So I am currently having a major dilemma in my life.
The same dilemma that happens at least once a year, I mindfully start to feel it sneaking in. I differ it for as long as I can, I hold back speaking aloud of the issue, though in my head I am screaming; “YOU CANNOT KEEP THIS TO YOURSELF MUCH LONGER!”
And just as I think I that this year I can handle it, and maybe it’s not actually that bad; I burst into a cascade of fireworks and those lucky enough to be surrounded by me at that time, cops it.
Usually the ones that cop it, are my friends, most lately it’s my boyfriend, and friendly backpackers that may have only known me a few days. As I rave about the dilemma they look at me with blank stares as if to say, “Nat it’s actually not that big of a deal, calm down.” Then eventually, once my exhaustion takes over from ranting about it they tell me exactly that.
The dilemma I am referring too, is my hair.
I was born into an Italian infused family background. As a half Aussie, half Italian, this usually means that you are gifted with an extreme wog accent, over-the-top antipasto platters for recess and lunch as a child, and dark hair growing profusely in most places of your body.
Most of the time, Aussie-Italians live in certain parts outside of a main city with crazy-stupid woggy names like “Wagga Wagga” or “Black town”. They are dubbed “Westies”, on top of their stature of “Wogs”.
You an absolute outcast as a child, in primary school whilst everyone around you is eating their ham and salad sandwiche, with a side of petite miam yoghurt, you are eating olives and feta on sourdough bread infused with pruscuitto and sun dried tomatoes.
Whilst as an adult, this is a delicacy, an exotic treat, as a child it’s a living hell. And each day that lunch time rolls around you fight with yourself whether to screw all the other children and their snide remarks and eat your delicious lunch, or leave it in your bag to swelter and rot in the Australian heat.
I was lucky enough not be one of those Aussie-Italians. Whilst my school lunches were absolutely delicious and way more interesting than any other of my friends lunches, I have never had excessive dark hair growing in any unwanted places and my accent, if anything borders between Aussie/British/American. My mother and father lived in Blacktown as teenagers and so, as a right of passage, once old enough to move away, they headed to Sydney’s Northern beaches, where Aussie accents are prime and Italian delis are only numbered (though my mother still fought to find them until she was restricted to a gluten free/dairy free/sugar free/everything free lifestyle).
I did however gain one Italian trait, a trait that without, I would be seen non-exotic, just like every one else. A trait that literally defines me, that people have come to know me by. My hair. The golden-red curls that fell from my head as a baby left those around me in awe of how adorable I was. The cutest baby out of all the children my parents had (sorry Dan and Bel, it’s true) my curls defined me from a young age.
As I grew into a young, stubborn teenager I went through periods were I would cry every morning before school. “I HATE MY HAIR!” I would ramble through broken tears, trying to pull my sisters hair straightener away from her with only 5 minutes until our local school bus down the road was going to leave.
I got my hair chemically straightened, twice, between the ages of 15 and 17. Regretting each time shortly after, because well, as much as I hated my curls, they defined me.
As I grew up I started to accept my curls, and as I grew into my late teenage years I began to love them, and work them. They are after all, how most people have come to know me by. Can’t find me in a crowd? Just look for the hair.
My fathers stubborn nature, along with his curls, are the only traits I carry from him. His hair, and his stubbornness. This goes hand in hand when each year I look in the mirror, and from having coloured it numerous times, mixed with its natural dryness, I banter and cry until someone will listen.
Right now I am struggling with the dry, brittle mop that is my head. My curls look as fresh and springy as ever but I can feel the split ends wagering between themselves how long it will take for me to throw in the rope and cut them all off.
After a hair-cut gone wrong in Canada THREE YEARS AGO (to say the least, I wanted a trim, she cut off more than half my hair), mixed in with a hair colouring gone wrong 2 years ago (peroxide and all), I decided to henna my head, and vowed to never use anything toxic and un natural on my hair EVER AGAIN. I have stuck too it. But over the 6 months that I hennaed my head I didn’t realise how my already bleached hair could not handle the dry henna seeping through my brittle curls.
Now a year on, though half my head has grown out to its natural colour, the remaining henna curls are as dry and consumingly upsetting as ever. Each day that passes in India I vow to chop them off, to start fresh. Each day I bluff.
But you know what really annoys me?
As I search the Internet for cool hair styles for natural curly short hair, I scroll through pages and pages of girls with short hair, who have straightened it, then curled it, to try and give of a “naturally curly” effect. Each blog post or website I read that states “15 hair styles for naturally curly hair”, or “How to manage short naturally curly hair.” Are so far from the truth it makes me want to message each editor and tell them to take their sleek straight hair and shave it off.
Um excuse me, don’t feed me this shit internet, it’s the 21st century, I have been waiting 10 years to find one women on the internet, who’s not black that actually has NATURALLY SHORT CURLY HAIR!
Stop giving girls false hope that if we cut our curls to a pixie cut we will look like the women in these photos who have straightenered, then curled their hair with mass products. AH YOU MAKE ME SO ANGRY!
Having curly hair is awesome but the Internet just does not understand how to feed those like me, with collective, correct information.
I think I should start a campaign for curly haired women alike, we could probably start a war, or end world hunger if we all teamed up.
Anyway I just thought I would let all you guys know about my hair dilemma, and how much I hate the Internet right now for not allowing to find a photo that will assure me that cutting off most of my hair won’t lead me to hating myself and a head full of frizzy fro. As I sit here in this cafe in Varanasi I look at my partner, and a new girl friend who has had similar hair dilemmas, and I swear to them both that this is it, today’s the day, my head does not deserve to suffer any longer.
I’ll wait for them to call my bluff.
But if they don’t the floor is sure to be filled with fluff.