I am not my hair…or am I?

Priscilla Halterman Girls

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So, it's time to confess. About a month ago I splurged on a rather luxurious hair treatment.  I thought if anyone needed hair therapy, it was me.  I have suffered from what I like to call “bad hair genes” since I turned twelve years old and my mane went from soft curls to perpetual frizz. Ever since I have been unable to shake the “hair guilt” that rids me each morning as I try to transform myself. I have literally wasted years of my life sweating through a forty minute blow-drying, straightening and smoothing routine. I've gotten better over time about only going through what I call “the process” every two to three days, but during my self-conscious high school years I would wake at 5:30 every morning just to make time for the diabolical blowouts.

I've tried going au natural, and while my hubby prefers the half-curly, slightly frizzy wave I have going on, it only takes about five minutes before I'm tugging at it and putting it into a messy ponytail. I've even tried journaling about my hair and listening to therapeutic songs like “I Am Not My Hair” by India Arie (for real) but to no avail. So, when I heard about the Keratin treatment I decided to take the plunge and reclaim my life after years of being a hair slave.

I had visions of “hair heaven” as the treatment promised to “eliminate up to 95% of frizz and curl and instantly add amazing shine, silkiness and condition to the hair” all without undergoing a chemical process. The biggest downside (besides the price) is that you must wait three days before you can wash or basically touch your hair. This includes no rain, no sweat, no sunglasses on the head, or putting hair behind your ears. For those of us with a newborn, not getting spit, milk or boogers in our hair for three entire days is nearly impossible, although, because the hair is so silky and smooth for those three days, it actually didn't bother me too much. I ended up having to get the process done twice because the first time my cuticle didn’t open enough to accept the treatment, which meant, yes, three more days of hair hell, but the second time the results were SO worth it! My hair looked like this after only ten minutes of blow drying and a quick swipe of the straightening iron with NO products! Hallelujah times a hundred!

Can you sense my excitement?

In the song, Miss Arie asks:
Does the way I wear my hair make me a better person?
Does the way I wear my hair make me a better friend? 
Does the way I wear my hair determine my integrity?

And she answers:
I am not my hair
I am not this skin
I am not your expectations, no no
I am not my hair 
I am not this skin 
I am a soul that lives within

I, too, would like to say I am not my hair. I would like to say I am not defined by the car I drive, the clothes or size I wear, the whiteness of my teeth, the straightness of my hair,_________ fill in the blank. I would like to say I don't believe that my worth is determined by physical attributes, but I, like many women, struggle with these things on a daily basis. 

I may not have the answers to the constant, complex war we wage with ourselves, but, I do know three simple things:
1. What really matters most is what’s on the inside; the soul that lives within.
2. I want to raise my daughter to believe that she is defined by this inner soul, and not her physical qualities. 
3. Money can't buy happiness (and the Countess from Real Housewives of New York taught me that “money can't buy ya cla-hass,” either). 

I also know that if momma’s hair ain’t happy, SHE AIN’T HAPPY. 
So if money can buy a holy hair miracle, maybe it really is worth it.

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Priscilla Halterman

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