Thursday, February 23, 2012

Curly Girl

I read this book and it changed my life.

And it was about hair.

I've read a few books that have changed my life, actually. But hair? Silliness, right?

I've never been overly concerned with my outward appearance. As a child and even a teenager, I was a tomboy. My careers as a teacher and then stay-at-home mom, while demanding, never demanded high fashion. In my thirties I've displayed a bit more effort figuring out how to be a grown up. I've worked a little on my wardrobe and on wearing real makeup for grown up women every once in awhile. I exercise. Sure, I go through phases of more heightened vanity, and the occasional boredom-inspired bout of "caring," but ultimately I've gotta be on the low end of the spectrum when it comes to maintenance of my looks. Just don't care enough to spend the time and money to look anything beyond "presentable," at least at this stage of my life (she says as the TV cameras swoop in for horrific surprise makeover).

I've occasionally blow-dried my hair straight over the years, and I've experimented with a flat-iron in the last few months. And I tend to get compliments on my hair when it's straight (and I admit I feel a slight twinge of sadness when that happens). I'll often straighten it if I know an important photo will be taken. Because, with curly hair, and as only a curly girl can testify, you just never know.

Suffice it to say, the real F-word is "Frizz."

If you have curly hair, or even a bit wavy hair, and especially if you have a daughter with curly hair, you must read this book. Even if you decide not to follow the hair-care instructions exactly*, the overall message is important: Stop trying to make your hair into something it's not. Embrace what it is as beautiful, and treat it tender care. Ditch the blow-dryers and flat-irons and chemical relaxers (and even combs and regular shampoos!) and begin treating your hair the way curly hair likes to be treated. Even occasionally dabbling in that stuff will only set you back. With patience, allow your curly hair to become the best curly hair it can be, and be a good role model for the other curly girls in your life by accepting it joyfully.

So, in the end, hair is hair. It doesn't define who we are or our worth. But we can all do a better job accepting ourselves, both outside and in.

I can get behind that.

*they've been working very well on my hair for the past couple weeks!

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