These are all pictures I have already posted at one time or another but Marilyn, at Serendipity recently wrote such a delightful piece on her hair,
I am choosing to respond this way.
I have never considered myself particularly pretty. I came of age in the Sixties, with a backdrop of Hair, the Musical, and CSNY defending long hair
and we were not supposed to care about such things as physical beauty, but I secretly did anyway. (I wore nice, handmade Hippie clothes and always made sure my hair was clean and shiny before I put those flowers in it!)
Tail end of California Color Living in the Northwest color
After some therapy (in search of my self-esteem) I was finally able to claim for myself, the descriptor “fairly attractive”….and the fact that I had great hair! It has always been too straight and obnoxiously thick, but I liked it anyway. When others were going in for cuts, straightening or perms, I’d have mine “thinned”. Oh, I tried the perms (we’re never happy with the hair we get) but those amazing waves would only last about 2 weeks. Then, having a mind of its own, my hair would spring right back to absolute curl-lessness.
80’s Big Hair Perm
I really relate to some of what Marilyn describes about the hassles of hair. I thought I would have to shave my head during menopause to avoid that hot, “Itchy blanket” feel on my neck. Pulling it all up in what she called a “scrungy elastic and fabric thingie” was the only option. And my biggest issue was where the heck to put it all when wearing my motorcycle helmet?? It simply would not fit up in there and what was left out would take hours to comb through after a ride. (Don’t even get me started on Helmet Hair!)
Oh and the whole thing of trusting another to actually cut my hair?? I’ve been with Kelly for more than 30 years and she knows she is not allowed to retire before I die!! We are great friends by now, and sometimes, I even bring my own finishing equipment if it’s a day when I want my hair a certain way. She is so great and patient, especially when she has to repair those in-between-appointments bangs cuts I try to give myself.
I can finally acknowledge that I have actually received positive attention for my hair since I was a surfer girl on the beach. In my high school annual (you know that comment they put with your senior picture?) mine was not about talent or intelligence or future success. It was about my friggin hair!
My whole life, total strangers have come up to me in stores, airports, libraries and not just commented on my hair. Sometimes they even TOUCH it!!
I actually like the attention, the compliments, the questions about where I get it cut, what shampoo I use, etc. But not so much the touching. (Hey, I have enough PTSD triggers to master. Strangers suddenly touching me is NOT OK!)
There were also debates with those complete intruders who felt the need to lecture me on my choice “at my age” not to dye! (My hair was white by 42 or so.) Or, to still wear my hair long when “really, that should be for a younger woman, don’t you think?” (f. you!!)
Anyway, now at 68 years old, when I look in a mirror, I don’t see much left of “fairly attractive”. (See my earlier post on “Time”) https://chosenperspectives.com/2016/02/11/time-warning-to-young-women-rated-r-for-terror/ )
But it has not bothered me much. The Sixties actually did teach us about much deeper and more important things than our appearance.
And besides, I still had my hair! Until recently, that is.
I haven’t felt well for almost 2 years now. All my symptoms have pointed to a thyroid problem but no one seems to be able to diagnose anything because the “numbers” haven’t matched what their specialty says they should be. So, trying to track down the cause of some pretty bothersome symptoms, I have seen a cardiologist, a pulmonologist, a dentist, rheumatologist, a gastroenterologist, and ENT, a dermatologist, a polysomnographist and two endocrinologists. (I remember the “old days”, before medicare, when I had a fantastic Internist for 35 years, who was the best detective and considered ALL systems when I had a malady!! Sigh…)
Anyway, while they are all trying to figure out (each looking only in their field) what the heck is wrong with me, my teeth, skin and hair are biting the dust. I have always shed a lot but had so much hair I never cared. Now, my eyebrows and eyelashes are completely gone, and my hair is coming out in piles! I had to give up really long hair (my favorite style) early last year but have refused to go short short as it is just not me.
But it gets thinner every day and I no longer like it. I am disgusted with myself but I feel all self-conscious (again) and am pretty depressed about the whole thing. I really did expect to like my hair until the end, wearing a long gray braid down my back, like a proper elder, looking the part of a sage, a crone.
As my self-esteem is once again plummeting, I read Marilyn’s delightful post. She wrote it for the word prompt Surface, and used the word shallow, but I found such deep relief to know I am not alone with my hair issues. Thanks Marilyn and to your commenters as well.
Then yesterday I took James to the VA Hospital for his colonoscopy.
I passed a young-ish, white haired nurse on my way to the waiting room. She stopped me, hand on my arm, and whispered “Oh yay, another beautiful white haired woman!” Then she asked if everyone tried to get me to dye it. We had a quite a sweet moment!
My first thought, in my lost hair, lowered self-esteem state? “Wow, they sure train the employees here to be nice to visitors.”
But then I had to go to the car for something and a guy driving a truck in the garage stopped, hand-rolled down the passenger side window and said “Wow, I really love your hair!”
Hmmm, maybe I’ve still got it???
Marilyn, if you are reading this, THANKS AGAIN!!