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The Long and Short of It

I wake up late and now I have to rush in order to be on time. I splash some water on my face, brush my teeth, grab some coffee, mascara and lipstick, throw my hair in a ponytail and I’m out. I am pleased at how quickly I put myself together and yet I still feel like that mom who let herself go after having 4 kids. By “let herself go,” I don’t mean she is not beautiful. She is. In fact, she is absolutely gorgeous. It’s just that she has been putting everyone else’s needs before her own for so long that she forgot she hasn’t had a hair cut in three years. She can’t even remember the last time she received one of those “I’m going to slide right out of this chair” scalp massages. Her hair seems to always be in a messy bun or high ponytail or half covered by a headband. And her curls! Where did they go? I know this woman who let herself go all too well. From time to time, I was that woman.

There was a little girl who had a little curl

Right in the middle of her forehead.

And when she was good

She was very very good.

And when she was bad

she was horrid.

When I was little my mom used to sing this to me as she laughed at my little curl that always seemed to land right in the middle of my forehead. As I got older, she would play with the banana curls that used to frame my face. She had dead straight hair. (except for the times when she permed it). I loved my hair! I loved the color. I loved the thickness. I loved the curls. Sure, sometimes I wish the curls were tighter or that I could find the right product to make it bigger. But for the most part, I loved my hair.

In eighth grade, I cut my bangs, started experimenting with color and eventually went to short hair. If adolescence isn’t painful enough, I realized that most of my self esteem lived in those thick, long, wavy locks. I no longer felt beautiful. I blame society. I certainly had the encouragement from my family and friends assuring me of my inner and outer beauty. But society can do a number on teens.I let my curls grow back through high school and I loved them again.

Then came college. I was doing everything I could at this point to escape the battles I would have with my hair every morning. Walking through the windy cam