Today, the unthinkable happened: My hair straightener broke. The light flickered red for a second and then poof, gone into the infinite abyss. The wand still there but the heat, gone. I jumped up fast and in a half panicked state told the hub, I gotta get to a store and get a new straightener NOW. He looked at me like I was insane but I did indeed drive myself to Target and plunk down $150 for my Chi straightener. The wand in my hand, I felt relieved.
I know this must sound strange. I don't think I'm a vain person. I don't own an expansive wardrobe, I have seven pairs of shoes, and I hardly wear make up, but I need to straighten my hair. Growing up I had frizzy curly hair so unruly my mother kept me in a therapy-inducing boy cut for most of my childhood. When I got older it stayed in a bun or carefully braided lest I walk around school looking like this:
I was what they call an awkward youth, because add to this lovely hair do, my eyebrows which more or less, resembled this:
When I met J he couldn't believe the image I shared of how I once looked. All kids are beautiful he insisted until he took a look at one of my 7th grade pictures. "Oh," is all he said.
Luckily, college introduced me to the beautiful world of hair straighteners and tweezers and I never ever went back. My MIL thought I had naturally straight hair until just a year ago, and I get stopped sometimes by random strangers saying how lucky I am to have such nicely shaped brows. This has all worked out for me, I mean, if I had some issues with my appearance I fixed it with relatively minimal expense and I didn't harm anyone, right?
Except today when I felt that strange panic welling up at the sight of my broken Chi I started thinking, what if my daughter is frizzy haired and unibrowed like me? I want my daughter to believe in her beauty and be confident no matter what. I have a friend who tweezes her baby girl's unibrow but the thought of that makes me feel icky. But then, there's me, plucking and straightening away the very features she may have. How is she supposed to feel about her God given attributes if mommy is willing away those very things on herself? Do as I say, not as I do? A friend once considered getting a nose job but I told her, what if your baby has your nose? Then how will she feel knowing mom was ashamed of that nose? Isn't this the same thing?
It's an interesting thought for me without much of a resolution. I'll love my baby no matter how she looks and I want her to not have the self-esteem and confidence issues I once had. If I can give her one thing its to be proud of who she is. As I look at my warming Chi blinking red, its a question that will nag me for some time to come. What would you do?