On Wednesday night, I had my hair straightened for the first time. At a lovely event at my local Space NK (about which I’ll talk more in another post next week!) I volunteered to be the guinea pig for their new straighteners and it wasn’t until I saw myself in the mirror that I really knew what it would look like.
It was an odd feeling really. You see, I was bullied at school. Not mercilessly, and by the time I’d got to high school it had pretty much gone, but it was enough to reduce me regularly to tears. And it was always about my hair. My mum, possessor of sleek straight brunette hair (apart from an unfortunate period of perming in the early nineties) never really knew what it was like to manage curls, and so would brush it out when it was dry. Which led to it being one eight foot wide mass of frizz, and provided the local bullies with an excellent target, either for words, or on a couple of memorable occasions, for chewing gum.
By the time I got to high school I’d worked out that if it was washed and left to dry on its own, the frizz died down to actual curls, so I rocked up to school with sopping wet hair on many a day, never quite having realised the value of a hairdryer and diffuser. To this day, I’m usually in so much of a rush to get out of the door, it’s still damp when I’m on the school run or waiting for the bus to work.
But it has also become one of the ways I suppose I define myself. If you asked me to describe what I look like, it’d be average. Average height. Average weight (give or take the odd cake) Average looks. Curly hair. Curly hair. The one thing that I hated about myself as a child has become the one way in which I’m more than average. For a moment, looking in that mirror, I wondered what it might have been like to have that straight hair as a child but then I’m sure they’d have found something else. I mean, curly hair – it’s not exactly three eyes, is it? Not that I’m suggesting people with three eyes deserve bullying either, you understand. But perhaps any little thing that marks you out as being different, in however small a way, is enough. For me though, that little thing has turned into something, after many years of battle, that I rather like about myself.
So, although it was an interesting experience, it’s not one that I’m going to repeat. I like my curly hair now. It’s part of who I am. So there…