Well-Meaning, But Uninformed

“The road to hell is paved with good intentions.”

Indeed it is.

I’ve struggled with my hair for years. My family was obsessed with it. As a kid, my mother forced me to have my hair permed and professionally styled with extensions, not caring at all for my discomfort or how much getting extensions hurt. Trips to the hair salon were seen as essential to my living, and any protests were met with verbal/emotional abuse and accusations of me not liking to look “pretty”. As an adult, the obsession continued with my grandfather. Let me tell you, an old man obsessed with a young woman’s appearance is all kinds of creepy. Only recently has my family shut up about my hair because, frankly, I can’t afford a bi-weekly visit to the hair salon and I don’t have time for it.

I’m anemic because of iron deficiency. I have not had my hair permed since late last year, but I had no idea stopping those treatments meant your hair begins to fall out. I have been using certain hair oils – something I was recommended by people in personal life who aren’t family – but they’ve had no effect, and my hair is still falling out. Some advice-seeking in a Facebook group got me an interesting bit of knowledge: lack of iron can cause hair loss.

I did some research of my own. It turns out iron is necessary for hair to grow. Iron, the mineral I’ve been deficient in for at least eight years (when I was diagnosed with anemia), is necessary for hair growth.

Never did my hair-obsessed family mention this. And I’m furious.

I don’t expect them to know such a fact. I do expect them to care more that my hair is healthy rather than pretty. But they didn’t. Hair care has been a trial-and-error process for me because I only knew it as “washing, perming, and hair spray”, and I got sick of it. Only when my family’s obsessive behavior stopped did I care to try to learn if there were other ways.

I intend to see a doctor to ask questions and rule out other medical problems, but for the time being, I’m going to take some multivitamins I have and see if my hair changes at all. I don’t expect it to, but if there is a good change, I’m going to be both glad and angry. Glad because my hair is finally fixing itself, and angry with my family for not teaching me better hair care habits while growing up to begin with. At the very least, if it doesn’t grow, I’ll be happy if it stops falling out.

Hair Isn’t Static!

There is something my family doesn’t understand about hair: it moves.

On one hand, maybe that’s not surprising since I have the longest hair out of everyone I live with. On the other hand, I would think that’s common sense. If your hair has grown out far from your scalp, it’s not staying 100% still and perfect unless you wear a hat that fits over all of it.

Today, my uncle couldn’t believe the mere act of walking– that is, constantly and consistently moving my body forward – would make my bangs move out of place. Let’s see. If I sit down, my bangs move. If I stand up, they move. If I bend over, they move. If I stretch, they move. Gee, who could imagine if I walk, they move?

For people so obsessive about my hair, they sure are ignorant about how it works.

That doesn’t mean I don’t like to keep my hair neat. I do. But unless I’m going to stand, sit, or lie absolutely still for an entire day (hint: I’m not), it’s going to mess up. My family would have me fixing my hair every single minute of the day if they could. And let’s face it. It’s not a crisis. My uncle complained about me not caring it messes up. He’s right. I don’t care. I don’t care about something extremely trivial that happens if I so much as jerk my body in some way. If I had some kind of fancy event to attend, sure, I’d pay more attention to it, but I’m going from my house to school and back. Not something that calls for extra dressing up.

The ironic thing is I probably would care more about my hair if they stopped nagging me about it. I have never seen anyone outside of my family so obsessive about something of another person’s body, nor do I feel that way about anyone else’s body. I’ve seen people with hairstyles and hair colors I think are strange, but I keep it to myself because it’s none of my business, and that very much includes family. Unfortunately, I’m not paid that same respect.

Sometimes, I suspect my family is willfully ignorant. This is something I could explain to a child with ease, yet these adults who have lived several years longer than me claim not to understand. If hair could be perfectly static, besides by tying it up (and even then, it’s not 100% still), nobody would use hair products or have their hair styled.

I remember as a child, my mother would force me to have hair extensions. I hated my own hair for the longest time because of that. When I reached 16, I started experimenting with hair extensions on my own choice and after my high school graduation, I never got them again. Now, I don’t have anything against hair extensions or people who like them, but over the 2 1/2 years since I left high school, I went from hating my hair to liking it, to the point I can look in the mirror and think I’m happy this hair is mine. I hated my hair for most of my life, yet it only takes me around two years to begin liking it because I stopped filling it with extensions. My mother allowed me to hate myself for nearly two decades because she considered vanity and beauty essential instead of me having a positive self-image of myself. She cared about what everyone thought of me except me. The opinion of the person who owns the body wasn’t important. And the relatives I live with now are no different.

If I sound angry, it’s because I am. At the same time, I’m also relieved. No, I’m not happy to have experienced most of the past I have, but I am happy I, if nothing else, know this is how not to treat people. I fully admit I’m still a judgmental person, but I try hard to keep my negative judgments to myself. It’s not an easy thing to unlearn things that have been ingrained into your mind, but it’s worth trying if you really don’t want it anymore. Since I already know this isn’t a good way to treat people and make an effort not to, I suppose I’m doing good. Probably not the best at the moment, but good.

A look through my archives tells me I’ve spoken about this before, back in 2012. So, not much has changed, but I can name one certain thing that has. I like myself more and I care about my family’s judgments less. They have no care for how I feel and I have no care for how they do. Of course, getting back the treatment you give isn’t a concept they’d understand either.

Why I Can’t Wait to Get Out of Here

I’m going to apologize right now because this is mostly a complaining/rant post. I know it’s my blog and I can post what I want, but I hate being a complainer.

Getting on with it, I’ve mentioned a few times about my living situation. My grandfather is my legal guardian and I don’t like it because he cannot get it through his thick skull that I’m not a child and need to learn to take care of myself. I cannot stand living with him and his obsession, especially regarding my hair. He thinks he knows everything. No, you idiot. Nobody knows everything and you need to STFU and leave me alone.

I wanted to leave and live on a college campus in NYC, but that plan wasn’t feasible, so I decided I would be moving back in with my mother. The best part is she’s going to sign my financial aid forms for me, so he doesn’t have to do anything. Yay!

My mom’s not perfect. Not by a long shot and neither is my sister. But, at least, Mom knew when to cut the cord. Plus, she’s actually been helpful with all this college stuff. Complained, sure, but still came along with me. She can’t help financially, but I don’t want her to. She’s got another child to care for. Coming with me is enough help.

My mom has wanted me to move back in since I turned 18 because leaving her wasn’t my choice or her choice. She still wants that, so I think she’s secretly happy the plans to move to New York didn’t work out. Of course, she wouldn’t tell me that. šŸ˜‰

The only thing Mom has said is I can’t stay out all night if I live with her. I hate being out at night anyway, so I don’t know where that concern comes from, but it doesn’t bother me.

For now, I just have to wait out the long months with my grandfather and hope I don’t go crazy.

It was that simple?!

Today, I spent some time with my aunt and six-year-old cousin (second aunt and third cousin, actually). We were supposed to hang around the mall, but the little one wasn’t feeling well, so we didn’t stay long. While she was resting, I started playing around with her Disney’s Rapunzel doll. Since it’s Rapunzel, this doll had way too much hair!

One thing I’ve wanted to do that I couldn’t before was braids. I hate braids in my hair, but they’re a nice style. Whenever I tried braids before, they did not stay. They came loose or I ended up making a knot. Since there’s not much to do with a sick six-year-old trying to sleep, I looked up on WikiHow how to do braids and practiced on her doll.

I couldn’t believe how easy it was! I followed the instructions directly and got it perfect! I did it a few more times and I got the hang of it easily! I can’t believe I couldn’t do something so simple! Here’s what I ended up doing to the doll:

The little braid was made from three smaller braids.

It took me a while to do, especially because, naturally, this doll’s hair had a ridiculous amount of tangles, but it didn’t take too long and it was kind of fun. I might buy this doll for myself just to play with the hair.

Appearance Is Everything, Self-Worth Is Nothing

I’m going down south for the weekend. I’d rather not since I don’t really know anyone down there, but I don’t exactly have a choice. That alone is bad enough. What’s worse is I have to get my hair done.

Yes, I have to get my hair done for a ONE-day trip to see people I don’t even know.

My grandfather initially wanted me to get hair extensions done. Uh, no. Hair extensions take too much time and are a pain to take out. No way was I getting extensions in my hair for one weekend. Too much work and too much money. The compromise was I go to the salon to simply have my hair straightened. But what’s upset me is something my grandfather said today.

“You’ve got to start going [to the beauty parlor] again, so you may as well start now.”

No. No! NO!

This isn’t anything new.Ā Almost my whole family has an obsession with appearance. Specifically, my appearance. The idea of a girl who actually likes how she looks and doesn’t feel the need to run to the salon every week is a foreign concept.

In other words, my self-esteem means nothing.

Forget the fact that I have low self-esteem to begin with. Apparently, being short-haired, wanting to stay that way and wanting to do your own hair is an issue. If this were a wedding (which I also hate), I could understand, but this is nothing but a trip. Nothing special at all. Just a trip. Even my uncle doesn’t want to go. But I’ve got to beĀ dolled up, for some unfathomable reason (forget the fact that my nails are already done).

Like I said, this is nothing new. My own mother’s definition of pretty was having your hair done for $70. I was getting weave in my hair at the age of seven. Why does a seven-year-old need hair extensions?!?!? I hated it. Hated being in that chair, hated my aching head and I hated the notion that I wasn’t pretty without all this. I was bulliedĀ at school and being called ugly was the most common insult. It really doesn’t feel good to beĀ told you’re ugly in school by your classmates, only to come home and basically hear the same from your own mother! This is the person who’s supposed to be helping me grow as a person, not make me feel small!

When I think about it, however, the real bully was my mother. Sure, my classmates (most of them, not all) picked on me, but never as much as she did. High school was when the school bullying began to stop, but my mother didn’t. I can recall her screaming at me (when I was 15), “People talking about you!” No, she was. Nobody was picking on me but her. And even if it were true, why did she care? When you have children, shouldn’t their opinion matter more than someone else’s? So what someone else thinks of me is more important to my mother than what I think of me?

I guess so.

Back to the original topic, this situation going onĀ just makes me more anxious for the day I can finally move out and get the heck away from everyone. If I’m happy with myself (usually), why can’t everyone else be? I’ve got nothing against going to the beauty parlor. IĀ just don’t want it. As longĀ as I look neat (and I always do), there shouldn’t be an issue. Plus, if I’ve got to do anything, it’s learn to take care of myself and that does notĀ mean running to the salon every month.

I’ve been considering estranging myself from my family when I’m finally able to beĀ on my own. That’s a drastic step, but I can’t have my mind being broken all the time. I’ve got issues as it is and being around here is not helping. Maybe that’s why I usually feel more loved/liked by my friends and even my camp (yes, that counselor and I are back on good terms now). They see more to me than just my appearance. And that’s how I prefer to be seen.