“What are you doing? Why are you here?!” I scream at my half-hairs in the mirror. I pull one out and a hundred more appear. They are an army of curly frizz. They are the color outside of lines. They are this perfectionist’s nightmare.
My crazy strands have always driven me mad, and I’ve tried every which way to kill them off. I’ve plucked and I’ve cut and I’ve threatened and I’ve purchased a million products, but still they wave at me. One of my high school besties, Margaret, used to bare witness to my frustration every time we’d get dressed to go out. She’d offer to help by making a game out of it. I’d sit on the edge of her bathtub and stare at her perfect locks and laugh through the pain as she’d yank. I’d thank her for her service. I thought she was helping me win, that we were beating them into submission. But alas my head would look like it had a halo of baby wisps around it, and I’d cry because my spirited mop could not be contained.
Today, mid-yell into my vanity, it hits me: stray hairs have something to say, and this very fact gives me lastima. They are enthusiastic, they are expressive, they will not succumb to foamy mouse or flat irons or the pressure of hands. They will not flatten because of some imposed shame or demands to conform or expectations to keep quiet and controlled. They are too busy indicating which way they feel like going.
Stray hairs are endearing, they are rowdy, they are stubborn and they are proud. They don’t hide and they don’t abide, and maybe it will be how I come to know people now, to meet them at a party or job interview or passing on the street and marvel at the split-hairs dancing on their crowns. It will remind me to allow it. It will inspire me not to resist. It will dare me to roll up my eyes and have appreciation for the unrestrained, not only for the precise and the pristine, but also for the unbridled.
And maybe Margaret wasn’t extracting but rather engaging my stray hairs. Maybe all along she was showing me how much fun they can be.
p.s. If only we knew what they wanted to tell us!