The life and times of my hair. The finale. For now.

Oh internet. I don’t know what has warmed my heart more in the last twenty-four hours, your unwavering support as I walked through a truly horrific hair past or knowing that apparently countless numbers of pre-adolescent girls were led to believe their mouths were shaped wrong to play the flute.

I have no doubt we were all victims of some vast conspiracy by band directors all over the United States to push the clarinet on poor, unwitting souls who just wanted to play the flute. This practice wasn’t just reserved for girls who wanted to play the flute, P was forced to play the baritone just because he was the only 6th grade boy strong enough to lug it home each day and his mama drove a station wagon.

I feel that all of us have been robbed of what could have been a limitless music future.

Also, many of you inquired about the arm injury in my cheerleading picture. Honestly, I have no idea how I acquired that particular injury but let me tell you that combing through the pictorial archives has revealed that my arm was in some sort of ace bandage in a large majority of pictures. I believe I was what you may call a hypochondriac.

And a drama queen.

I’d like to tell y’all a very dramatic story about a cheerleading pyramid that went awry and caused some sort of hairline fracture, but I’m pretty sure it would be fiction.

So, I guess now is where I have to move on to the high school and college years. I’ll be honest, it’s a little more painful to reveal some of these photos. Like I told Gulley this afternoon, I’m not sure I want to show y’all the Glamour Shot that I took after my freshman year in college. It just seems too recent.

Gulley made me feel much better by reminding me that anything that happened the summer after my freshman year in college may be embarrassing, but certainly can’t be considered recent.

Point taken.

I left off with a very poufy version of the bi-level cut in my 8th grade year. As I made my way to the new world of high school, I felt it was time for something a little edgier. A little more mature. A haircut worthy of some Olan Mills fine portraiture.

Hello Maude.

I’m not sure what all was going on with this hair, but I do know that, at the time, I thought my hair had never looked lovelier or more sophisticated. I also remember this was a Unionbay outfit with a matching butter yellow skirt. It was my most treasured possession along with my Guess overalls.

By tenth grade, I had enough wisdom to quit inflicting these terrible things upon my hair and let it grow out. I’m not sure why I can’t find any school pictures from my sophomore year, but here I am on my way to senior prom that year.

My attendance at this particular prom was fraught with drama. I had been through a recent, traumatic breakup with a boyfriend for reasons that were completely my fault and led to him dumping me as his prom date. Fortunately, a nice boy in my Spanish class asked me to prom, and my hair and I were able to attend. And my hair held up beautifully even though I cried in the bathroom when “Lady In Red” came on and I saw my ex-boyfriend dancing with his date.

I bet my date was so glad he had asked me to the prom on the heels of my recent breakup.

With my junior year came the advent of the spiral perm.

Oh to be able to go back in time and ask the hairdresser to please not perm my bangs even though the sixteen year old sitting in her chair thought it was a brilliant idea.

The fact that I am wearing green Z. Cavaricci’s with those Esprit boots that looked like they had wool socks coming out of the top doesn’t really make me look like any less like someone who might have performed with the band “Poison”.

Every rose has its thorns. And every hair on my head was permed.

By my senior year in high school I was on top of the world. To quote the Pink Ladies, “I was going to rule the school.”

Judging by this series of pictures, I was going to rule with a big piece of grosgrain ribbon serving as my crown.

Wearing boyfriend’s letter jacket at football game. The ultimate in high school chic (chick).

Laura Ashley sailor dress. With white hose. And spectators.

Have mercy.

Leslie Lucks dress. With white hose. And spectators.

This is before I learned you should never wear white hose unless your name is followed by R.N. or you have an arterial blood flow problem.

At the end of senior year, it was time to document these precious moments in time with some senior pictures.

To this day my Nanny will still tell me that I’ve never looked more beautiful than I do in this picture and that I should still wear my hair like this. However, they no longer make sets of hot rollers with 52 individual rollers so it would be impossible to recreate this particular look.

And I really have no reason to show y’all this picture other than the sweet, acid-washed background just tickled me to no end. I guess the photographer just thought it screamed “DANCE TEAM”.

After all the pomp and circumstance, I headed off to college. I left my high school days behind me but not my old friend, the permanent solution.

In case you’re wondering, I’m wearing rolled up denim shorts a la Dirty Dancing. With socks. And Cole Haan tassled loafers.

Sometimes I would roll it with my case of 52 hot rollers and it would look like this.

Is that a double-breasted denim shirt? Oh my. If I recall that skirt also had a matching jacket.

Because what looks better than horizontal stripes around your entire body?

And sometimes, for formal events I would pull it all back in some sort of updo.

This is an historic picture because it is the night when Gulley and I became friends. We bonded over our terribly lame dates (mine wore a sweater vest). We also spent much of the evening debating what was bigger, her hair, my bangs or those sleeves on my dress.

The sleeves won, which is a monumental feat of fashion design.

But, eventually, all good things have to come to an end. However, I’ll be the first to admit that if the spiral perm were to make a comeback, I’d be first in line at the salon. I mean what other hairstyle affords you the ability to leave the house with wet hair covered in Aussie sprunch spray and call it a style?

As I continued my college career, I began to search for a more refined hairstyle. Something that really said, “I have no idea what I’m doing with my life or why my major is Speech Communications, but at least I look serious.”

So I tried this.

I think the gold Anne Klein doorknocker earrings really give the whole thing a sophisticated twist. As do the red, sculptured nails. Particularly the one that is taped on my thumb with scotch tape.

And then, in my fifth year of college I made a drastic move.

I own a briefcase and am hours away from having a college degree. Please hire me. I have very mature hair. Pay no attention to the fact that I am at a party where Jello shots are being served.

Eight months later I had graduated from college and found a job. I returned to A&M for Gulley’s graduation looking every bit the career minded woman. I had even used some sort of semi-permanent rinse to give myself auburn highlights.

At this time I was working as a financial advisor. If I look like someone who gave you financial advice anytime from 1994-1996, you may want to re-evaluate your stock portfolio. In short, I had no idea what I was doing although my hair seemed to convey maturity and financial savvy.

After this time, my hair really settled down. Of course I had the Rachel cut from “Friends” because it was like some kind of law that every girl in her twenties had to have that cut. But for the most part, I just let my hair grow long and alternated between short layers, no layers, and long layers.

I’ve worn it stick straight, I’ve worn it curled, I’ve worn it twisted up in a clip for a good six months at a time. And I’ve worn it in a ponytail almost every day for the last four and a half years because who has time for all the blow-drying?

Here I am about six months ago.

And here I am after I got nine inches cut off my hair last Friday.

If there is a lesson here (other than don’t wear white hose and perm your bangs) its that hair does recover from trauma. My hair has been through some trying times. Times that would have killed lesser hair follicles.

But that which does not kill our hair, makes it stronger. Or at least gives us something to laugh or cry about for years to come.

And remember, it will grow back.

About fifty people told me that in my comments one time.

The life and times of my hair

Who knew that compiling a hair retrospective would involve so much work and intense soul searching? Of course, truth be told, a large part of the soul searching has involved to what extent I am willing to share the sins of my hair past. To what degree will I shame myself?

Judging by what I’ve decided to put on display for all the internet to see, there is really not much of a limit. In fact, it has made me grateful that I did not come of age as part of the MySpace generation because otherwise there is no telling what I would have posted at age 19 when I thought pictures of Gulley and me sitting on a wooden Indian’s lap with glassy eyes (us, not the Indian) were hilarious.

God knew I was not meant to be a part of the internet generation during my perilous teens and early twenties, because while He removes my sins as far as the east is from the west, the internet remembers forever.

Anyway, judging by the comments the majority of y’all seem to be risk-takers when it comes to your hair. Y’all are members of the it will grow back club.

It’s caused me to examine the roots (pardon the pun) of my conservative hair ways. I’ve spent minutes of the last several days searching the deepest recesses of my soul to understand why I am afraid to take a hair leap of faith. I have even compiled some photographic evidence.

I realize I have a lot of time on my hands.

However, all my minutes of research made me feel compelled to present a hair retrospective, also known as the life and times of Big Mama’s hair.

This is me at five months old. Is it just me or do y’all see a hint of a mohawk?

And let’s all have a special moment of silence for the fabulous shag carpet used by Sears Portrait Studios everywhere in the early 70’s. Also, why all the lumps in the carpet?

Now here I am during my christening.

I can’t say for sure but I would be willing to bet money that my mama asked the priest to say a special blessing on my hair. I come from a long line of women who believe strongly in the power of good hair.

God surely heard the priest’s words because here I am at age three.

Hello lush, thick locks. Please note that at this age I did not have any type of bang issues.

For the rest of my earliest years I had long, thick hair that could be pulled back in various ponytails, pigtails, and braids. Then I became best friends with Michelle. We were in second grade, she had a Dorothy Hamill haircut and she convinced me that I wanted to sport the Dorothy Hamill, too.

Somehow the seven year old salesman in me managed to persuade my mama to let me get my hair all cut off. Here is the result.

Apparently, the short hair also made me very sporty and ready to strike athletic-like poses.

Also, now that I’m looking at that picture closely I realize that I have already had the Katie Holmes bob once in my life. Only it was called the Dorothy Hamill because Katie Holmes hadn’t been born yet.

By the way, my friendship with Michelle ended shortly after I got this haircut because I forgot to wear my pink corduroy pants to school and instead wore my green Luv-its. In short, Michelle was a bad seed that led me into the valley of bad hair and left me there.

After this, I spent years in a downhard hair spiral as evidenced by this series of school pictures.

I wish this was a full length picture because that is a red, terrycloth dress that I wore with Yo-Yos and my first pair of real pantyhose. I was very sophisticated.

Again, great outfit. Aqua Gloria Vanderbilt shirt with aqua Gloria Vanderbilt jeans that were sadly ruined by battery acid when I was changing the batteries in my eight-track tape player. It was the first real tragedy of my young life.

Those pictures are proof that my bangs issues can’t be completely blamed on postpartum hormones. For further evidence, let me present this picture.

That is my sister and me in some sweet matching dresses that came from Weiners. My daddy took us to have our picture taken and obviously, let us fix our own hair. Please note the cowlick in the middle of my bangs.

I apologize to my sister for throwing her under the bus by posting this picture. It’s the blessing of being related to me by blood and sharing a room, our clothing, and our DNA. Also, she’s proof that the bangs issue is most likely genetic.

Now, we progress into the years that my hair felt the influence of Farrah Fawcett and the wings phenomenon. My best friend at this time was Caroline Fletcher and she had the most glorious feathered hair in the universe. She could flip her head upside down and come up with some wings that made me weep with envy. I tried, very unsuccessfully, to achieve the same results but there wasn’t enough Final Net in the world to make it work.

I can’t even express how cool I was in fifth grade. Not only did I have the fab Izod shirt but I was wearing it with my Jordache jeans and the original Nike canvas tennis shoes with the baby blue swoosh.

Truth be told, I probably peaked in fifth grade.

Oh sixth grade. You were a cruel time period as evidenced by this gingham shirt that I wore with a denim prairie skirt and brown topsiders. This was also the year that I wasn’t allowed to play the flute in the band because my mouth was shaped wrong.

Seriously, sixth grade band director whose name I can’t remember? Look at that hairstyle. Look at those teeth. I had enough issues without being told I had to play the clarinet due to my lip structure.

By seventh grade, I decided to go with a new look. I think if you look closely you can see that I paired that yellow shirt with some yellow eyeshadow.

This is a hairstyle still favored by women who regularly participate in tractor pulls and monster truck races.

As is this.

In eighth grade I stuck to the same style but just slightly poufier. I didn’t know it then, but this was leading me into dangerous hair territory. Hair territory that would require that I never left my house without a teasing comb and a gallon of Aquanet hairspray. I was so young and naive. I had no idea where the poufy would lead.

That’s really all anyone should have to digest in one day. I will be back tomorrow with the continuation of my hair history which will involve more permanent solution and trauma than any one head of hair should have to endure. I refer to that time as high school.

It is grueling retracing this history, but I believe I will come out a more complete person on the other side with a better understanding of my roots.

Sometimes we must look back to be able to move forward. I think my sixth grade band director told me that.