I remember Mr. Tipton teaching in the 7th grade about the use of the barometer and how it indicates weather changes. But after I survived puberty, I found I had little need for one. I could simply look in the mirror instead.
As others born into my state can attest, naturally curly hair takes on multiple personalities, depending on humidity, weather and showering habits. While I’ve grown up receiving complements on my “beautiful hair” I’m tempted to reply with a statement of the unreliability factor that goes into such a look. I tend to change product with the leaves, depending on the tight hold of gel during the dry winter months while harnessing the natural power of spring & summer’s humidity with a less weightier mousse. (“What about fall?” you ask. That’s what I call ponytail season.)
Also, hormonal changes can be tacked onto the list as I “went straight” for 2 of my 4 pregnancies, only to see the rings return post-baby. It required a whole new skill set, dealing with less-than-scrunchy hair as these past several months saw me wielding a straightening iron. However, as I visited my stylist last time, she directed me to the life my curls were still living below the surface.
So now, with seasonal and hormonal changes upon me, I’m left to ponder pre-shower the strategy of the daily tress. I can go straight, pushing and prodding and sometimes damaging my hair into utter submission, but it looks nice and it’s reliable. Or, I can open the gates, apply the mousse and see what happens. And the results will be an outpouring of the natural tendency.
Essentially, I tell my hair, I can make you do what I want you to do, or I can let you be beautiful.
Oh, how this challenges my sense of motherhood.
I want nothing more than to depend on the straightening iron of discipline. These years of early childhood seem to me the easiest to fall into the trap – we have an arsenal of tools. Guilt, shame, punishment… all at a fingertip’s reach. People say “you can’t make a kid do anything” but I disagree, at least in these younger years. However, as my split ends will testify, it results in damaged growth.
I wish for kids who listen well, behave like angels and put off an image that I “just stepped out of a salon”. But the reality is: that’s not where I live. And though they’re not perfection, they’re beautiful. That should be the goal.
Perhaps child rearing is like haircare product and each has a season. And every once in a while we can break out the straightening iron, not in a means to control, but rather for added diversity. But on the daily front, let the lighter touch of mousse and gel do the holding and shaping. Granted, you may not like the results every day, but there’s something to be said for natural, honest beauty.
So, mamas (and papas)… let us each allow the curl to run free. Stop asking or threatening it to be something it’s not, but rather embrace the fact that curls like that cannot be replicated so we must enjoy and appreciate them for what – and who – they are.
*Sidenote: forgive me of my hypocrisy. Because I sat down to write this, I no longer have the time to be patient with my “natural look.” Friends who see me tonight, yes I’m going straight. This wind is fierce!!
**Strong influence for these thoughts given by the brilliant and beautiful Anna B. Guillozet. Last name spelled and pronounced differently every time I attempt it.