giving up on good, the hair edition

Hayley and Jessi have a new Thursday thing going: Giving up on Good. The premise? We all need margin, we all need to make choices and we can’t do it all. Here’s something good that I’ve given up recently, in order to make way for better.

Puberty transformed my hair from silky, not-too-thin/not-too-thick blonde locks into this light-brown mass of something else. My hair was too curly to be wavy, but too wavy to be curly.

With no clue in the world what to do with it, I gave the hair free reign. Every day it looked a little bit different from the day before. Having no concept of “product,” I just tried shampoos and conditioners and off-centered ponytails. No confidence. (Embracing my awkwardness would come much later.)

During my junior year, I was finally (!) asked to Homecoming. Flattered, sure, but I knew the hair matters needed to be taken into my own hands for such an occasion. That Saturday afternoon, I tiptoed into my parents’ bathroom and grabbed a tool I’d never used independently: my sweet mom’s curling iron. The thing was older than I was and warmed slowly, its red power light flickering. I painstakingly ran that curling iron through my hair to soften the curls into waves, and the waves into, well, lack thereof. That and some concealer and I felt like a brand new person.

In December of that year, my grandma changed my life. A la Gift of the Magi, I call it Gift of the Chi.

Thanks to my grandma’s generosity, I was now the proud owner of a Chi hair straightener. Trimmed in red velvet, with a soft black body and golden hot plates . . . dream come true. With this, the curls vanished and the silky hair of my childhood returned. Beautiful. Touchable. Best of all, manageable.

That sweet straightener was my morning routine for the next eight years of my life. Eight years, friends. That’s longer than any romantic relationship I’ve ever entertained. (Patience, love, dedication . . . straightener as marriage prep, maybe?)

In November 2011 — almost eight years after the Gift of the Chi — Mr. S. and I were visiting his parents. When I travel, different water throws my hair off. In a fit of rage, I let the mane take over. Whatever, hair, do what you want.

Mr. S. has always loved my curly hair. Cheers to a man who likes you for you, am I right? And this time was no exception. The next day, I wore it curly again. And the day after that and the day after that.

So here’s the good thing I’ve given up: straightening my hair.

Some days, the curls are romantic and boho-chic and voluminous and luxurious. (Credit where credit is due: mousse, mousse, mousse. Thank you, wonderful little sister, for teaching me your ways.)

Other days, they’re flat and raw and awkward and wavy in all the wrong places.

And I am learning that imperfect is okay. This exercise is one of learning patience, trying to embrace who I am in different seasons and BIG GRACE.

In giving up straightening, I gained half an hour each morning. That’s three-and-a-half hours a week!

In January, I began focusing seriously on this little blog of mine. An extra half-hour a day helps me do it. And I love every minute I don’t spend blow-drying and teasing and volumizing and straightening.

Other bonus? I find myself ready on time far more often (and if I’m late for an appointment, it’s just because I was lazy, not because I was primping). And, really, I kinda like being on time.

These days, I straighten my hair no more than three times a month.When I do, it’s for fun and it’s on days I have a little time to spare.

Straightening is still a good thing. But I’ve given it up to pursue great things.

(image source)


7 thoughts on “giving up on good, the hair edition

  1. I totally relate!! I used to be religious about straightening my hair But since having a baby, it just isn’t important anymore. Honestly, most days I don’t even brush my hair. If I shower, it air dries wavy and if I don’t show, then it just goes up. Funny how that’s important changes over time, right?

  2. Haha this is great…I’m one of those girls with the opposite problem-if left alone, my hair will dry flat and straight and it is not good. So my struggle has been to put some life into this mane…but I definitely can relate to coming to a point where you stop worrying about it being perfect every day and figure out how to embrace what my stylist friend calls “your best accessory” =) Having your husband like it the way it is naturally doesn’t hurt either!

  3. Oh, I so relate to you on this one! My hair is indecisively curly- tight ringlets around the hairline, wavy in the back, and straight in one section on top. That has always made it difficult to manage and figure out. Once, I tried a perm, thinking it would even out the curls. Nope- the curly parts took the curls super tight and the straight part stayed straight. Yikes. Embarassing.

    It is a battle to figure out how to walk with confidence but not waste too much time on primping. It sounds like you have found a lovely way to do that.

    There are some haircuts I would love to have, but have decided I just can’t- too much maintenance.

  4. I’ve ALWAYS loved your hair curly/crimpy/wavy…whatever you want to call it.

    And you know that this blog is super-relatable because EVERY girl in the world sweats her hair, no matter what! I mean, I love my hair. It and I are pretty good to each other. I put conditioner in it, it air dries the way I want it…everyone wins. But right now it’s so long that my students lean on it when I’m trying to help them with their papers.

    Listen to Mr. S more often and maybe you’ll be able to relax about a few other things, too. 🙂

  5. As you know, I too have a head full of curls. People with curls want straight hair and people with straight hair want curls. We are never satisfied. I went on a phase of straightening my hair everyday many years ago. But the end of the day, the back of my hair was be a frizzy, wavy mess. The curls wanted out! I love your curls, Sarah. You have such pretty, thick hair. Embrace the curls!

  6. I have the same hair… and apparently a lot of others do too 🙂 I still straighten my hair… but usually not during the summer… however, when it is straight, I only wash it after 3-5 days… some baby powder at the roots in between 🙂

    this post made me smile 🙂

  7. Your hair sounds like mine, except I think mine has gotten less curly and more in-between over the past few years. Makes the straightener more of a regular in my life. The upside is that I can go at least 2 days without washing it when it’s straight, so a half hour one morning saves me shampooing/styling time the next. Regardless, this is a really great topic to think about – giving up good (or better yet – not so good) for better. I will take some time to reflect on it this week 🙂

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