Wednesday, August 29, 2007

It's a Curl Thing...

There are many fictional characters that I feel a strong connection to.

Among them:

Lisa Simpson (we are both idealistic vegetarians. And she wears pearls. And she eats Jackie-O's, I played the saxophone briefly in the fifth grade. Not many people know that)

Marianne Dashwood from Sense and Sensibility. (we are both extremely sensitive and passionate. And then Kate Winslet played her in the movie, who is number 1 on my "British Actresses I want to be Best Friends" list)

"Ugly" Betty Suarez (when this show first came on, my mom watched and called me up and asked if I was writing the scripts for this show because Betty was JUST LIKE ME. I tuned in, and instantly agreed. Like me, she's klutzy and awkward and insecure, as well as smart and goodhearted and well-meaning)

And then there's Frieda from the Peanuts comic strip.

Frieda didn't have much of a personality or a significance in the Peanuts strip, but she DID have naturally curly hair.

And she made it a point to point out her naturally curly hair every time she was allowed to speak.

I also have naturally curly hair.

I have no idea where it came from. My sister has stick-straight, glossy hair and when we shared a bathroom, our hair products cabinet was quite diverse. My mom's father had thick, wavy hair, and I'm guessing I got SOME of this from him, but the rest of it, I have no idea.

You really cannot judge how hard a girl has had it until you have walked a mile in her ringlets.

When I was in middle school, I was clueless as of how to care for my naturally curly hair and took to washing it every day and BRUSHING IT (today, I do not even OWN a brush.)

There were two boys on my schoolbus that took to screaming out "Ch-ch-ch-CHIA!" every day when I got off at my stop. They soon had half of the bus shouting at me and laughing.

To this day, I can remember the first and last names of those two boys, and if I ever passed them in the street, I would definitely cringe. I used to dread riding the schoolbus every day, and would be crying by the time I walked through my door. "Kids can be cruel", "Boys will be boys"...hearing those things doesn't help.

As I got older, I learned to embrace all of this hair. I learned to take care of it, and found that beneath all that chia hair were bouncy, happy curls just begging to be freed. I started testing out multitudes of conditioners, cremes, and gels. I stopped shampooing so frequently. I can honestly say that I have never, for a second, wanted straight hair. This hair is ME. It is my signature. This is how it comes out of my head. Why would I mess with nature?

My mother hasn't exactly been a fan of my curly hair. When I went through an extremely frustrating jobhunt, my mom insisted that nobody would hire somebody with long, curly hair. Only girls with short, straight bobs got jobs. (That makes sense...New York City IS a terribly whitebread city, after all...hmmm...)

My curly hair, she claims, is also part of the reason that I haven't been the luckiest in love. (It has nothing to do with the fact that I only meet gay men.) She says men look at me and can't get past my hair...(the same hair I get stopped in the street and compilmented on? THAT hair? And yes, Nicole Kidman and Julia Roberts and Keri Russell obviously can't get boyfriends OR jobs, right?!)

But I love this hair! It's MY hair. It's ME. It's MY personality. I wouldn't be the same Diana with straight hair. (Plus, when you have curly hair, you get compared to just about every famous curly-haired woman in the world...I have been told that I looked like Mariah Carey, Sarah Jessica Parker, Brittany Murphy and Julianna Margulies all in the same year. Odd.)

Frieda once stated that, "I can do anything because I have naturally curly hair!" and "People always expect more from you when you have naturally curly hair."

Thank you, Frieda.

Diana Rissetto

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