I always know when it's time to get my hair cut because of the mass of tangles adorning my head like brunette-tinted halo.
January 10, 2007
When I was in 3rd grade, I would brush my hair from the crown of my head to just below my ears. My ears marked the location where my hair inexplicably morphed into a knotted maze of locks. This barrier prevented my brush from going any further, so naturally, I stopped brushing.
I would literally pull my brush out of my hair, horizontally, and just start at the top again, repeating the pattern until my hair, for the most part, was brushed. (What more can you expect from an eight-year-old?)
After listening to me yell and scream one day after attempting to brush through the tangles, my dad loaded me into the car and promptly drove me to a hair salon. He plopped me down in a large leather seat and gave the stylist these instructions:
"I want you to cut her hair off above the tangles. ALL OF IT."
She looked at dad, and then at the tears in my eyes, and then at him, and then gave in to the more threatening of the two of us.
I don't remember her washing my hair and trying to detangle it. I only remember sitting in the giant leather chair, covered by a long plastic bib, watching the scissors cut through my gnarled tresses.
The kids at school said I looked like a mushroom, and I did. I hated that haircut, and at the time thought my father was the meanest man alive for causing such a thing to happen.
It was a moment in my life that was marred by trauma. And that trauma would follow me into adulthood.
Apparently, I still haven't learned my lesson. I still go too long between cuts, and every few months when I break down crying to Roger because "Iiiiiiiii hhaaattteeeeee mmmyyyyyyyy haaaaaaaiiiiiiiiirrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr," we both know it's time for me to get a cut.
Yesterday marked eight months since I last cut my hair. My personal record is two and a half years – can you imagine the tangles and the stomping and the yelling? – and last night when I visited my stylist, I had forgotten how closely a simple haircut resembles the feeling of freedom. The burden is lifted, hallelujah!
I sank into her chair and began our session by apologizing:
"Rhonda, I just want you to know that I haven't washed my hair in five days because when I wash my hair, that means I have to brush my hair, and when I brush my hair, I have to deal with the tangles. And I just can't contend with the tangles."
(She stared at me.)
"So you have my full permission to just cut a tangle out when you're trying to comb through my hair. Really. It's okay. I would do the same thing if I were you."
By the end of the evening, ringlets were scattered across the floor beneath me – but none were chock-full of tangles. I've finally found a hair stylist in Dallas willing to work through my tangles, willing to teach me how to keep my hair long and luscious, willing to be patient with my hair when I can't bear to cope with it any longer.
And then I realized: like father, like daughter.
(Plus: a purse full of free samples. Score!)