My Connection to My Hair

myconnectiontomyhair

I’ve had long hair since I can remember. The only photos I’ve ever seen of me without it are baby photos and even in those of me at 4 or 5 I already have long hair. I did have bangs as a kid and I don’t remember exactly when they grew out, but it was before I was a teenager. So the hair you see me with now is the (style) of hair I have always had, perhaps with a different part occasionally. That may not really sink in for some of you, but this is something I’ve wanted to blog about for a while, so here goes…

Let’s start with a little perspective as far as what I think must be a very common thing for so many women (and men). No one has cut my hair in the last 20 years of my life, probably longer. My mother trimmed it for me until I moved to Detroit and now my husband trims it once every few months. I’ve never had my hair done in a salon aside from one time when I was a little kid (5 or 6) and my mother booked my birthday at a salon and they curled my hair. I’ve had my hair done for shoots, but maybe only 10 times in the 7 years I’ve been modeling.

Tendrils -  self portrait Buy a print
Tendrils – self portraitBuy a print

I think my hair has factored into my modeling quite a bit, mostly in a positive way. But I remember the first time a photographer told me to “just put it up, get it out of the way, I don’t want to have to retouch all of that.” I want to say it was my first year modeling and after that I actually started to worry that my hair was in the way during shoots, so I would often put it up or at least try to keep it back so as not to inconvenience photographers. And then came the day I shot this self portrait about 2 years ago. After that, I was actually being asked to feature my hair and to “do that thing” with it. Now my normal is having it down and doing its thing, and if I put it up that’s more unusual (though I don’t mind that, and I think it’s preferable for certain things). I often say my hair is its own entity because it tends to take on a life of its own. It creates patterns and swirls and such that I can’t really control.

On a more personal side… I grew up with long hair because my mother had long hair and my father always expressed that women should have long hair. Despite this, I didn’t grow up in a particularly conservative household and I probably could have cut it any time I wanted. My sister cut her hair at least a few years ago now and my mother cut hers a few years ago too and there wasn’t too much fuss I remember over either of those. I think I kept my hair as a teenager and in college because I felt like it set me apart. I met very few other young women or teenagers with hair as long as mine. Now, of course, I know a few others, but it’s still less common and I think it makes it easier to spot and describe me.

However, as I’ve gotten older, being different isn’t really why I keep my hair any more. I keep it now because it’s familiar, it’s comforting, and, honestly, I feel like it’s a deeper part of me. I know that not everyone has that connection with their hair and I don’t expect them to. But mine has been with me for so long. It’s one of the ways I cope with anxiety and stress. And if you’ve ever seen me working events, you know that I’m what people like to call “high strung” on many things (though I try to hide it sometimes). It’s also part of my rituals. I pull my hair back into a half pony tail when I’m cleaning, working out, or working on events.

Photographer: DVS
Photographer: DVS

On a more practical note… I also feel like my hair is incredibly low maintenance. I see others complain about long hair and I’m curious as to what they do. I wash mine with an all natural shampoo bar once or twice a week, I condition the ends with a similar conditioner, and I use water or a bit of lotion or conditioner to smooth the fly-aways if I need to, though I usually just let them go. I don’t use heat on my hair, I don’t curl it or straighten it, and I don’t style it. Once in a while I’ll henndigo it to darken the color and that is a long process, but it’s not something I do often and it’s a ritual I enjoy. Sure it can get in the way sometimes and the wind plays with it a lot, but I love that feeling of wind really whipping it around. And it really only gets in the way if I should have put it up and I didn’t.

Can you tell I love my hair? I feel like it defines part of me in some ways and I really can’t imagine myself without it, even though I’ve had people tell me I should shave it or cut it really short. I have to check myself before I respond because I can get rather defensive. I love other styles on other people, but I don’t want anything else for myself.