#OTR50 Day 49: Incognito Hair

I’ve over 6,000 photos in my phone. Of all the pictures of me, selfies included, these are the only 5 I could find of me with straightened hair.

Almost all of the time, my hair is a combination of curly/wavy ringlets. That’s my “less prep” look. If it’s humid, I sometimes hate it as I feel like my head is a frizzy mess. On those days, it’s all I can do to put it up and feel presentable. However, most of the time, I’m happy with my natural look.

When I get my hair cut, my stylist, Nina, straightens it and I also love that look. The straightening takes time, but helps Nina cut it evenly before it returns to the natural tendency to curl or wave. The second my hair becomes wet, it immediately reverts.

Because of the effort it takes to dry and straighten it, and because I am fine with the curls, I call the photos above my “incognito” look. When my hair is like this, I literally do a double-take every time I see myself in a mirror. It doesn’t look like me! Also, I’ve experienced others doing the same double-take. Changing a signature feature can truly confuse people! This weekend, I went to a work event with the straightened hair. I had three people ask me about it. One even called it my “incognito spy” look!

Time travel back and for most of my 20s, I had exceptionally short hair. So short that I thought it was a bit wavy. I seriously had no inkling that I was wrong. In my mid-30s I grew my hair long. It was an awkward time for me as it took years. I had also never truly learned about how to care for and style the wavy-curly thick hair that I discovered as it grew long. For years, I fiddled with shampoos, conditioners, products, etc.

For most of my 30s, I also struggled with hair cuts as so many stylists would cut and dry my mop into something that would look beautiful for only the evening of the cut. It would then look completely lopsided by the next day.

However, at some point, I did find someone who understood. Someone who helped me figure out what product works. Figure out cuts and styles that work for both my curls and when my hair is blow-dried.

My 40s have been a decade of figuring out the things I like about myself both emotionally and physically. My hair belongs in that category.

As we age, our hair changes. It dries out and/or it thins out. For some of us, both will happen. This is the decade, I figured it out. Now that I’ve gone through this process, I’m confident that I’ll figure it out as it changes over the next decade as well.

I’m the only member of my immediate family that has yet to dye my hair a truly unusual color. Perhaps as I go (further) gray, I’ll experiment with a complementary color. Perhaps I’ll cut it short again.

Either way, this is all part of the process of getting to know myself. learning to be true and comfortable with oneself. Learning to deal with the emotional and the physical parts of ourselves. The things we like, the things we don’t, and the things we simply learn to accept as they are.

316 Days to go

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