by Monica Beyer
I was born in 1974, and I was basically bald for months before I sprouted my first few hairs. Once that started, things got serious pretty fast. I had a head full of tight curls by the time I was three years old, and it didn't take long for me to realize how unique and different it was — basically, I heard about my hair all the time and it pretty much sucked.
Whether it was adults telling me they paid good money for perms and how "lucky" I was, or other kids being completely awful to me because I looked like an idiot or a boy, I learned that my hair made me stand out, it was basically the worst, and I was a walking circus clown. While I've come to terms with it as of late, the lessons it has taught me will never be forgotten.
Here are eight things I've learned after fighting my shitty head of hair for 42 years.
Every day is something new.
If my hair looks great one day, there is no guarantee that the next will be the same, or even marginally the same. Curly hair does what it wants, when it wants, and it can be a complete shitbird for no good reason at all. It doesn't dry the same way every time, and it does not react to the environment the same way every time. It just won't do it, and I'm left to suffer the consequences.
You cannot comb curly hair.
Yes, combing it is possible, but only when wet, and really, a pick or a wide-toothed comb is the way to go. If I try to comb my hair when it's dry, I'm basically asking for trouble. It will do the most heinous things when those curls get separated, and I hate them all (it kind of looks like Gilda Radner's Roseanne Roseannadanna, so yeah there's this year's Halloween costume).
Water is the enemy.
No, not the water from the shower, but water in the air in the form of rain, snow, or humidity will be a complete ass to my 'do (and yours too, if you've also been "blessed"). When I experience excess humidity, my hair acts like it has no regards for my sanity, which is pretty rude. The best place I ever visited was Colorado, which my hair loved, and I didn't even care my lips cracked until they bled. My hair was nice.
Getting a haircut is a... challenge.
I've learned to only see hairdressers who actually have curly hair themselves, because other people just don't quite get it. Layers are a good idea but they don't always work if they're not done just right. Even then, you can be left with a mess you can't even deal with.
You are willing to try "just one more" product.
I have dropped tons of cash on anti-frizz products that promise to smooth my curls into amazing springs of luxury. The truth? Most of them have not worked for me. They either weigh my locks down or my hair gets frizzed out anyway. That doesn't mean I haven't continued to seek out new products, because one may work eventually (spoiler: I have finally found one that works pretty well — LUSH's R&B Hair Moisturizer, applied to wet hair, does wonders when I force individual curls to twirl up nicely, followed by an air dry, but I still had to convince myself to drop $25 on a tiny pot of stuff before trying it — AND it's a huge PITA to twirl each one of those bitches every single time).
Everyone loves or wants your hair.
OK, now this isn't 100 percent true all the time, but I still have people asking how I get my hair to "do that" or wishing mightily that they were born with this particular curse. Of course, this typically only happens on my "good" hair days (in other words, when I haven't given up and braided or tied my hair out of my face out of despair), so I don't really experience people begging for crappy braids on the regular. Still, it happens enough that I feel like a walking beauty school display.
Your kids may not have curly hair.
I have four kids, and they all have completely different hair. One has the same as me, the two in the middle are more wavy than curly, and the baby of the fam basically has stick-straight hair. It's the most amazing thing. I never thought I'd birth a babe with straight hair, but I did — and I actually have had to learn a few things to take care of it. And I also learned that shit can still tangle.
The good hair day/bad hair day ratio is not great.
So, curly hair is basically the devil, but when it looks good, it looks really, really good. The ratio of good hair days to bad ones is pretty heavily weighted to the bad side, but I guess I'll be happy with never having uninteresting hair, whether that is a good thing or not. It makes life more challenging, and that's not always a bad thing, is it? Maybe, maybe not. The jury is still out on that one.
Monica Beyer lives in the Kansas City area with a husband and a houseful of kids. She has been writing things on the internets for over eight years, and her work has appeared at SheKnows, Thrillist, Mental Floss, Good Housekeeping, Babble, GOOD Magazine, and tons more.