I have extremely fine hair. By which I mean that it’s very thin, not that it’s hella fantastic. This means that a.) It gets oily quickly, I’m lucky if I get two hours of clean, fresh hair each day, b.) I’ve spent my life looking enviously at people who have even slightly thicker hair, and c.) It either desperately sticks to my head or tries it’s best to fly away. It’s fluffy, static, shiny, lank, and has an incredible memory, meaning that if I wear a hat for just a few minutes I’ll have a kink in my hair for the rest of my life.
Hair envy is a case of the grass is always greener on the other side. People with thick hair want finer hair, people with fine hair want thicker hair, people with curly hair use straighteners, and people with straight hair use curling irons. Personally, I look at women who have crazy manes of curls and think: “Ooh, I wish I had hair like that!” If you’re a red haired goddess, a mermaid with hair down to your waist, or were brave enough to shave it all off and dye it blue, you have my envy.
My strongest neurosis is centred around my hair, and it began in my first year of secondary school. As I said before, my hair gets oily very quickly and has a weird sheen so it looks oily even when it’s not. Or at least that’s what my neurosis tells me. As a result, I was teased and bullied by other girls for having greasy hair; the innocent carelessness of my childhood was slowly eroded away. I began to carry a hairbrush around with me wherever I went; I compulsively brushed my hair every ten minutes and washed it more than once a day; I spent hours miserably staring in the mirror wondering why it still looked greasy right after I’d washed it.
As with the other character flaws, low self-esteem and social anxiety, my hair-hatred has ebbed a little bit since I left school. But it’s the one I’ve found hardest to break. I still carry a hairbrush everywhere with me, I still brush my hair every ten minutes, and with every photo of me the first thing I think is: “Ugh! My hair looks terrible!” I’ve even started negatively comparing my hair with my own hair, looking at photographs taken two years ago and thinking: “My hair was good back then! If only I could go back to that hair!”
It’s the same hair. I have to keep remembering that it’s the same hair, and try my best to beat up the voice inside my head that obsesses over it so much. Was it overly static in Iceland? Yes. Did it remember the shape of every hat I wore, therefore making me look like an idiot? Yes. But as important as how my hair looks is to me, I will keep trying to remember that no one else cares. Those girls at school have gone on to hopefully terrible lives, and maybe they picked on me because they were insecure about their own hair. Not that that’s an excuse for bullying. Feeling worthless doesn’t give you the right to make other people feel the same way.