Amanda’s Corner: My Hair—A History of Me

Amanda's Corner
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My hair can’t make up its mind.

My hair has a lengthy history of change. Different stages of my life present different states of hair. As my life has spiraled through different experiences, places and opportunities, my hair has spiraled, too—and straightened and frizzed and swirled around my neck and over my shoulders. Take a look:

Amanda, newborn: short sprigs of blonde hair on the crown of my head. I may have been 12 weeks premature and under constant watch for health issues, but I did have nice hair going for me. In a professional photograph of my twin brother Ian and me at this young age, just around when we left the hospital, I even have my minute hand on the side of my head, as if I am ready to run my teeny fingers through my hair.

Amanda, age 2: white-blonde ringlets. As I learned to talk and walk and play, my hair grew to shoulder-length. I sported bouncy curls that my mom liked to adorn with bows.

Amanda, age 4: long and wavy. By this point, I had learned how to read, and my hair loosened out to waves. It was brushed and braided by my mom, whose curls I inherited.

Amanda, age 10: straight and sleek. I distinctly remember my fourth grade picture day at school. I wore a white long-sleeve shirt, black dress pants and a pea-green vest—when vests were all the rage—and had a green background to compliment my outfit. What I remember the most about the picture—besides my puckered lips that led to a nickname which I would rather not remember—was my hair: long, sleek and beach blonde. During my worst hair days later on life, I would look back on this period and snarl with jealousy. What happened to that hair? What happened to the young girl whose biggest decision was which book to read for fun?

Amanda, age 13: frizzed out. Basically, a disaster. At the end of seventh grade, humidity clung to the air, and I grew a lion’s mane of frizzy, loose curls. This occurred toward the end of my puberty stage; thus, as I grew taller, my hair became crazier. No serum or cream seemed to help. I felt awkward. What a welcome to teenage years! Yet as I stared myself down in the mirror, I began to accept my locks, just as I began to accept and love myself.

Amanda, age 15: under control – maybe? My hairdresser cut my locks to my shoulders over MLK weekend, which rejuvenated my hard-to-tame head of hair, with a little bit of layering going on. I also found an almost magic styling liquid from mark by Avon that worked wonders when I used it as a scrunching mechanism. Suddenly, I felt better about myself in the midst of those awkward teenage years. Who knew something as simple as a haircut could be a miracle worker?

Amanda, age 22 [present day]: wispy and wavy, and a little wild at times. My hair is now the longest it has been since I was in fourth grade, falling approximately an inch below my chest. Its length has weighed down my waves. Wake-up-and-go kind of hair, no comb or curling iron necessary. (Though I would still like to learn how to properly curl my hair using a barrel.) Years ago, I would have dreamed of this kind of hair. It is absolutely nowhere near shampoo commercial status, but nevertheless, it is the silkiest it has been in ten years. But now, I have more important things to worry about.

Varying degrees of curls and frizz have ensued throughout my life. I had all sorts of haircuts in between stages, as well. (Including the Rachel. Yes, in fourth grade, I wanted the layered hair cut so coveted in the 90s, even though I had never watched Friends.) As my hair has changed over the years, I cannot say that my hair defines who I am. Cut it, shape it, style it, and I will still be me. As the song by India.Arie goes, “I am not my hair.”

I can declare, however, that I have grown up each step of the way. And in a little more than two weeks from now, I will be graduating from college. Quite frankly, the future frightens me a little bit. But I’m ready to step right into it, with my hair (however it looks) whipping in the wind.

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