I grew up hating my hair. I never knew what to do with it, and the trends at the time were not my friend. My hair untamed is a frizzy wavy mess. I’ve had it many lengths and it wasn’t until recently that I finally just gave up and let it live the life it wants to live. My hair owns me I do not own my hair. We have a weird relationship.
Let’s start from the beginning.
When I was little my mom always did our hair. There was always a lot of hairspray. No really, our hair crunched and was not far from being a helmet with a giant bow. I used to be so jealous of the girls who would wear their hair down at school. They’d play with it and braid it and put it up in a ponytail and then take it down and swish it back and forth. My mom would pull ours out of our face every morning, put it in a ponytail, a barrette, or a bow, and then spray that sucker down. There were no loose hairs anywhere. It would not move for the entire day. Even if there was a strong wind.
We also did dance recitals, where our hair would be pulled back so tight that our eyes were at our ears. Up in a bun it would go, with a blue eye shadow and a bright red lip before the red lip was a thing. And of course more hairspray.
As I got older I used to go in to the hair salon with my mom and I’d have a magazine cutout of the latest female pop star and I would ask them to make me look just like them. This never worked. Ever. I wanted to be Lizzie McGuire, Michelle Branch, Vanessa Hudgens. The poor hair stylists would try so hard. But the one thing these ladies all had in common was straight, flat hair. I wanted that hair so bad, and I wanted the woman at the JCPenney hair salon with crazy colors in her own hair to change me.
I would try slicking my hair down with gel, then I’d try to give myself bangs, also like Lizzie McGuire, and they would just be these stringy gross strands on each side of my face waving around back and forth. My hair was an oily scraggly monster.
Lizzie McGuire was my hair idol. Her and Miranda. I once went to Winterfest (I think it was called Winterfest? That’s what came to me first so I’m sticking to it) in middle school with my hair in pigtails and then the pigtails were separated into braids. I also wore overalls. I saw it on the show and I thought I was the shit.
You see I always wanted that Princess Diaries moment, where Princess Mia has that crazy mane and then Paolo does god knows what to it and suddenly her hair is on the same level as Mandy Moore. Because Mandy Moore was where you wanted to be, you did not want to be pre-Paolo Princess Mia.
I would want that reaction, I wanted to go to get my hair done and come to school the next week being like BAM, BAM, BAM AWESOME HAIR NEW ME. Again, this never happened. No one ever noticed when there was a change in my hair, because to be honest I never really did anything that different to it to make it noticeable. JCPenney woman would trim it and tell me it was up to me to get it to look like Michelle Branch. I was like 13, I had no idea what that meant.
I also went through a phase where I wore a lot of headband bandannas, and these weird plastic clips up and down my hair in patterns. Lizzie McGuire can be thanked for that as well. Oh, and I for serious bought one of those As Seen On TV things where you could part your hair in weird patterns. I. Thought. I. Was. The. Shit.
But no one noticed. Obviously.
Then one day my aunt took me to Nancy. My aunt sort of gave me my Princess Mia moment. We went to this fancy salon (like a real salon) and my aunt and Nancy chatted about my hair and my eyebrows as I sat there unsure of what would happen. Nancy trimmed my hair, gave me proper bangs, and also reddish highlights. Then another woman waxed my eyebrows and my eyes watered so bad. Then we went to Tommy Hilfiger and I got a new outfit and then I started 10th grade being like BAM, BAM, BAM NEW HAIR AND NEW EYEBROWS AND NEW CLOTHES BITCHES. Honestly though, not much changed because you can have pretty hair and no self confidence so people still sit on you because they don’t realize you’re sitting there. High School fucking sucks.
Anyway, back to hair.
So after I graduated High School I stopped caring about my appearance mostly because everyone goes to classes in college in their pajamas. I went to most of my classes in sweatpants and an oversize sweatshirt. I started to only trust Nancy with my hair anyway, and unless I was going to visit my aunt, I just didn’t get my hair cut. The split ends were horrifying, like they could have poked someone’s eye out they were so all over the place.
I met Marc while my hair was in full wild things mode. I was going through this phase where I would put this curling spray on it, blow dry it, then tease it and hair spray it to death. My hair was HUGE. It was huge and it was crunchy and then the Florida humidity gave it LIFE. IT WAS ALIVE. I lost headbands in there. You couldn’t even tell I was wearing them my hair was so big.
Yet Marc STILL talked to me. Which, people of the internet, means looks don’t always matter. What’s that? I know I was laughing too, let me wipe the tears from my eyes. We aren’t here for life lessons we’re here to talk about hair and laugh at all my pictures. I mean look at this one, what the hell is happening in that nest on my head?
After our wedding I decided I wanted to do something drastic. It was the end of August and I was in my car at work one day eating lunch and my hair was sticking to the sweat on my back and I decided I just wanted to chop it all off. It was the first time I’d gone to someone other than Nancy, but I found a fancy salon in Florida and a nice woman chatted with me while she snipped away at my hair. She did a very nice job and it turned out super cute. I could wear it in cute pigtails, and I had it under control.
A few months later though the cut was getting a little out of hand as it was growing out, so I decided right before Marc and I went on our honeymoon to go back and have the style fixed up. The woman who did it originally wasn’t there, so they said they would assign me to someone else who had the same skills.
This was all a lie. All of it. This woman, with her crazy blonde Kate Plus 8 haircut hacked all my hair off and left me with nothing. She was also like cutting herself up with the scissors while she was destroying my hair. I’m being serious, she was BLEEDING, blood was running down her fingers as my hair was floating to the floor. But, you see, I’m basically blind, so I have to take my glasses off while I’m getting my hair cut. So I didn’t realize what was happening until it was too late. It was horrendous. I looked like a soccer mom. I went home and cried.
A year later I went to Nancy and she tried to shape it out so it would grow better. I vowed to never trust anyone but Nancy ever again. I heart you Nancy. Nancy is one of the most important people in my life. She makes sure I don’t make bad choices.
I have gone to someone since I moved to Ithaca, only because Nancy told me I should probably do that because the last time I went to her it had been three years since I’d had my hair cut and I got quite a look when she saw the disaster that was my hair. I went to the Regis in the mall and paid a girl a lot of money to convince me that I could trust her. She did an acceptable job, so I’ve decided she can be my stand in Nancy for the time being. (Nancy will always be my number one though. #StephanieHeartsNancy4Ever)
I feel though like now my hair and I are sort on good terms in that I have given up trying to make it do things it doesn’t want to do. If one day it’s all like, “Girl, curls aren’t gonna happen today.” Then I’m like whatever and it just waves in some places and straightens in others and then it frizzy poofs on the top sticking every which way. I bought a hat to show some sort of authority on days when it just gets out of hand, but sometimes even that doesn’t matter much.
The new thing since the weather has been cold is the static. It is literally everywhere. Sticking to my cheeks and floating in the air like some sort of alien trying to suck the life out of my face. If I didn’t have glasses I’m sure it would go straight for my eyeballs to blind me. I’ve tried dryer sheets, but they do nothing. The beast cannot be contained.
I’ve also decided that once I get to a certain age I’m just going to let my hair grow and grow and grow. I would like to be cousin It, and wear my hair as a scarf and a dress or a shawl all at the same time. It will have it’s own personality and it would keep me warm, like a nice fuzzy blanket. Or it could be a cape. Because honestly a cape would be cooler. All the cool kids are wearing capes now. Super heroes are in. My hair will one day kick some serious ass.