Life Lessons from My Hair
9-ish years ago I was getting ready to sell everything I owned and move from Boston to Los Angeles for grad school. I was terrified of becoming the MBA version of Legally Blonde so my checklist including dying my naturally blonde hair to a very business-y chestnut brown.
Two weeks later my hair had completely rejected the dye and my hair seemed to be more blonde than it ever was before.
And this is the first time I realized my hair was probably my best teacher of life lessons. I was trying to project a certain image because ultimately I didn’t think I was worthy of business school. My hair was the first to show me I just needed to be myself and own my Wildly Imperfect self. Yes, my hair was elevated to Guru status.
I was telling this story recently to someone going through something similar - wanting to be taken seriously in a grad school type situation. I couldn’t help but think back to all the places I’ve lived and how if I had paid closer attention I probably could have learned a lot more from my hair.
So now I share with you even more life lessons from my new guru:
Moving to Los Angeles and the warmer temperatures was incredible. I rarely needed to blow dry my hair because it was warm enough to just let it air dry year round - a luxury I didn’t have in Boston. Because of this, this was the first time I truly embraced my curls/waves. It’s hard to explain how I didn’t really know I had curly hair before this, but I didn’t. This was a new thing for me. Once again my hair was teaching me the lesson that I needed to embrace who I really am.
Connecticut & Arizona
I left California for my first post-MBA job. I also lost my curls. I straightened my long hair daily. As I sit here and reflect back, I can see that once again I was trying so hard to fit in. In this case though I wasn’t able to listen to myself or my hair. I met some amazing people in both states and I don’t want to discount my experiences there because I had the time of my life, but looking back I know that wasn’t the true version of me. And it definitely wasn’t the true version of my hair.
By the time I moved to New York City, my hair was in complete Rebel mode. No matter what I did the curls were working overtime to reveal themselves. The frizz was constant. Once again I went to extremes. This time to have it permanently straightened. It took so long to get done and cost a ton of money. On Monday I went to work and my friend asked when I was getting my hair done. I was heart broken. But my hair wasn’t having it. At this point I knew my hair wanted to be its true self: blonde and curly.
When I moved to Dallas, I was completely miserable and craved a change. So once more I took to my hair. What was left to change? The length. I chopped all my hair off so it was as short as my chin. And obviously this backfired too :) Though my hair couldn’t completely rebel and just all of a sudden be long again. Once again I was trying to be something I was not. I was tired of being told how young I looked and I felt like I was being taken seriously. The short hair was supposed to make me look older and instead I looked even younger.
I envy the people with the brightly colored dyed hair and the perfectly Pinterest Lauren Conrad curls. My hair has taught me a lot about being my true self. My hair doesn’t want to be forced into a certain mold. It’s definitely not going to do what’s expected of itself to please me. And I know that’s a huge lesson I need to learn in terms of owning who I am and to stop trying to be the person other people want me to be.
So to my hair, to my guru, thank you for the lesson. Can’t wait to see what else you have in store for me :)