Thursday, July 18, 2013

The Long and Short of It Or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love My Hair (Sort Of)

My hair has gone through many different evolutions. It's been long, it's been short, it's been somewhere in between, it's been black, it's been brown, it's been purple (no lie). It's been a tough road, trying to figure out what I can stand about my hair, and what I will never, ever do again (probably the purple, but you never know). So, for your amusement, is a brief history of my hair.

This is one of my favorite pictures of my grandparents. Grandpa and Granny circa 1984. 

Clearly, that is not me in the photo above, but is for reference. My Granny has great hair. Dark and curly, it was the kind of hair that I dreamed I had when I was a kid. Now, all you curly-haired folks out there, hear me out before you jump on me for not understanding the pains of having curly hair. I do not have curly hair, nor will I ever have curly hair. My Granny, who is in her seventies, still has these massive curls and looks twenty years younger than what she really is, and is frequently asked for her driver's license because people don't believe that she is old enough to get the senior special when we're eating out. 

She doesn't look a day over 35.

Anyway, Granny has the hair I aspired to have when I was younger, and instead was stick with some straight-haired madness that my family didn't know what to do with. My Granny, at her wit's end, apparently used to tape bows onto my head because people would assume that I was a little boy, and for some reason, this bothered her. Funny how twenty-six years later, people still sometimes assume that I'm a guy because of the length of my hair. Granny still despairs at this assumption, and the length of my hair. 

Yeah, I didn't have a lot going on up top. I think we still have that watering can. 

Finally, my hair grew and the heavens (and Granny) rejoiced. For several years, I had long hair. Like, I could almost sit on it long hair. I sort of remember having hair that long, but since I've not had it that long ever since I was kid, these are just vague memories.

I guess Granny still was in the "let's slap a bow on her head" phase. Don't I give off a Webby from DuckTales vibe?

Twins, right? 

Proof that I had long hair at some point. It wasn't quite long enough for me to sit on here, but still pretty long. Also, check out my Grandpa rocking the socks and sandals look. 

When I about to start kindergarten, Granny and Grandpa worried that my hair would become too much of a hassle to take care of/become a magnet for glue, gum, all the gross stuff that kids manage to sneak into the classroom when the teacher is not looking, so I got my first official hair cut. Grandpa took me to a salon down the street (which I occasionally go to when I'm at home) and I got my hair cut into a bob. Which I had for seven years. All the bob. All the time. 

This is the sort-of bob. I was six or seven here, as evidenced by my awesome Nala from The Lion King (1994) ensemble.  My crush on JTT was probably in full swing at this point. 

I didn't mind the bob. It was short-ish, but if I needed to do something to it (curl it, crimp it, etc.) for special occasions, I could. Though I was mistaken for a boy several times from about nine to twelve. Hey, it was the 90s, and I knew boys that did have hair about the same length as mine.   

I played basketball from 5th through 12th grade, and my hair was long enough to slap in a ponytail, though the length of my hair changed drastically throughout junior and high school. When I was in 7th grade, I decided that I was going to grow my hair out. I don't know why I made this decision, but I wanted long hair. This was a big deal. I was old enough to take care of my own hair, so I set about growing my hair out. 

Not that I had to wait long. My hair has Chia Pet-like qualities, and I swear it grows at twice the rate as a normal human being (which is about half an inch a month, in case you were wondering). Unfortunately, I don't have photos on hand to showcase that awkward time of my life - ahem - but I had long-ish hair for about three years, until I was a sophomore in high school, and I said enough was enough, and away the hair went. My friends were astonished that I could so easily part with my hair, but really it was more of the fact that I didn't have the time to blow dry my hair every morning, and having to deal with so much hair bothered me. 

I had a medium-length bob for a few years, not really committing to having short hair. One of my friends nicknamed me "Shaggy" (as in Shaggy from Scooby-Doo). 

I think even Shaggy himself is confused by the comparison. 

White Oleander was big when I was in high school, and I loved Alison Lohman's hair in it (after she chops it all off) and I literally went to a hair dresser with this picture and said, "I want this."

 I thought (and still think) that she was the coolest. 

Me, on the other hand...well, maybe not quite as cool. 

After doing the medium bob thing, I cut my hair a lot shorter before I headed off to college. It was fun having hair that short for the first time, and I really took to it, keeping it that way until my sophomore year. Of course, I also did this to it during freshman year:

Manic Panic was the best, right?  Don't lie, you know what I'm talking about. 

My hair made it through freshman and sophomore year without any drastic changes (other than the purple) and at some point during sophomore year, I decided to grow my hair out again, and thus began the crazy lengths melee of 2006 - 2008. 

Right, then, off we go: 

2006. Not drunk, I promise. 

Still 2006. Don't mind the crazy eyes. 

2007 at some point. The hair is getting longer...

Mid to late-ish 2007. This was the longest my hair had been in years. 

Winter 2007. You can't tell where my hair stops and the chair that I'm sitting in starts because there's so much of my hair.

Early 2008. 

Now I will admit, I liked all the things that I could do with my hair. Fortunately I had a friend at the time that was willing to crazy things with my hair like the style pictured above, because I have limited hair styling skills. I had long-ish hair for most of 2008, and then it got to the point where I couldn't handle it anymore again. Granted, sometimes I wish that I had hair this long again to be able to do fun stuff with it, but then I remember how much upkeep it is, and I'd rather do other things, like bake several dozen cookies or solve world peace in the time that it would take for me to manage that hair. 

Off my hair went in mid 2008, after donating it, and I was back to the short 'do. 

Similar to what I had before, but not. 

I kept my hair like this for most of 2008 and 2009, and I was fine with it. 

See? I could style an extent. 

Then mid 2009 hit, and I hate saying this, but right before I was going to graduate from college, I broke up with my then-boyfriend. And not that it should have mattered, because it's not like it was the romance of the century or anything, but I needed to shake things up, because I was still waiting to hear back from the grad schools I had applied to and I didn't know where I was going to be in a year, and I felt like I needed to take control of my life. So what did I do? I got a new hair cut. (Though I'm in no way saying, "Hey, your life's lousy? A new hair cut will make you feel better." At the time, it just did help me feel better about my situation.)

I have as much hair on my head as I do with my two eyebrows, but whatever. 

I thought my Granny was going to kill me. She couldn't get over how short I cut it. All my Grandpa said was, "It makes you look taller. Whatever makes you happy, baby." (It took a lot to shock my Grandpa.) I kept my hair at this length for the rest of the year and until I went off to grad school. Short it was, and short it was staying. 

Of course, I did manage to make it even shorter than in the last photo, but I was also on the opposite side of the country where Granny couldn't hunt me down: 

Most manageable hair cut ever. No blow dryer necessary. 

My hair was buzzed like this for several cold Boston months - yeah, I probably shouldn't have decided to cut my hair in the middle of winter, but you live and you learn. It was a blast having my hair like this, and it made me feel both really feminine and tough as nails. 

Probably because in my mind I looked like this. My fav, Tank Girl. 

Since then, I've kept my hair short, but not as short as that last photo, save for a brief stint, where I started to grow my hair out again, but then had a friend of mine say that I looked like Martha Washington, and I cut it again. I've also had my hair compared and compared my own hair to Justin Bieber's and Ralph Macchio's (circa The Karate Kid). 

Now don't finish reading this post and think that I'm a bitch because I've been lucky enough to hack and slash my hair off for years, when some people don't have that luxury. I get it - I'm very fortunate to have Chia-Pet-head. I just wish that occasionally it wouldn't turn into the jungle from Jumanji, namely when I get up in the morning and I'm trying to get to work on time. 

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