My hair and I have not always gotten along. I tried different styles, cuts, and products. I changed the color, from extreme red to blackest black. I used hair dryers, straighteners, and accessories to try and help it decide to cooperate. Sometimes it did. Often it did not. All in all, good hair days and bad, I was generally satisfied with my hair. It never made a great impact on my life; it was merely a nuisance I had to worry about, and I was always able to put it out of my mind.
A few years ago, I gave up. I decided to stop forcing my hair to do what I thought I wanted. I stopped contemplating which cut I wanted next, which color. I even gave up dying it for a while. Mostly due to the idea that I could never have the hair I truly wanted, it seemed most pertinent to make no decisions at all. I just let it be.
As long as I can remember, I wanted long, curly hair. I wanted it to blow behind me in a strong breeze. I wanted to braid it at night like Laura Ingalls. I wanted it slightly frizzy, kinda shiny, and most of all LONG. I didn’t want to have to brush it (brushing out tangles gives me painful chills sometimes). It was a silly dream, like the little girls who dreamed of becoming princesses. And, as I saw it, unrealistic.
A funny thing happened when I stopped caring so much. By leaving my hair alone, it started to look good. I had to get it trimmed occasionally (split ends are no one’s friend), but I never changed the shape. The curls that had spent years trying to show themselves started to spring up in a more predictable way.
Whenever someone asked if I was planning to cut my hair, I thought about it a moment with real consideration and answered, “Nope. I decided to let my hair do its own thing.” I was beginning to think of, and refer to, my hair as a separate entity from myself. It got in moods, I scolded it for getting in my eyes and mouth when the windows were down in the car. I found a hairdresser who cut it dry, because it’s better for curls; found that out from her, and man was she right! Most importantly, I left it alone. I didn’t allow myself to get impatient with its progress. I let it do its thing.
I absolutely love my hair now. It hangs almost to my waist. It’s got these cool spirally curls all over. It’s frizzy and shiny. On days when I’m feeling unpretty, I look at my hair and am in awe.
It’s exactly what I always wanted. I left it alone. I stopped trying to tell it what it needed to be. I relinquished control. And I was rewarded with a dream I had never even considered possible. A silly dream. But not, as I know after years of patience and allowing things to happen as they might, unrealistic.
My hair has also done something for me that I never considered. It has shown me that it’s better to let go, to be patient, to let go of the things I can’t control. All it takes is a little maintenance and a lot of patience. Those things I can do.
I can be as amazing as my hair.