Tuesday, July 30, 2013


For those day when I DO grow impatient - and I'm sure I will - there's always photoshop.
Well, today was something of a watershed day, I think. Over the past 48 hours or so, I came to a few realizations: 1. I have curly hair. 2. I'm impatient. So, what of it?

Well, to address each individually...

1.  I HAVE CURLY HAIR. Yep. Have had it all my life. And all my life (or at least when I started caring, and that was so long ago it may as well have been from the day I was born) I have FOUGHT it. It probably started to be the biggest problem for me in those dreaded years of junior high/high school - all the pretty and popular girls had the coveted parted-in-the-middle, silky sheath of straight, shiny, liquid, heavy, swishy, hair - while mine (in the dark ages of curl, before the invention of hair products, blow dryers, and flat-irons) was an unkempt, uncontrollable, helmet of frizz. Mine didn't grow down, it grew OUT. And up, and every other which way.  And the cute boys were NOT taking notice.  So, instead of trying to attract their attention with my feminine guiles, I decided the best way to catch their eyes was to emulate them! Yep, awesome plan. Dress in the same jeans and blue button down shirt, and cut and comb my mountain of frizzy hair in a style very similar to my particular crush (but it looked awesome on him!)  Needless to say, my plan never worked. Can't imagine why.... :) What did work, however, was an ironing board and iron (yep, the kind meant for clothes), or washing my hair at night and pulling it into the tightest ponytail EVER, and waking up in the morning with (cue angel music) STRAIGHT hair! (Or at least up to the point where the elastic had been attached - good look).  I decided to debut this newfound method of DIY hair-straightening for my junior high school prom - and sure enough, it was as if I'd been invisible all those years, and the ugly duckling had finally emerged as the proverbial beautiful swan. Literally overnight, people were suddenly taking notice. The signatures I collected in my yearbook the next day overwhelmingly make positive mention of my "new look", and the compliments began to flow. All because of my HAIR.  Is it any wonder it's been an albatross all these years? Despite my knowing better, the message was loud and clear: Straight = Pretty/Noticable; Curly = Unattractive/Invisible.

Now, I bet you're wondering why someone blogging about a transition to grey hair is telling all her sad little bad hair secrets from days gone by. (Well, at least the one of two of you that might be reading this might be wondering). ;-) Well, I'm here to tell you it's because my grey transition has led me to a second transition - yep, as you may have guessed, it's the transition to love and acceptance of my curly locks. I mean, if I'm going to go all out natural, it would only be a half-assed effort if I didn't also embrace my curls along with my silver/grey.  So why now? Well, I'm going to have to give yet another shout out  to my all-knowing peeps at the Gray and Proud FB group - so many lovely silver-haired curly girls there, who kept discussing the mysterious "Curly Girl Method".  It sounded like a really secret club to me - but one that I should belong to...so I googled it up, and discovered it's more than a secret club - it's an all out movement! SO much information about how to identify (I have "cherub" curls!), and the proper care and maintenance of curly hair.  I won't go into too much detail here - because believe me it is DETAILED - but suffice it to say it is a method developed by Lorraine Massey (goes without saying, a curly girl herself), and that there is a book (yes, I bought it), a product line, and there are salons that specialize in the "dry cutting" method for curly hair.  So hallelujah, I found my people, people!! And I am not alone! But more importantly, the method WORKS.  Followed the step-by-step instructions for the care and maintenance of my type of curls, and all of a sudden, I'm THIS close to tossing my blow-"fryer", flat-iron, and hairbrushes! FREEEEEEEDOMMMM! (Mel Gibson may have turned out to be a disappointment in real life, but ya gotta admit, Braveheart was, and still is, a hell of a movie).

William Wallace didn't give a damn about his hair, or what people thought of it...

2.  I'M IMPATIENT.  So, all this curly stuff was motivated by a decision I had made late last week to speed up this damn grey transition by booking an appointment for a short hair cut.  Just chop off all this colour, and be DONE with it. I was convinced I was ready to return to my days of short hair, and had picked out a winsome, tousled, gamine cut that looked fabulous on Audrey Tautou. (Never mind that her hair is dark brunette, she is an impossibly chic, classic, French beauty, and she's at least 20 years my junior).  

 But here's where "Curly Girl" comes in to play.  After adhering to their instructions for "no-pooing", conditioning, drying, etc., I ended up having the BEST curly-haired day ever.  Yes, EVER. (Or at least to me.) And as luck would have it, on the day before I was going to chop off all those lovely little "cherubs" - oh, the horror!! :)  And all of a sudden, my WHOLE attitude changed. This state of  flux I've been in over my HAIR seemed to instantly dissipate - poof, gone!  And in its place a new understanding that the farther I get into this, the more I'm truly starting to realize that this is so much more than just a cosmetic transition. At the risk of sounding super duper maudlin/cliche, this really is quite the emotional journey as well - and instead of going for instant gratification, I took a big step back, and asked myself just exactly what the hell the hurry is for me to reach the final destination - because yep, (cliche alert!) it really IS all about the journey. 

As much as I may not want to admit it, this is also about the beginning of the transition to old age, and I'm determined to do this gracefully. It took me 35 years to come to this decision to go grey, and (thanks in part to curly girl! ;-)) I'm now ready to rock the ombre look, and to sit back and watch my silver emerge slowly, along with my natural curls.  If I look like a calico cat, so be it.  If I look like I can't afford to dye my hair, so be it. I'm ready for the slow wave goodbye to the colour that has defined part of the physical me for the past 35 years or so, right up until that day a year or so from now that that last strand of dyed hair falls on the cutting room floor (do you sense a movie theme happening here?), and I'm grateful for even a small lesson learned regarding patience, and self-acceptance.  And to think - it was here with me all along.  Just like Dorothy, I've just had a real "click your heels three times" moment. In other words.......an epiphany. :) 


  1. Great blog, Noelle! Your writing is good. Funny, thoughtful and inspirational.

  2. Thanks, Helena! You're my first ever comment! Yay! :)

  3. great post! made me laugh can relate to so much being a curly girl who's stopped coloring!
    i wore a lot of french braids in school to tame it down. i look back on it and i must have looked like i was into holly hobbie or little house on the prairie. ugggg how awful!
    i never took to the ironing board but i thought about it! all i ever wanted was shiny, flat to my head hair.
    i had the same epiphany around the time of the non-coloring all of a sudden i LOVE my curls. LOVE! no more taming them.
    can i give you a little tip... when you add site links, tick the little box that asks if you want the link to open in a new tab.
    when i clicked on the curly girl link it took me away from your page and panicked that i wouldn't find my way back :)

  4. Haha, Tracie - too funny - Holly Hobbie/LHOTP!! :) I can certainly relate - oh the lengths we curly girls will (would) go to to disguise what mother nature gave us! My hair isn't long enough right now to fully embrace the curls, but hopefully if I'm patient enough I'll get back there eventually! Thanks for sharing your story - and for the link tip! Still finding my way around this world of blogging, much appreciated! :)