A Story About My Hair

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I started thinking about my hair when I was 10 years old. I remember watching movies like Labyrinth, The Legend of Billie Jean and Madonna’s Who’s That Girl. I remember seeing clips of Jennie Garth as Kelly Taylor on 90210, even though we didn’t watch that show (my family opted for shows like Twin Peaks and Star Trek: The Next Generation and our favorite soap opera, recorded daily on our VCR, All My Children, accompanied by meals of Rice-A-Roni). Anyway, I remember seeing Jennie Garth and feeling this pain in the pit of my stomach – a sharp awareness that I didn’t look anything like her – and that that was a bad thing.

I remember feeling a sense of urgency to remedy this situation of not looking like Jennie Garth. I marched straight to the bathroom of our 1980s suburban home and staring at my dirty dishwater blonde hair – crazy curls, frizz, and uneven blunt bangs. I searched the cabinets for anything that would make me look like Jennie Garth, Madonna, Billie Jean, or even David Bowie. I remember feeling completely clueless but totally determined.

Fast forward 20 years. Over two decades I had run the gamut of hair styles. From a Michelle Williams pixie to a jet black David Bowie shag – and everything in between. I had employed an army of bleach, toner, stylists, straighteners, and curling irons to transform me into anything I wanted to be. At 30 years old my hair and I were finally in this place of “blonde” and “pretty” and “respectable” and on some days “hot”. But I wanted more. I wanted to be Sarah Jessica Parker. With the same sense of urgency I felt to be Jennie Garth, I found myself scouring YouTube for hair tutorials to figure out how I could look just like Carrie Bradshaw at her most refined self. That was seven months ago.

After a couple hours and countless videos of gorgeous Asian girls showing me how to transform my hair into that of SJP, I walked into my little 1920s bathroom and plugged in my best curling iron and my heavy duty hair dryer. I risked blowing a fuse but I didn’t care. I gave myself a good close look in the mirror and once again felt completely clueless but totally determined. And with that, instead of grabbing for the hot curling iron, I grabbed a .5″ section of hair behind my ear and starting twisting and ripping it until it formed a knotty dread. I felt the opposite of hopeless. I felt completely and totally liberated. And now I feel like Kathleen.

  1. i have mad respect for dreads and have always thought they were underappreciated.

    what do you say to people who are all, “EWW GROSS, THAT’S NASTY” about dreads?

  2. FierySkullDiaries – I never get that response! People are super friendly and if anything they’re a fun ice breaker to start conversation.

  3. Eugenia

    I am pretty sure I saw you at Blue 7 yesterday! I saw your hair from afar and thought, “That totally looks like Kathleen!” But I was too chicken to say hi :/ But your hair is absolutely beautiful!

  4. Jenna E

    oooooh I likey, looks so good on you

  5. I’m excited about the next move when you shave it all off 🙂 Like the dreads, though.

  6. Francine

    awww Minnie Mouse! 😉 Your confidence shines through, you’re rocking the dreads.

  7. This is an interesting post- I think most of us has gone through this stage in their lives. I can say i do feel im me once i decided to accept my hair for what it is n step outside my comfort zone.

    I wonder what new hairstyle you’ll try next.

  8. I love this story. I definitely went through those same frustrations for most of my life. Turns out the solution was to just cut it all off! And it feels great.

  9. Eugenia – That was me! You should’ve said hello!

    Jenna E – XO

    Laura – I don’t know… I think this is a look I might actually keep for a while. 😉 Merry Christmas to you and yours!

    Francine – YES! I wear my “Minnie ears” when I think the world needs a little more cheer.

    Treciä – Yes… I think for sure our connection (or disconnection) to our hair and outward expression is something a lot of us can relate to.

    Cheryl – My answer for many years was to cut it all off. It’s weird how much old energy you can carry in your hair – I always feel so light (physically and emotionally) when I chop it all off.

  10. i can see the sjp thing on you! (i know that such a wrong comment in light of this post, but it’s true.)

    i’m the opposite. i never paid much attention to my hair at all growing up. always the same thing… a trim every now and again by some discount hair place and… that was it. sometime in my mid-twenties i actually started using a mirror. not kidding.

  11. I am just now reading this, but I need you to know that I was also raised on All My Children, which probably means we understand each other better than we can even imagine.

  12. Kristin! GET OUT. So in my 5th grade school portraits I’m wearing a side pony and a SIGNED Trevor Dillon tie. I swear to god.

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