Have you ever had a friend that just tells it like it is? Especially when you’re talking like a crazy person?
Friendship is powerful thing. Or, at least, it can be.
Some friendships lie on the surfaces of life and that is perfectly OK. They serve a valuable purpose in our lives.
Some friendships sit below the surface, and those are great, too.
Some linger somewhere between these two. They look a lot like friends. But just like weeds in a garden, just because they bloom doesn’t mean they belong there.
But then there are the friendships that sink roots into your soul. You know, the kind where the other person knows you better than you sometimes know yourself?
Those are gold.
And why? Because they’re the people in your life that will tell it to you straight. And, good lord, we all need that type of person in our lives sometimes, don’t we?
They’re the people that will say, “He’s an asshole,” or “You can’t continue to wear that because it looks awful on you,” or “Hand me the scissors. You’re not allowed to cut your own hair.”
I’ve personally been on a “hair journey” for the last 3 years (no, that’s not me in the horrible bangs photo above. Shoutout to Courtney Cox in Scream 3. I hope she got paid a buttload of money for having to walk around like that for awhile).
My natural color growing up, though, was a dark brown that just got darker and darker until it was nearly black. Unfortunately, I started going gray when I was about 21. And not just a stray hair here or there.
So what’s a girl to do when she’s 21, looks like she’s 15 still, and is going gray? Invite Ms. Clairol over for lunch and make her your best friend, that’s what.
By the time I was in my 40’s, my stick straight hair was black as night and all one length just about to my waist. Sounds fantastic, right? It was. But we’re never really satisfied with what we have, are we?
If you have super fine, super straight hair, you know that it is pretty stubborn about what it will and won’t do for you. Hot rollers? Regular rollers? Curling iron? Hair products? Enough hairspray to induce an air advisory warning? You name it and you’ll get curl for about 15 minutes and then it all goes to hell.
If you’re like most people, when you have a hair-brained idea (yes, pun intended) to do something drastic to your hair, you have a sister or a friend that says, “Noooooooooo!!!!”
Well, I’m an only child. And I had a friend that said, “OMG, yaaaaassssss!!!!”
Notice I used the past tense there? There were other things that led to the demise of our friendship. This was the tip of the iceberg, though, in the illustrated guide to Why Our Values and Decisions are Wildly Different and We Should Probably Part Ways.
The drastic thing I decided to do? Perm my own hair. And she didn’t just enthusiastically approve. She helped.
Not a crazy perm, though. Just soft, beachy waves. Famous last words.
I got the waves.
I also got to cut 18 inches of hair off that was fried beyond reasonable recognition.
But then I got this amazing dramatic A-line cut, which I came to love and looked great stick straight, which was a good thing because those beachy waves settled into a smooth as glass surface within just a couple months.
But back to the color. My hair was still black, and I loved it. And then it was black with a big red streak in the front, and I loved it even more.
I loved it except that I was having to dye my roots every three weeks because I was soooo gray by that time.
So three years ago I began the journey to strip out over 20 years worth of permanent black dye jobs.
I was lucky that I worked for a fashion designer at the time and having weird hair was no big deal because, in the ensuing months, my hair was crazy. It took several rounds of bleaching and toning and dying lighter colors to finally get to something that blended. And more inches cut off due to damage over the months of this process.
Friends tell me all the time now that they love my hair. I’m sure they do. Or they’re just being nice.
Either way, I love that I don’t have to dye it every three weeks, though I sometimes throw a pop of purple or red in it just for fun. I use a toning shampoo to keep it bright, but that’s bout it. It’s amazing how freeing it is to just let it go and be…the currently real me.
But I’ll tell you a secret. Nearly three years on, and I still don’t feel completely like “me”. I often look in the mirror and wonder who that person is staring back at me. She doesn’t reflect the person I feel like on the inside. I’m learning to come to terms with that.
But these crises of consciousness come and, when they do, I consider crazy things agains. I have seriously considered going back to the black. There have been several times when I almost cut it all off. I mean like “I’m thinking of shaving half of my head” type of thing. OK, let’s be honest. I thought about shaving it all.
Thank the gods for a friend that DID say, “Nooooooooo” when I proposed the shaving and instead she gave me a killer cut (thank the gods for friends who are hairdressers, too).
That’s what those gold-standard friends do. They tell you when you’re being stupid.
They tell you when the person you’re seeing is not the gem you pretend to the world that they are.
They tell you when you’re not allowed to wear track pants anymore despite you desperately whining “but they’re so comfortable!”
And they don’t let you cut your own bangs.
So here’s to friends. And good hair.