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Me, My Hair and I

When I was 10, I remember being in the backseat of my parents car in New York City. We were at a stoplight and there was this very pretty girl, probably in her twenties, standing talking to a young man. She wore a long, white, casual spaghetti-strap dress. What interested me the most was her hair, dyed light pink.

I never wanted the light to change.

I could not wait to grow up, live in a city and dye my hair pink.

Cut to me now, 28 years later. I did move to a city, but I never dyed my hair pink.

For most of my life I wore my hair in a Marcia Brady fashion. Straight and parted down the middle. This is my senior year high school photo.

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I’m swimming in hair.

My mom loved my hair long, and it sort of became my security blanket. Plus, I was a bit of a bohemian (or sloppy) so it worked for me. I once had someone remark that I didn’t even do my hair for our junior high photos. Meaning I didn’t spray bangs up because I didn’t have them.

Though it was my look, I knew it made me look like Marcia Brady and hated the occasional comments, because, on the inside, I felt like Ally Sheedy’s character from the “Breakfast Club.” I’ve always sort of bucked at the idea that you have to look alternative to be alternative. (How alternative of me is that?)

Upon moving to Los Angeles at 22 in my used Volvo with Iowa license plates, my big cheeks and long blonde hair screamed “Hey, you weirdos, come and get me!” I lacked that hardened city shell I have now formed.

I’m not going to say I’m too old for the pink hair, although I think maybe I am.

I became a little obsessed with how exotic other cultures were to me. Asian women with their gorgeous thick, straight black hair especially. So I decided to dye my hair black.

My mom nearly died.

I noticed I attracted a different kind of man. I got less glances but more deep stares. And I swear I got honked at less. Officially, I got honked at WAY less when I stopped driving the Volvo with the Iowa plates. I don’t advise that in L.A.

Then of course I wanted my blonde back, so I went back to blonde. By this time I was 25 and had had long hair my entire life.

I was ready for change and was about to take a job at Playboy. (That’s a whole other story.)

I was working with all men, I was behind the camera, you see this a lot in Hollywood. The one female with a bunch of men. She always seems to be scaling more on the tomboy side. Because you don’t want your femininity to be a sign of perceived weakness. So I went short. Super short.

I loved it. I felt like women were actually nicer to me.

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I adored the cut for a few years, and then my wedding approached. I thought, "I can’t get married with short hair" and began growing it. I sort of wish I had just kept it short.

Anyways, once I got pregnant I knew it really needed to grow to combat weight gain. There was a LOT of weight gain. So I let it grow and the hormones coursed through my body. My once stick-straight hair became curly.

After my first child I lost the weight and had a close friend who died and I began to cut à la Britney Spears. On my own.

Crying with a pair of scissors, little bits here and there, until finally I went and had it properly chopped and dyed platinum.

I didn't know it then, but I was 6 weeks pregnant. Whoops. He survived the bleach.

So, again, I started growing it out.

I’ve never lost all the baby weight and have just gone back and forth between brown and blonde shoulder length and longer over the last five years. I want to look badass but, honestly, most days my hair is back in a bun looking like this.

A friend and I spoke about how appearance does matter unfortunately. Despite my lack of tattoos or a short edgy haircut, my insides feel like that.

My hair is no longer incredibly thick and straight. I lost a lot of it a year and a half ago. Clumps falling out in the shower due to stress. Aging just changes your hair anyways.

I have now typed 751 words about my hair and am suddenly feeling ridiculous. But, come on, we are ladies; we like to talk about this and, honestly, life is full of serious stuff. It’s nice to glaze over those things and talk about trivial things like hair.

Hair grows back, we all know that.

I’m not going to say I’m too old for the pink hair, although I think maybe I am. Then again maybe I’ll show up at drop-off one day soon sporting it. I don’t know.

Hair grows back, we all know that.

I spent time with my childhood friend yesterday, and I said, "Maybe I’m just focusing on my hair because my face is changing so much." Aging, that is. We laughed and of course are thankful for our health first and foremost.

I think I’ve taken up enough space writing about hair.

I’m sitting here with my reddish/blonde/brown hair pulled back into a bun.

My multi-colored hair can be thanked in part to me dying it myself last week. After staring at myself in the mirror and thinking this blonde I had put in is just washing me out. Certainly this box of color will mask that effect and I will regain 10 years and some edge.

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As soon as I finish writing this, I’ll be off to book another hair appointment. Maybe this time we’ll nail it, and I can assume some kind of different identity.

Even if it is just for a moment.

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Images by Lindsay Kavet

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