This weekend my girlfriend asked if she could straighten my hair. I've never had anyone straighten my hair before - well, actually, once this hair stylist straightened my hair, but it just looked awful. One big frizzy mess. It was terrible. But my girlfriend has really good skills with hair, so I said YES!!! And this is how it came out (see to the left).
I was blown away by how different I look with straight hair. And then I was blown away by how much I loved how the hair looked. How good I thought it made me look. And then...how "normal." Kind of like almost "mainstream." Having that silky straight hair was unreal. I kept looking at it in the mirror and something was just overwhelming me but I didn't know what it was.
And then it hit me. This is what "good" Asian hair looks like. The silky curtain of hair that moves in uniformity. I never had that kind of hair. I always had the "bad" Asian hair - the frizzy heavy type that no one wants.
Now, my hair is also curly, so as I've gotten older, I've emphasized the curl more than the frizz and I've made peace with my hair type. But having this experience, brought back all the old feelings about my hair being no good.
It also blows me out of the water that with a couple of tools and a whole lotta skill and experience, someone could make me look so...different. So not "stick out" ish. It's like for a day I had "normal" hair. And if I wanted to, it would be possible to have this kind of hair every day for the rest of my life. I'm not stuck with my curls and my frizz.
And what doubly blows me out of the water is the deep impact that this experience had on me. I felt sexier,
more valuable, more successful - just based on how my hair was styled. I never thought that a styling job could change my self-image so deeply. But, this one did and I'm not sure how I feel about this. I'd like to say it's temporary. But it's rooted in so many old, old messages that I've been getting throughout my life about what is valuable and what is sexy. My visceral response to looking more mainstream is real. Would I change the way I look to keep having that feeling of belonging? Probably not. But it's so palpable.
I always fought my ex-husband on straightening our (Black) daughter's hair. I didn't want her to get the ideathat there was anything wrong with her hair the way that it was. Without knowing it, I was dictating from a very deeply personal place. My curly, frizzy Jewish/Japanese hair, is awesome the natural way it grows. Nice to know I have options, though. Always nice to have the "not so out of the box" option, once in a while.