Lessons from my hair

Like many women (and men) I know, I have had quite a journey with my locks. I have, unfortunately, spent a lot of my life hating my hair, straightening it and trying to control the frizz and the curls so that I would have more control over what it looked like from day to day. The levels that I went to in order to keep it looking sleek and stylish were quite extreme. When my hair was long (mostly during my teenage years), I would spend hours upon HOURS washing, drying then straightening my hair. I was completely embarrassed by the natural state of my hair so I would schedule my social life around wash day so that no-one would see what it really looked like. This process went over two days: Friday nights I would wash my hair and let it air dry and then Saturdays I would blow dry it (yes my hair would still be wet the following morning!) and then straighten it with a hair straightener. On Sundays and a few days after, it looked good, except when it rained (which was often in Ballarat where I’m from) or I went for a swim, or it was humid or I had to wash my hair after it stank of oily fries after a shift at McDonalds…. Hahaha!

graduation

Really, I learnt I was in a bit of a cycle. Trying desperately to control the way my hair would look but the straightening was destroying my hair and depriving it of the moisture that it was craving for which in turn, was making it more frizzy. This process was really dragging  me down and taking a lot of energy and time!

So I cut it short.

Pixie short.

pixie-with-hug-a-bub

(Yes there is a baby in that pack!! Haha).

And truthfully, I liked it 🙂 I felt much freer. I had more time and more energy as aside from getting it cut every 4 weeks and putting a bit of hair product in it after a shower, it was relatively easy and looked good most days. I wore it as a pixie for almost 10 years.

pixie

And then, after some soul-searching, I decided that just as I wanted to be free and natural, I really wanted my hair to be too. I wanted it to move the way that it wanted to move, even if that meant it was frizzy. I learnt that one of the things I hate the most is to be controlled and restricted. Too many rules and control and I act out and go a little crazy!! Haha (I’m sure I’m not alone in this!). I figured my hair was repressed! Haha! So I decided it was time to let myself and my hair be messy, creative, unpredictable and free.

 

It was a journey. There were times when I didn’t like what my hair was doing and how it was behaving, but I persisted, and as my hair grew, my soul grew and I learnt a lot about myself and my hair during the process. Got some expert advice from The Curly Girl Handbook about how to care for curls, had a detailed appointment with a DevaCurl hairdresser (thank you Amanda Rickman!) and bought some amazing (and natural) hair products that really help to keep the moisture in the hair (thank you JessiCurl and my Aussie stockist).

Then something strange happened. For the first time in my life, I began to really love my hair. When it got messy, I was excited for her! Because it was like she was breaking free! Each day looked different and it reminded me of how I love variety in my day too. Each curl and each strand was expressing itself in a unique way and no two strands were the same, like the many different aspects of myself. It felt free. I felt free. Like the top of my head was a platform to express my new found creative, independent, free-thinking, sometimes unpredictable, cannot-be-controlled self. We were really getting along. Until one day when my hair stopped curling..

 

I went to my local hairdresser Dana (also a curly girl) and we agreed that my curls were being weighed down by the heaviness of my hair. They seemed tired. I know it’s a little tricky to see, but my hair is really coarse, thick and there is a lot of it. My curls can get weighed down. I thought about this and I realised that there are so many things around me that really weigh me down. There is so much suffering, hurt and pain and my body and mind is very active thinking and processing everything around me on a daily. Also there have been times in my life where I too have been weighed down. I have had diagnoses of “burn out” and “depression” when work and family was weighing me down and like my hair, keeping things “light” has really helped me to thrive. It has helped me to keep my bounce.

Lessons from my hair

For me, keeping it light means working in welfare or counselling part time, limiting my exposure to the news, or certain people and being mindful when my mind is going too deep and stopping me from moving forward. I have been actively replacing those things with fun, laughter and play 🙂

 

What has your hair taught you? I am keen to hear your stories! You can share them here if you like by posting a comment, or go to the contact page and send me an email, on the Facebook page or Instagram using the hashtags #knowmoresayless #lessonsfrommyhair and you can win an illustration!

If you like my illustration, you can also purchase that from my shop.

Thanks for reading and may you and your hair be well 🙂

19 Comments

  1. Jessi Shrock

    I have actually been in a purging phase, wanting to delete people from my FB friends list, getting rid of household clutter, saying no to commitments… I started keeping my hair shorter about a year ago, but didn’t link that to my purging behavior! Interesting thought!

    • knowmoresayless

      I think I felt the same when I cut my hair! It was just as I got married.. Kind of like ending one phase to begin another 🙂

  2. Jessie

    I love this. I love how you think Rae! So insightful!
    I’m going to have a think about this.. I’m sure there is something my hair has taught me too!

    • knowmoresayless

      I am in love with your story! (on instagram!) Thank you. The tricky balance between wanting to look put together but not wanting to take too much time and wanting to be natural. For the record, I think you look effortlessly beautiful and natural every time I see you! And I have seen what you call your “bad hair”. Your hair is quite compliant. haha. Love ya xx

  3. David Berriman

    I’ll shave mine when I feel it’s time for a big change or I’m entering a new season! I’ve found if I leave it longer than 2-3 weeks with no trim that my energy starts to drop.. Sharp haircut helps a person walk in their confidence I do feel 🙂

  4. Kelly

    i like my hair long, and natural (i refuse to dye it)… because i don’t want to be fake. I like being natural and authentic and i don’t want to try to be someone i’m not… and hair dye feels like wearing a mask (wig) that hides who you really are.

    I have lightened it with hydrogen peroxide and baking soda but i still think that’s natural because it’s not like adding chemical hair dye. My hair would lighten similar to this if i swam a lot and lived somewhere sunnier. I still have all my greys, and i’m proud of them, don’t want to cover them up. I’ve earned them… they are silver ribbons awarded for surviving stress.

    My hair has depth, gentle fire, and it can be moody (some days softly wavy, some days curlier) and it’s fragile, tangles easily… and it’s fluffy, like cotton candy (hairdresser told me it’s like spiderwebs).

    I like having soft layers in my hair, so it can be free to move as it wishes. Blunt haircuts are too severe for me. I also don’t like hairspray or anything crunchy or sticky in my hair. I use leave in conditional or soft styling gels that still live my hair touchably soft… it’s important to me that my hair FEELS as nice as it looks.

    I also prefer side parts and sideswept bangs. I enjoy the asymmetry and movement that creates. Centre part and flat ironed hair are much too still for me, i need the soft texture and movement in my hair to feel like me.

    I also love how my hair gently blends from rich dark auburn brown roots to lighter coppery brown ends, there are no distinct lines or chunky highlights… just a gradual flow of continuous warmth where you can’t see where one colour ends and the other begins, but if you put my ends up near my roots they are significantly different. I feel like my life is like this… areas and stages that are significantly different, but still all connect and flow together seamlessly. The darker years helping me to appreciate the brighter ones, all the more.

    • knowmoresayless

      Kelly!! <3 This insight!! I love it so much! Yes you are natural and authentic, always changing, growing from you dark roots! Beautiful! Winner announced at the end of the month! I'm so excited by all these entries it's going to be tricky to pick just one winner!!

  5. Ann

    Love the post Renae. My hair when I was young was very dark and curly and I would iron it to get it straight. Now my hair is very straight and fine and I’d love to have that curly hair back. I’ve had it short, long and everything in between and didn’t like any of it. I made a decision about 10 years ago to not highlight it anymore. I don’t want to be a fake. It’s now a mix of white, ochre and camel. I like the color just not the style. One of these days I will hit upon the right style for me, but it has to be a Stryker that doesn’t take longer no to do as I don’t like messing with my hair.

    • knowmoresayless

      Hi Ann 🙂 Thanks for playing the game xx
      I guess I’m reading that you’re a natural and genuine person who is still finding her style 🙂
      Love you muchly. And I agree. Great colours <3

      • knowmoresayless

        Oh and maybe you were wilder when you were younger but have straighten out a little as you have gotten older? Hehe

  6. Hannah Pritchett

    I love seeing your pins and blog posts! This one really spoke to me, I feel like my hair is feeling the weight of the world right now! It used to be so curly and unmanageable and I always did the same thing and straightened it in my early teenage years. I am completely no poo now and it is a little better but still very flat on one side 🙁

    So I know about Dressing Your Truth as well Im a 3/2 and I was noticing that you used to post pics of your type 3 outfits and now it looks like you have changed to the type 4 style. Do you have a blog post explaining your DYT journey? If so I would love for you to send me the link. I am just very curious because to me I think you look more natural in the type 3 clothes but it is all about how you feel, and if you feel good in the 4 clothes I think that is awesome!

    • knowmoresayless

      Hi Hannah,
      Thanks for your comment 🙂 So interesting that hair can weigh us down hey!
      I haven’t written a post about my journey with DYT. I’m not sure whether I will or not. But thank you, I liked me in the T3 too but much more grounded in T4 🙂 A big part of my realisation was that I was dressing for others and not for myself. If you want me to hear more of my story, I can email you. Just send me an email rae@knowmoresayless.com and I’ll give more details 🙂

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