On Having a Bad Hair Life

In which I look at the important things to complain about.

First world complaint here: I have never had a hairstyle I really like. Seriously. When I was itty-bitty, my hair was wispy and blonde. My uncle could never believe that my dark hair was natural because he remembered my light

Baby me, around two
Baby me, around two

locks from childhood.

To top off that lack of childhood coifability, my mother cut my hair, and when she didn’t, I still got that stick straight, chop off the ends look that a lot of children have. No long hair for me until I could brush it myself. So at the age of eight I started to grow it long. By the end of fifth grade (-ish), I had nice long ponytails.

And then came The Brady Bunch. You remember Carol Brady and her shag? Yup, I cut off all my hair in a desperate attempt to be hip and ended up looking, well, awful. Hard to go through sixth grade like that. By this time my hair was turning brown, dark brown. By ninth grade my hair was long again, but then came Dorothy Hamill. Once again, off came the length. Which presented me with a second problem—I had/have no talent for styling whatsoever.

Young me, about four/five
Young me, about four/five

In high school, my hair fully dark brown now, a new twist (pun-you’ll see why in a moment) appeared. I would wear my hair simply pinned back from my face because hair in my face bugged me (Still does. You should see how I do my hair for volleyball). That left me able to see, but also allowed the length to hang. And in class I would grab a lock and twirl it around my finger as I fidgeted. By the time I would walk out, I sported six inch long Shirley Temple curls because, unbeknownst to me, my hair now had lots of body.

College wasn’t any better. I still couldn’t style my own hair and I wasn’t patient enough to let my hair grow long enough to pull back into easy sophisticated ponytails. But I did meet my husband, and we did get married. I tried to get a perm for my wedding and it fell out in three days, so they repermed it two days before with strict instructions not to wash it until the wedding day. Yeah, that wasn’t so good either. I do not have pretty hair in my wedding pictures. But I did get married and the marriage seems to have stuck.

Pony tail me, the only time i had long hair, around ten
Pony tail me, the only time I had long hair, around ten

Through adulthood I really didn’t try to do much with my hair. It was wavy, unkempt, but clean and thick. Then about three years ago it went curly. I mean really curly. All I had to do was wash, put a little product in, scrunch, and let it dry. I had to curl a few pieces here and there to make it look really good, but I was in heaven. That lasted a year.

Now it is stick straight again. Don’t ask my why; I couldn’t answer. However, it holds curl really well. Unfortunately my skills with the curling iron and/or hairdryer and brush haven’t improved, so I look like a throwback to the eighties. See Beverly Goldberg to get an idea of what I mean, only my bangs are long and growing out.

I always pictured myself as an old woman with grey hair in a long braid down my back. Doubt that will happen. I can’t braid my own hair. I can barely braid my youngest’s hair. Also, I would have to grow it long to have that happen, and as I said above, I don’t have the patience.

Senior year Gabi, baby-sitting a faculty child at my boarding school.
Senior year Gabi, baby-sitting a faculty child at my boarding school.

So why this detour into hair? Because it’s apropos of life. Life hands you things that you must either fight or accept. It is wisdom that tells you which choice is best. My bad hair life hasn’t stopped me from being happy, or smart, or strive to better myself. I travel and let my hair go wild and learn things. I go to the pool, and I’m not afraid to dive under the water (Did your mothers also swim without dunking their heads, so they could save their dos?). Bad hair didn’t prevent me from raising three lovely women who add value to their communities. Bad hair doesn’t prevent me from being a badass on the volleyball courts (okay, so it’s the over 50 league, but I’m a badass). Yes, I would have loved to have had the good looks my sister had, but beauty is subjective anyway. Bad hair doesn’t prevent me from writing my stories and entertaining you. Fight for the things you can change, work on the things you can get better at. I suppose I could work on my hair skills, but I have more important things to accomplish.


At least I don’t have snakes on my head and turn people to stone.



Books I’m reading now:

The Duchess War by Courtney Milan

The Heiress Effect by Courtney Milan

The Diabolical Miss Hyde by Viola Carr

Storm Front by Jim Butcher

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