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Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Women Are Elephants

It was a hot summer in Upstate New York.  Summer was the time filled with tiny town fairs and fields of lightning bugs.  Most of this particular summer was spent with my friend Lori.  I'll never forget the night I learned how to hate something about myself.

We were at yet another county fair.  The two of us loved to get all sassed up at around age 12 running around looking at boys.  I never really learned the hair thing very well, though Lori with her gorgeous chestnut locks tried to help.  My hair typically laid flat and limp having no body to speak of, though I am positive we tried to get the rainbow bangs happening.  It was no different that night.

There was a dunk tank.  Fun right?  You know chuck the ball at the target and watch the dope in the tank sink into his little pool of doom.  This guy did his job well.  He threw you off your game by insulting you.  He called my friend "zipper-lips" something we both giggle about today.  Then he focused his target on my hair.  

"Hey little girl, you have kind hair.  The kind nobody wants."

It stung.  I was 12, clueless, and completely unsure of myself.  This one incident didn't make or break me, but there it is still hidden in my memory bank.  Women are like elephants in that we never forget.    Every time I try to make my hair look like those flowing tresses of my friends, that memory stings me again.  Could it really be that I just never learned to fix my hair or do I just have kind hair?

I'm approaching 40 and my self-esteem has never been more solid.  Losing those pounds that I always wanted to lose helped me tremendously.  Having a team of people believe in me and support me has helped me remember the powerful woman that was hiding inside.  I DO NOT CARE what that clown said about my hair.  I continue to suck at making it flow, but I do my best.  That round brush may have been trapped in my nest of hair at some point.  

It does make me concerned about my kids though.  What little jabs they hear will remain with them throughout their lives?  Are there enough "I LOVE YOUs" to counteract the nasty grams people send?  The truth is there aren't enough.  Me loving them matters, but them loving themselves matters more.  

That's the job of a mother.  Teaching your kids to love themselves, teaching them to show kindness to others, and teaching them to overcome the tough things that inevitably happen in life is the job.  In this particular job, there is no payment better than watching them succeed.  Maybe one day I'll get this hair thing figured out.

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