I saw a t-shirt once that said, “Tease it up to Jesus.” I don’t have to. When I step out of my house on a humid day, my unruly mane is already halfway up to Heaven.
When I played with Barbie as a kid, how I envied that tiny, plastic bombshell. It wasn’t her freakishly small waist, perky chest or even her legs for days. Frankly, I couldn’t have cared less about those things. I longed for hair like Barbie’s.
It wasn’t that it was long or even golden blonde. I would have settled for hair that you could run a brush through without having to cut it out.
But such was not my lot in life.
Mine was the hair that looked 80s until the new millennium (think Whitesnake.) Thick curls that were the perfect target for spit balls in junior high. And Heaven forbid you put a hat on it (think sister Bozo.)
And don’t even get me started on Julia Roberts. When I watched Pretty Woman for the first time, I was obsessed. Imagine curls that you could pull down from an awesome, old school scrunchie, give them a gentle shake and boom, goddess hair. But when I took my scrunchie out, my hair still looked like it was in a ponytail (you curly haired girls know exactly what I’m talking about.)
God bless the day when I bought a flat iron. Sure, it’s been a 20 year-long, daily battle with nature. Granted, I have to semi char my hair to make the curls disappear. But hey, we do what we have to do.
As if all of this wasn’t neurotic enough, three years ago I was in actual labor (excruciating, horrific labor that I later discovered was intensified by a placental abruption) and yet, still trying to straighten my hair. Between contractions I lamented to my husband how badly I didn’t want my daughter to meet me for the first time with curly hair.
Let’s just blame that one on pregnancy hormone crazies.
Fast forward to three weeks ago.
My daughter (the same one that met me for the first time with my wild curls rocking like a lion’s mane) walked into the bathroom while I was frying my curls into submission.
“Mommy, why don’t you wear your curls and we can have twinsie hair?”
How could I possibly answer that? “Well, your curls are beautiful but Mommy’s hair looks like Carrot-Top morphed with a ball of dryer lint.” Probably not. I was at a total loss. So, in my infinite wisdom, I pretended not to hear her and suggested we go get ice cream after I finished my hair.
After the initial “I feel like a hypocritical creep” feelings, I started to really think about why I have such disdain for my hair. And I realized it actually had very little to do with curls.
It had everything to do with the teasing, the insults and how different my curls made me feel years ago. I had brought it all right on into adulthood. The fact that I didn’t fit this “beauty ideal.”
I let obnoxious, junior high boys define beauty for me as a 34-year-old woman.
Sometimes I feel like such a dope.
I thought about my own daughters. Delaney has the hair of my dreams. I envy it daily. Marlee has lovely, unruly and wild hair that so perfectly fits her personality. Each embracing what she’s been given, inside and out. One not trying to be other, one no less lovely than the other.
So why can’t I do the same? Hair and beyond. All those qualities that sometimes feel like they are a little too much. Too much personality, too loud, too many curls, too offbeat. All of the things God designed to make me who I am. After all, the one who knows the very number of hairs on my head (Luke 12:7) determined long ago that they would be, indeed, kinky curly hairs at that.
If God himself included curls as part of the package, why find them anything less than lovely?
Why do we fight so hard to fit an “ideal” or standard? How vanilla that life would be.
So, I laid down all the reasons I hate curly hair. I lathered up like I was starring in a Pantene commercial, gave my flat iron a rest for the day and rocked the stuffing out of my curly locks.
And you know what? I didn’t hate it.
No one threw spitballs at me, or called me Marge Simpson. Junior High is still safely back in the 90s and the world kept turning. I didn’t throw my flat iron away. (Let’s not get crazy!) But it’s safe to say my daughter and I will have many more twinsie hair days in the future.
And I will absolutely continue to embrace, and even celebrate, all the ways that I’m “too much.”
Becca Fee-Carter is a wife and mother of 2 amazing daughters. She lives in Kentucky where she enjoys obsessively reading, running 5Ks with her daughters and bargain shopping. She loves Jesus, daily discovering new facets of God’s grace, and the fact that she’s so far from perfect and that is just fine. Read Becca’s posts here.
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