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!
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.
(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.
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.
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 🙂