The chronicles of the mane


Reena pictured right

Every time someone around me disgustedly extracts a strand of hair from their surroundings, all eyes point to me. The inevitable sputtering of, “it’s not mine!” that I indignantly exclaim is always followed by a series of rolled eyes and a chorus of annoyed replies challenging my declaration.

That’s what having my hair is like. My hair is thick, curly, and big. And by thick, curly, and big, I mean very thick, very curly, and very big. My hair does not shy away from the extremes. Every adjective you can dream up to describe my hair with is preceded with a “very.”

My hair is an eternal annoyance or envy of everyone– depends on the person. Those who claim jealousy are either blissfully ignorant as to how much work this mane is, or they’re merely trying to be nice (probably out of pity).

As a toddler, I teetered around with a black, extra curly cotton ball atop my head. Despite the colorful clips my mother attempted to adorn my hair with, or the pigtails she would wrangle them into, nothing and no one could tame it.

And then, at some point, my hair magically turned straight. I waltzed into preschool with stick straight hair, chopped right at my ears, courtesy of my mother. By first grade, my signature bob cut transformed into my signature Professor Snape look– eternally oily, shoulder length hair. That look plagued me all through elementary school.

The Central Woodlands years flashed by; everyone around me was tortured with my ever-greasy face to match my hair. Then middle school rolled around, and suddenly my hair was curly once more.

I was distraught with this turn of events, to say the least. I spent at least two summers scouring the Internet for a way to make my hair straight without frying it. My search history was filled to the brim with a million variations, all containing the same keywords: “straighten hair,” “no heat,” “overnight.” I tried everything. All I could produce, if anything, was crimped, extremely poofy hair.
And as time trudged on, my hair only ran in the opposite direction. It got more thick, more curly, and even bigger. I was forced to accept my fate. As I grew, that acceptance evolved into embracement. I hated my hair for a long time. And even now, I don’t love it at every moment of the day. But now, I don’t try in vain to change it. I let it do as it pleases. I let it be free, and in turn, so am I.