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power to the strand

July 27, 2010

I got my hair done today. Not just a shampoo and cut. Not just a blow dry and style. Not even just color or highlights. After fifty three years, I spent several hours today being a model. At less than five feet tall, that has never been a goal of mine, at least not a realistic one. Yet, yesterday I received a call from the salon where I do get my hair colored and cut. They were having a training on a new technique to straighten curly hair and needed models, willing curly heads on which to demonstrate the product.

As my head was over due for color and had a dramatic skunkstripe down the middle, I went last night for a color touch up first. Then this morning, I went to the salon wearing my worst possible hair, bed head with no product or tool used. My head with such an unruly mop was over a foot wide. After three and a half hours, I immerged into the light of day feeling as though ten years had been washed away. In the mirror was not only the head of a straight haired girl, but one whose heart dared to forget the scar, the drugs, the tests and the tiredness. “There I am,” I laugh into the mirror. The ends of my hair bleached out by dryness, drugs and sun, seem anew with highlighted shine. I turn my head with a spring in my step and bounce in my locks, freed by this surprise gift of a girl’s dream.

I was a child of the seventies. I hung my curly, frizzy head over ironing boards, burning my neck at least once each time, searching ever after for that illusive straight hair worn by the hippies I was then too young to be part of. I was a straight haired girl in a curly haired girl’s body.

The flat iron changed my life, but like Cinderella running from the stroke of midnight, I ran from rain, humidity and swimming pools. In the blink of an eye or the fall of a raindrop, my princess hippy do could vanish, turning once more to a massive mushroom of friz.

With curly friz, my reflection has always seemed alien at best, tired, old and worn at the worst. It had been that tired and old stranger I saw of late, one who matched the pain in my chest, ache in my heart and fatigue I wore as an old lady frock.

They tell my this new product and technique will actually strenghten my hair. They say that when I wash it in forty eight hours, the curl will be gone. All that will remain will be a slight wave and no friz at all. They tell me I will be able to blow it dry and go on my way, never again to be tied to umbrella and flat iron. Though I’ll need this same treatment every three or four months for the rest of time, it seems I have the hair of my dreams. My wrong body has been transformed. At last, the head in my thought matches the one in the looking glass.

There is power in the strand. There is power in reflection; not just personal contemplative, soul searching reflection, but the vane reflection of a young girl’s dream, observed by her crone of an older version, finally seeing herself as herself. Vanity is a blessing, too.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. July 30, 2010 1:41 pm

    Hi Allie – you should post ‘before’ and ‘after’ photos of your new ‘do! And let us know if that curl is actually gone, and if you find yourself slowing down in front of shop windows now, surprised at your new reflection in the glass!

    Isn’t it interesting how we always wish we had what others have? I always envied my little sister Bev’s beautiful thick naturally curly locks while growing up – and she envied my baby-fine straight hair!!!

    Love your site,
    Carolyn (aka “Kenna”)

  2. MaryLG permalink
    July 31, 2010 12:07 pm

    Just read most of your blog before you get to older entries. How well you capture it… I could wax on but you know what I mean, right?

    I have curly hair, too. Funny, this year of all years, my hair is the best it’s ever been…for days and days, sleeping on it night after night. I wake up and it’s good. What a trade, huh?

    I, too, love your site! Your new friend; Mary

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