Hair to me is either one of my greatest accessories or biggest enemies. My history with my hair goes back all the way to my birth. Now, I don’t personally remember the lack of hair when I was born, but it has been a discussion topic on many different occasions. Being a child born in South Texas to Mexican Americans parents, there is usually one tell tale sign that you are of Mexican decent and that is having a head full of hair as soon as you emerge from the womb but, not this chica. I was bald like a “white” baby. I would look at pictures of myself compared to my lil’ sister and cousins and notice the significant lack of dark hair. It drove me crazy!! What happened. Granted I hadn’t discovered the science of genetics or learned about all my genealogy yet. So all I could do was guess that I was the oddball of my family. Eventually, my hair grew in and it was super straight and so dark.
My mom let it grow long and cut it short. I had ponytails, braids, and messy hair. I had the bowl cut and the shag cut and the Ugly Betty cut. I even had my hair permed when I was in early elementary school for my Aunt Mari’s quincenera and looked like a Mexican little orphan Annie. Or like a poodle coat had been stuck on my head!!! So not cute. But my poor mom would try to curl it with the curling iron and it was straight as a board within a couple of minutes of having done it. I had a hate hate relationship with my hair as a young kid. My mom would use bobos to put my hair in ponytails. Bobos are what we called the ponytail holders that had those plastic balls on the ends. I would dread it – the pulling and knots in my hair. Then when the hair would be released from the kung-fu grip of the bobos, I could feel the blood coming flooding back to my head. That was probably when my need to start learning to do my own hair became so important.
The first thing I decided to do to express myself with my hair and get away from the ponytails and bobos was to get a bob haircut in my late years of elementary school. I did it right before summer, not realizing that it would grow back double fast, I would have to start doing my own hair. Unfortunately, not being a real girly girl was to my disadvantage especially with it being the latter half of the eighties and the start of the big teased cemented bangs!!! Little did I know that this was the start of my hair experiments. Experiments being the key phrase when it comes to hair.
I thank God for my one of my besties. I remember getting on the bus for Windsor Park with jacked up hair and seeing that look on her face. She was going to fix what I had attempted to do. We would go to the girls restroom and out came the Rave hairspray. I totally believe that the girls of Corpus Christi in the late eighties purchased enough hairspray to put the hole in the ozone all by ourselves. And how we all don’t have major brain damage from inhaling all that stuff is unbelievable. I longed for a spiral perm – it didn’t take right. I got perms and they looked ok, but never like the cool girls. I would try all kinds of things. I tried lemon juice, went through bottles of Sun In and tried every thing I read in a magazine. The one thing I was not allowed to do was actually dye my hair.
And then it happened one summer, my hair started to get all kinds of highlights from the perm and constant beach time. It was summer between my high school freshman and sophomore years. I was spending most of my summer vacation with friends in Corpus. So I got tons of time hanging on Padre Island and naturally sun bleaching my hair. My family and friends thought I had colored it. I really hadn’t, but that was pretty much the turning point when I discover what I could do with a box of hair color. I tried the span of strawberry blonde to a range of rainbow colors by Manic Panic until my early twenties. I let it grow to almost my waist and I have cut it as an alter boy’s. I have had corn rows for weeks on end or worn wigs until I decide what to do next. My hair has become my favorite accessory and play thing. My hair isn’t perfect. The colors I put in it never come out exact. I have had some of the best colorists do my hair and the color never is exactly what they were aiming for but usually ends up a cool creation. My perms and waves tend to do their own thing. I guess my hair is just an expression of me. You never know exactly what I am going to do.