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Hairy Situations Redux

We can’t help what we were born with. Especially hair. I have a lot of it.

Being of ethnic descent, my head came with thick coarse curly strands. You’d think after 39 years I would have a routine down pat on how to control it. I don’t. It’s a crapshoot every day how it is going to look. I’ve spent gobs of money on useless hair care products, that should have gone to my kids’ college savings fund. But being an optimistic person, I deal with it – some days it’s clean and sleek and others it’s homeless chic.

At my job, we all have column sigs with our articles. These are little pictures of us. My first one was a picture of me when I had my hair curly and wild. People would actually leave messages and send me letters and emails asking if “I used a pick to fluff it out” or if “that was my real hair.”

Being the insecure hair person I am, I got it layered and straightened it as flat as I could get it and had a new picture taken.

I felt satisfied and thought it would solve the problem of stopping these kinds of comments. I wanted to move on so I could get back to my workload. This was a few months back.

Today I received a letter on my desk from a lady in Mesa. She sent a clipping of an article we had in our editorial section about how “the tyranny of tousled locks sends the wrong message about our values.”

Stapled to this rant about “bad hair” was a clipping of my column sig picture. That was it! She sent it to the editorial editor, but the clerk who opened it gave it to me instead.

All of a sudden these nerdy feelings of being in sixth grade came rushing back. Being one of three Hispanics at my school, everything about me was slightly different than everyone else. OK, not everything, but my hair sure was.

All the other chicas had beautiful straight long hair that feathered at the sides so perfectly. Mine was short, kinky and choppy (it grows out and not down, so I had to keep it short). I pretended to feather my hair when actually comb I used would snap at the base if I tried to run them through.

I had boy hair and tried to balance it out by wearing brown lip gloss. Regardless, I carried around a thick pink comb in my back pocket to fit in. My friends made me feel like my hair was just like theirs. But I knew better. The whole time inside I felt so lame and ugly for being the only one in the bunch with boy hair.

It wasn’t until I was in my 20’s that I embraced my curly locks and had my way with them – from a European flat-top to Lady Godiva gothic hair extensions down to my waist. My big hair became a big part of my identity that I appreciated. It was great when I got into Caribbean culture. People always thought I was from some exotic island. “Nope, just Phoenix,” I’d reply.

But not today. It was sixth grade all over again.

There’s nothing I can do about it. I’m not going to stress over it because I know I can’t please everyone. And this lady was too chicken to leave any info for me to call her back. I have questions!

I want to know what she meant by this! Never in a million years would I, or any of the people I know and like, ever do something so mean. I spend my days trying to inspire people and then out of left field I get smacked. I wonder what her hair looks like? I wonder what her life is like that she takes time to clip two separate articles from two separate days, put them in an envelope, lick a stamp and send them in?

Shouldn’t she be, like, watching The Apprentice like the rest of America? She obviously isn’t a crafty type, otherwise, she would be clipping newspapers to make a fabulous paper mache project or hand made paper to create clever cards for her loved ones.

OK, this post makes no sense, I’m rambling.

Bottom line is, despite the matted, knotted, tangly days, I LOVE my hair and wouldn’t trade it for anything! So there, missy from Mesa – take that!

I’m going to be Zen and hippy about this and wish her well. I hope happy things happen in her life to change her perspective – before her bad karma kicks her in the nalgas!

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