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Before I Shampoo

July 31, 2010

Just a few thoughts before I wash my hair. I came into this world with curls. They were not soft, dainty curls. They were kinky curls.

Me, at almost two

My mother kept my hair cut short. As I got older, I noticed how different my hair was from other girls. Theirs was long. Mine was short. Theirs was straight. Mine was curly and kinky. Theirs was soft. Mine was course and not soft at all. I wanted to grow it out. My mother wouldn’t let me. Old women  use to ooh and ahh over my hair. Young women never did. My friends never spoke of it. They were being kind, I think. My mother talked of how wonderful it was to have curly hair. I see now she was trying to help me not hate it so. I resented it then. The expression here says it all.

Finally, my mom promised me that when I turned thirteen, I could grow my hair out. I turned thirteen in 1970, and longed to wear bell bottoms, tie died shirts, a headband and a flower in my dreamed about LONG, STRAIGHT hair! Sure enough, I didn’t allow a pair of scissors near my head for years after that birthday. I found though, that the longer my hair grew, the worse it became. I ironed it, rolled it on massive rollers, braided it, anything to tame the unruliness of it all. There was a lot to tame, too. My hair was not only curly, but course, kinky and dry, too. It was also extremely thick. If left alone, it could swell to a width close to my height. That is an exaggeration of course, but not so much as you might think.

Finally, after a decade or so, I cut it short again. I admitted that like my mother was about most things, she was also right about my hair. It did look much better short. I gave up the dream of long, flowing, touchable hair. For awhile.

After two more decades, I decided to let it grow out again. Products had changed. The invention of the modern-day curling iron helped as did chemical straighteners and relaxers, at least for a while. It was the modern flat-iron that changed my life, however. Though time-consuming and subject to the disastrous effects of rain or humidity, I could finally have straight and even soft hair.

Heart surgery and illness were both a challenge to my vanity. After having my chest sawed open, I couldn’t lift a hairbrush much less a flatiron. My dear Lisa learned to straighten like the pros and my daughters pitched in as well. They both have curly locks, though not near as curly as mine. They have the beautiful, long, thick touchable curls of hair commercials. I’m so glad. I don’t know if I could’ve lived with the guilt of passing such a head of mayhem on to my beloved girls.

Moving near the lake and discovering how wonderful I feel in the water and how well I can move compared to movement on land,  has created a battle over my energy chips. While my intense vane steak demands my hair not be hideous, fixing it everyday and taking all those hours that are required to dry and straighten it, simply have not been allowed following time in the water and the effects of the heat on my heart. As a result, my hair has looked its worst. Pulled into several clips (one would NEVER contain it!) most days, I avoided the mirror, feeling old and tired; too tired to fool with my hair.

Then, well, you know what happened. I got that call. I became a model for a moment. Now, the moment has come. What will my hair be like after I wash it. I have waited the required forty-eight hours and forty-eight more. Here goes….


hmmm…doesn’t have that straw feeling it always does when wet …


definitely doesn’t feel like straw…feels…well…soft…I can run my hands and fingers through it before conditioner!


let it sit for a minute or two…

let’s not jump the gun here…


feels soft and almost straight,

very soft in fact

I towel dry my hair and look in the mirror. I comb it.

Now, let’s pause here. I can never just comb my hair straight out of the shower. It is typically full of tangles, kinks and knots, no matter how much or what brand conditioner I use. To simply comb through my hair is, well, it’s a miracle! Yet, that’s exactly what I do. I comb my hair. It still has a few waves, no curls though.

I debate whether to blow it dry or not. I decide to let it air dry as I want so much to see exactly what it would be like if I do nothing, absolutely nothing to it. I can’t dare imagine being able to truly wash and go…swim and go…get wet in the rain and go…get out of bed in the morning and go…

So, I wait…

One Comment leave one →
  1. MaryLG permalink
    August 1, 2010 3:04 am

    I am relatively sure that angels are singing on behalf of your new hair.

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