I have spent much of my life attempting to bend my hair to my will. As someone with what I call “naturally squiggly hair,” my locks don’t fit neatly within the category of straight and sleek, nor do they possess the bounce and form of ringlets. They are caught in the messy middle ground, defying description or a neat and tidy category.
When I was a teenager, my grandfather (who was never known for his subtlety), asked, “Is that a deliberate hairdo?” I don’t remember my response, and frankly, my grandfather had little room to judge (he was bald). But for whatever reason, whether vanity or humour (or maybe both), that experience has stuck with me.
In the years since, I’ve had brief moments of hair triumph with a flat iron or a particularly curl-inducing cut and style. And in those moments, I lived out my hair fantasy, living clearly on one side of the curly or straight line. Life is in some ways easier there in a place where I fit a clear definition. Yet reality, like my hair, falls somewhere in the middle – in the messy place that defies description or neat and tidy categories. So now I’m trying out a radical approach – I’m going with what I’ve got. I’m going with what’s real, and that’s squiggly. I’m drawing a squiggly line in the sand. This is me.