1. My LTYMDC performance is online! Yes, I thought I’d dread the day that my face and voice were readily available on Youtube. But I did not (and do not) dread the experience at all. It’s kind of funny and cool to see myself performing on stage.
2. In reflecting on it more, I think that “mirror” moment described in my piece was less about my daughter and more about me. Even though I alluded to knowing what she thought about princess hair. I realize now that I don’t really know how my then three-year old (who is now four) imagined “princess hair.” I don’t know, beyond it going “around and around” if her princess hair was the same one as the one I imagined in my head. I don’t know, beyond her saying that she didn’t like how her hair looked in the mirror that night, if her princess hair excluded curly possibilities. I don’t know if her princess hair was culturally associative either. It likely wasn’t either of these things. Though, it became these things in my 30 year-old brain.
I felt like I should say this on my daughters’ behalf. I felt like I should say that the meaning of this piece is less about what my daughter thought or didn’t think of her hair. It was really about what I once thought and now think about my own hair. It was about being confronted with those thoughts while in the mirror with my toddler and having to grapple with how my past bears on how I mother my children. Make sense?
3. I read my piece fifth, so I was in the middle of this great show featuring other great women, writers, and storytellers like this and this and this and this and this. Seriously, the whole show was great, so grab some popcorn and watch everybody from start to finish.
4. Yes, I did cut my hair…four months before the show. My hair is naturally curly but when I cut it, on a whim, it was straight. Do you see the possible mistake in that? Yeah, so on the day of my self-inflicted hair cut and in the days after, my hair was sleek and edgy with lots of layers. But then I washed it and my straight hair became curly and, thus, half its size. And with that, suddenly, my hair cut became something else entirely.
I didn’t hate what it had become when curly, though I didn’t really love it either. I think we, or my short hair and I, were just getting acquainted when the LTYM auditions rolled around and we were still in that “almost friendly” stage when the show rolled around months later.
I felt like our relationship got complicated with the pressure I put on myself in thinking (over-thinking) my essay, which is, you know, about hair. (Gulp.) So for my hair in my piece on hair, I needed big! I needed a statement! I needed fierce! I needed…the eight inches of hair I cut off months before!!
But barring a wig or or mega growth vitamins or extensions (which I seriously considered), I couldn’t get my hair back in time. So I had to make do with what my little hair could do. But that was okay because my piece is really about accepting yourself, all of yourself, because all of yourself is wholly wonderful, right? Yes, it’s that at its core.
It has to do with hair, yes. It’s about the importance of affirming self-love in little girls (and boys). But the biggest message I hope to pass on is the importance of self-love. You can’t teach your daughters (or sons) to love their hair if you don’t really love your hair.
You can tell them their hair is beautiful, but until they see you loving your beautiful hair, they won’t really believe you. Children are human beings, right? So I think we…as human beings…we crave authenticity. Authentic loving of yourself must happen to teach your children authentic loving of themselves, hair included. Yes, that’s it! Or that’s what I realized when I walked on stage to perform my piece. So in the end it was wonderful, but before that end, you should know that I had a panic attack.
5. My daughters actually love their hair. This is more of the same as what I spoke of in number two. That moment that I talk about in my piece, the one in the mirror, happened a year ago when my oldest had just turned three. Outside of rehearsing with me in the weeks leading up to my performance, princess hair as something that either of my daughters lacked was (is) old news.
Did they change?Maybe. I know I changed. After that mirror moment, I became authentic and more intentional in talking about hair, my hair and theirs. I became more intentional in broadening their understanding of “princess hair” (innocent parental propaganda) and curly hair. And perhaps that’s what made a difference. Perhaps.
6. My reading of “Princess Hair” has been featured on Curly Nikki!
7. In case you’re wondering, and I’m sure you’re not wondering, the pants I wore in my reading were from J. Crew. Everything else, barring the jewelry, was from Banana Republic.
8. I almost cried towards the end of my performance. That line, “what the girl with the long ponytail never heard to be true. You are beautiful.” Yep, that one gets me every.single.time because it’s sad that any girl should ever think she is anything but the most beautiful girl in the world. That’s tragic. I inflected my voice to a mousey pitch on “okay” to prevent myself from breaking down on stage. Seriously. I’m one of those criers. I go from 1-10, with 10 being hysterical sobs, body quivers, and snorts, really fast. So that inflection? That was me preventing level 10 breakdown, okay?
9. My children didn’t get to see my performance live, but thanks to Youtube they can watch it over and over and over again.
10. I want to be onstage, again. I loved Listen To Your Mother and treasure the experience for pushing me out of my comfort zone and connecting me with amazing women in my area!
p.s. Did you watch my reading? If so, what did you think?