When I was born I had a head full of scraggly black baby hair. My mother says it tickled her nose when she rocked me to sleep. Those baby locks fell out (as they do) and were replaced by fine, straight light brown hair. My mother kept it cut very short ala some sort of deranged 70’s elf. How I yearned for long hair. I wanted it down my back. I wanted pigtails, French braids, even a lone pony tail would satisfy me.
But my mother told me that my hair “wouldn’t grow any longer than it was”. And, at the tender age of 4, 5, maybe I was a mature 6…I don’t know exactly… I already believed myself to be dysfunctional. My hair won’t grow? Ok, one more thing that’s wrong with me. La-dee-da. Let’s play Barbies now. I believed everything she told me. Without question. My mother told me the interior door locks in our house did not work. There was no use to even try them.
I believed her and didn’t find out the truth till I brought a boy home from college. You can fill in the blanks on that one. Her way of teasing me was to tell me I was adopted. “You’ve been naughty so we’re going to send you back.”
I was/am a talker. My mother would sprinkle ‘Invisible Dust’ on me to make me disappear when she couldn’t bear to listen to me another minute. I remember pleading with her. “Mommy, I’m right here! Can’t you see me?” I always heard what a mistake I was. You see, my brother is 11 years older than I am. There were no other children in between us. “A colossal accident.” “Biggest mistake of my life.” “We were so shocked. I sent your dad straight to Mack the Knife.”
I was 14 years old before I learned the real truth. A blog post for another day or a conversation for my imaginary therapist. Eventually there was a battle of wills at my house. Controlling mother + hormonal teen = Rebellion. Really. Who couldn’t see that one coming? I started with a bottle of peroxide and a parent free day at the swimming pool. I ended up with a lovely, head of orange hair.
Eventually I moved on to the super classy Sun-In. Finally, I bought a bottle of deep red Nice N Easy and searched for a boy to test the brand name out with. I started to let my hair grow out a little. It was medium length but nothing too long. I think I was still scared as to what would really happen. Would it actually grow? Would my mother cut it off in the middle of the night? I was 21 years old before my hair would hit my shoulders. And then it started to fall out…