Bite Size Memoir: Bad Hair Day

© irene waters 2014

© irene waters 2014

Every day for me is a bad hair day. I was born with that kind of hair. I just can’t help it. Only yesterday my mother who is 86 said to me.

“Irene I have to talk to you seriously.” I thought it was going to be about end of life stuff as she looked me straight in the eyes. ” You have to do something about your hair. You can’t go to New Zealand to present a paper looking like a hobo. No-one will take you seriously.”

© irene waters 2014

© irene waters 2014

People paid to have their hair like this in the eighties – mine came naturally. “I happen to like my hair at the moment” I told my Mum. No-longer does it look like a frizzy mop. The hair dresser has taught me about PRODUCT. It is still big  but with untidy looking curls. Nonetheless she asked me to demonstrate how I combed it. She might be able to give me some tips. Compared to how it has looked throughout my life I think it is great.

© irene waters 2014

© irene waters 2014

Sometimes I would fluff it out on purpose. Once I added a beard made from my dog’s hair.

Mostly I did not.

© irene waters 2014

© irene waters 2014

What I have discovered with my hair is that my personality changes to suit my hairstyle. When it is as above I am quite mad. I have the courage to do anything, say anything and be what I want to be. I think this is because people have no expectations of me. I look like a loon and people are more often pleasantly surprised than disappointed.

I do get my hair cut short on occasions. My husband hates it. He likes the mad look. My mother loves it short. It is how she kept it when I was a child. My personality goes inwards. I become conservative, quiet, dull.

© irene waters 2014

© irene waters 2014

Forever a child in my mother’s presence I agreed that I would probably go to the hairdresser prior to my forthcoming trip but I can guarantee it won’t be cut short – I need that infusion of courage my bad hair gives me.

None of this has anything to do with my bite size memoir bad hair day.

I had to get to work. We argued most of the morning. My car sat in pieces, parts in the lounge room, others loose under the bonnet. The mechanic, my husband,  sat drunk in the kitchen. There was no choice but to take the panel van I had never driven. Nervously, I eased out from the kerb and did a U-turn to take the easy way onto the highway. Someone always let you out. When the traffic lights turned green I moved forward. Just as I crossed the intersection the steering wheel came off the column. I had no control. I decreased the pressure on the accelerator and applied the slightest of pressure to the brake. Even then I veered toward the gutter, hitting it and coming to a stop. Shaken, I couldn’t even rest my head on the steering wheel. Definitely a bad hair day.

 Written in response to Lisa’s Bite Size Memoir prompt.

Oh and even long hair as untameable as mine can put me into a mood of sophisticated play acting.

© irene waters 2014

© irene waters 2014

About Irene Waters 19 Writer Memoirist

I began my working career as a reluctant potato peeler whilst waiting to commence my training as a student nurse. On completion I worked mainly in intensive care/coronary care; finishing my hospital career as clinical nurse educator in intensive care. A life changing period as a resort owner/manager on the island of Tanna in Vanuatu was followed by recovery time as a farmer at Bucca Wauka. Having discovered I was no farmer and vowing never again to own an animal bigger than myself I took on the Barrington General Store. Here we also ran a five star restaurant. Working the shop of a day 7am - 6pm followed by the restaurant until late was surprisingly more stressful than Tanna. On the sale we decided to retire and renovate our house with the help of a builder friend. Now believing we knew everything about building we set to constructing our own house. Just finished a coal mine decided to set up in our backyard. Definitely time to retire we moved to Queensland. I had been writing a manuscript for some time. In the desire to complete this I enrolled in a post grad certificate in creative Industries which I completed 2013. I followed this by doing a Master of Arts by research graduating in 2017. Now I live to write and write to live.
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38 Responses to Bite Size Memoir: Bad Hair Day

  1. Charli Mills says:

    Fabulous mad hair! I love it, being one of those who tried to perm her hair into curly locks in the 80s (following my failed Ingalls/Fawcett look). How interesting to learn the impact of your hair on your mood and personality. Your mother cracks me up–still trying to tame your mad side I suppose. 🙂 Your bite leave me wanting to no more–the steering wheel came off! That’s funny years later, right? I’m sure it was a very bad hair day at the time!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes years later it is funny. At the time I think my hair was probably standing on end from fright. I think though I really only thought about it because my current husband has just taken the steering wheel off his new car. I think I have told him about 17 times (who’s counting) about my episode. The fear lives with me and it’ll probably be awhile before I am prepared to drive his new car. It will have to prove itself first.
      Roger said to me “did you tell her you’re almost 60 you can make your own decisions.” No of course I didn’t. LOL I will always be her little girl.

      Liked by 3 people

      • Charli Mills says:

        If your almost 60 and she still tells you how to trim your hair, she’s not going to change! And I’m with you–that steering wheel has to build up some trust first! I’m usually mot afraid of things that “could” happen, but if they “did” happen, I have a healthy dose of fear of it happening again! 🙂

        Like

      • No, Mum is never going to change and I wouldn’t want her to at this point. I’m with you and I have a full measure of the healthy dose of fear. 🙂

        Like

  2. You have a fabulous figure, you are beautiful, and your hair is amazing. I’m jealous of you – but not of the snake!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. My hair is naturally curly but no as much as yours. That hair is more like my daughter’s. She keeps it pulled into a pony tail most of the time. :/

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Annecdotist says:

    Love every one of those hairstyles – such versatile hair. So interesting how it affects your confidence and behaviour – I have a friend who’s the other way round: feels more able to be herself when it’s short

    Liked by 1 person

  5. LOL! Love the story. Enjoy your trip to NZ. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. M-R says:

    ALL WONDERFUL !!!!!

    Like

  7. Lisa Reiter says:

    How I love this post! The pictures are wonderful – though I could have forgone the reminder about the dog-hair beard – I still wonder how that smelt?! You are evidently a mad crazy person who we love just as free as you are, so please keep your mad crazy hair please! You could always put it in a ponytail for the presentation. I totally understand how your hair affects your mood and perhaps who you are. Mine probably suits me better pixie-short but unfortunately just reminds me of post chemo, ill, making do with stubble and feeling ugly and unfeminine.

    The steering wheel coming off in your hands has my heart racing just thinking about it! It must give you nightmares still! Thanks for adding this brilliant snippet 😀

    Lxx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Lisa. I don’t recall the smell being the problem. No I shouldn’t have put in a reminder. I can totally understand how short hair brings back memories for you of a time of not only chemicals but all the emotional fears that come with it. I’m reading with great interest your chemo brain post. Silly isn’t it – it isn’t a long post but it seems I am only getting short bursts at it each time I visit. I’m finding it fascinating and it gives me a lot of reflection between reads. Anyway I will comment fully when I have completed it.
      I am a great believer in our presentation of our self-esteem to the world.It doesn’t matter what people tell you if you think you look ugly and unfeminine that is how you feel. I think that those that turn heads where ever they go feel good about themselves whilst the wallflowers have self-esteem problems. Most of us fit in somewhere in between. To feel good about yourself you have to feel comfortable with what you are wearing and that includes your hair. I know if I was to wear a low cut dress showing ample cleavage I would shrink into the corner trying to hide. I hid with my short respectable hair as a kid the wild hair iallows for my release. Keeping your hair long makes you feel the beautiful person you are. It was a great prompt Lisa allowing us all to reflect back over our lives from start to present focusing on our hair.
      Nightmares now only because Roger has pulled off the steering wheel in the car he just bought. I won’t be driving it for awhile until time proves he has put it back correctly.

      Like

  8. Fabulous hair – I’d trade in a minute. Mine is thin and flat and I spend all my time trying to pouf it up!
    Short is good but I like the longer look! It suits you…

    Liked by 1 person

  9. That is fantastic! Love the “mad hair”. It’s interesting how our hair affects us on a deeper level. Mine has been short, long, blonde, brown… It’s strange but it affected me (maybe because of how I felt, maybe because of how society reacted to it. Maybe some of each.)

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Great photos of you. How does that saying go – your hair is your shining glory. It helps to tell people who you are. Stay true to yourself with your hair. 😀

    Like

  11. jenniferbgraham says:

    There ain’t no words
    For the beauty, the splendor, the wonder
    Of my…
    Hair, hair, hair, hair, hair, hair, hair
    Flow it, show it
    Long as God can grow it
    My hair
    I want it long, straight, curly, fuzzy
    Snaggy, shaggy, ratty, matty
    Oily, greasy, fleecy
    Shining, gleaming, steaming
    Flaxen, waxen
    Knotted, polka-dotted
    Twisted, beaded, braided
    Powdered, flowered, and confettied
    Bangled, tangled, spangled, and spaghettied!
    Oh say can you see
    My eyes if you can
    Then my hair’s too short
    Down to here
    Down to there
    Down to where
    It stops by itself
    They’ll be ga ga at the go go
    When they see me in my toga
    My toga made of blond
    Brilliantined
    Biblical hair
    My hair like Jesus wore it
    Hallelujah I adore it
    Hallelujah Mary loved her son
    Why don’t my mother love me?
    Hair, hair, hair, hair, hair, hair, hair
    Flow it, show it
    Long as God can grow it
    My hair, hair, hair, hair, hair, hair, hair
    Flow it, show it
    Long as God can grow it
    My hair
    FROM THE MUSICAL “HAIR”

    Liked by 2 people

  12. jenniferbgraham says:

    Hair has always been politicized – sleek hair was everything when I was growing up in S. Africa. In the United States among the black community hair is also politicized. Comedian, Chris Rock, did an interesting documentary about hair – the notion that there’s “good hair” and “bad hair.” He said his little girl wanted her hair straightened because she said she had “bad hair.” My hair is like yours, Irene, but it’s been so ingrained in me to blow it, iron it, wrap it, cajole it, fold it, mold it, beat it into submission and slather it with products! Or else I’d just not feel right! Now I’m nearing 60, my grey hair has come in wiry and thinning something awful in the front! So, I’ve taken to wearing “false hair”! It’s a girl thing! lol

    Like

    • That is really interesting Jennifer. It must have taken you ages to get ready to go out with all that treatment you undertook on getting your hair straight. I knew people when I was a kid that tried ironing their hair and using other straightening products but they only did it once or twice. To do it all your life – wow. The notion of good and bad hair has made it over here and it is now a synonym of having a bad day. I think everyone should feel good about how they look so bravo for doing a girl thing. Cheers Irene

      Like

  13. Sherri says:

    Irene, I absolutely love this post. Fascinating how you describe the way you become more introverted when your hair is short. I’ve cut my hair short when I’ve had something traumatic happen in my life and always regretted it when I do. But then I would let it grow long and it would get all frizzy and thick and drive me mad. I think you are beautiful, you look fantastic in the shot of you on the decking and with your hair up. Also, you are so, so brave with the snake! Yikes! My daughter used to let her snake Charlie do that! Your bite is nerve-wracking, how horrifying to have the steering wheel come off like that. Thank goodness you were okay. And I know just what you mean about how your mother can still make you feel ever the child. I think this is definitely life long. I’ve been driving since I was 17 and still if my mother is in the car with me she starts telling me how to drive, what lane to get in, to slow down and doing the invisible brake. Drives me absolutely mad. Oh my friend, I love your writing 🙂 ❤

    Like

    • Sherri – yes short is always an impulse to I can’t take it any more. Often in summer when I swim a lot the locks come off. Instant regret. The cycle of growing it again.
      I was young and stupid with the poisonous vipers but I don’t think they would have let us do it if we were at risk. My friend refused but I was convinced they were lulled by the incense that was burning or perhaps I was.
      I think that to mothers their children will always be their children (which of course they will) – I mean little children. This post has given me a swelled head on a few fronts but I love that you enjoy my writing as I do yours. 🙂 ❤

      Like

  14. Lisa Reiter says:

    I’ve come back because I’m intrigued by the slightly arsy look on your face in the second photo and wonder what the story is?!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. joannesisco says:

    Oh Irene – I love your hair!!! ❤ ❤

    … and I think we might have had the same mother 😉

    Like

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