompetence – at least as it concerns taking care of my hair.    

I know I’m helped by the today’s styles – particular the simple, smooth, straight style.  All I need to do is take a large roller brush after washing.  And — no setting nor blow drying is needed after sleeping on it – or between washings.  I’m also not forcing my hair to do anything it doesn’t want to do, so I’m simply allowing my hair to fall the way it wants to – which translates into a middle part instead of a side part.  I’m also keeping slightly whispy bangs – so I don’t have hair in my eyes.

For the first time in my life I actually LIKE my hair.  Oh – at times I wish it was more straight.  But – the wave (and thickness) I do have in it translates into body that makes my straight style look good – – and not TOO straight.

I admit – there are issues.  My hair is thick, yet fine, which makes it tangle more easily when wet.  I have to spend a good amount of time carefully combing it out after washing, and I wonder when that will suddenly be too much, as it will only get worse as it grows.  But – for now – I’m good.  I *can* do this!  And – I also admit that there may come a time when I will say “it’s over” – time to cut it – for whatever reason (maybe because it is time I stop coloring and “go gray”?).  However, my best guess is that this day is not close to being here yet.

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Me 🙂 … 2-4-10 – Lifetouch formal church photo