"Cause you never think that the last time is the last time. You think there will be more. You think you have forever, but you don't" - Greys Anatomy
From Day 1 you stole the show! Impossible not to notice the full head of hair on this brand new baby! So much so that you convinced the nurses to give you your first hair cut and pony tails hours within being born. You had a secret way of making everyone want to play with you. My poor Mother would have to cover my head with diaper clothes in order to get her errands done because of you. She could not go anywhere with out people needing to see you, touch you, tell her how you made them feel. Your powers were so strong that my own Grandmother repeatedly kidnapped me while my Mother slept to take me to the salon for a "Color Match" To wake up and find your baby missing over and over again!!
I was not given a choice of whether to be introverted or not, my "Bubble" was forced to be open at all times. Thankfully I was sent to the right Mother. Who instilled in me from day one...Smile, sincerely say "Thank You" let them experience it, Do not be rude, not matter what! This of course led me into a life of being open and connecting with everyone around me....I love your Hair!, Wow is that your real color?, Can I touch it?, Is it hot?, Is that really all your hair?, Is it heavy? How does it grow so fast?, It seems like it glowing, does anyone in your family have that color? Did any of your kids get that color? You must be Irish! You know what they say about Red Heads......on and on...some of it I really didn't need to hear. Men especially liked to forget their filters when talking about you starting when I was a child, not ok!
I hated looking different, I wanted to blend in, I wanted to look like my friends, there was so much of you, I wanted the cute sassy bob cuts that all my friends would get for the summers! But no you had to have so much attention that you even had yourself written into my Acting contract with my agent! You had to be all the way down my back! Really....so excessive! I remember when I was 5, Mom handed me the brush and said its your job now, you need to do your own hair from now on. I sobbed and sobbed, how was I ever going to get you into pony tails, braids, buns....But we got to work, you and I. The cramps in my biceps and shoulders from trying to twist, pull, pin, tuck, and work you into different styles. The amount of rubber-bands that have snapped on my hands and arms just trying to get you in, I can still feel the sting.
You did make the prettiest softest ringlets though, you did well in childhood, puberty though uhhhh, ok I know we didn't get along, straight perm after strait perm, dye job after dye job. Which I know you found hilarious every time I forked out the $6 dollars for yet another bottle of dye "Permanent" that would wash completely out the next day! There was no stopping you! You refused to be altered. That is until I found Robbie in 2003! He had the power, it may have taken the entire day but he managed to get those Blonde Highlights in you! I loved them, or did I? I thought I did until with the day someone asked the daily question "Is that your real color" I froze, my heart stopped, I had to say "No I have highlights" I was not prepared for how that would make me feel! I was sorry, so sorry that I had done that to you, it felt different, straw like and dead, as if I had just scarred you, I was sorry. Ok, no more dye, no more highlights, you win. We experienced the age of Aquanet, LA Looks, DEP gel, l'oreal studio line, herbal essence, the wall of front bang (Curl it spray, singe it, tease, lift it, more spray), foam curlers, rag curls, steam curls, crimping irons, the actual Iron when my sister Elizabeth and I would lay our heads on the board and try to straighten smooth our hair, hot rollers, curling irons in every size, the glorious flat/straight iron!, the curling wand, and the infamous Rat tail! I developed a technique around 8th grade to get the softest smoothest straight hair. After washing my hair I would blow dry it as straight as I could. Then gather it all into a pony tail at the base of my head, then take an ace bandage and wrap the entire pony tail as tight as I could to the tip. And then proceed to sleep with it like that. It looked like a giant rat tail but in the morning I would unwrap it and my hair would be so smooth and straight , no frizz or bumps and it would last for days! You inspired me to want to learn about everyone's different type of hair! I was blessed to have 3 sisters with very different hair stemming from different ethnicity. I loved the challenge! I loved doing hair for school dances and performances!
Babies came and you changed again, the curls that were so easy to depend on started get straighter, some stayed strong and true while others didn't, I started to refer to you as stupid hair because you didn't seem to know if you wanted to be curly or straight and were just creating more work for me to do. I started cutting you off, donating you to locks of love, over and over again. Cameron really prefers you long, but you grow so fast that I could chop 10-15 inches off you and it would be back within the year. Then I learned some information about locks of love that hurt my heart. So I sought out a different organization. One that made free wigs for children with Alopecia! So I would go in to have you cut and deliver you to a very special woman that would package you up and send you to Australia to be made into a special wig for very special little girls! You did save me lots of money! I only went to the salon 1 or twice a year to have you cut, no money spent on processing or up keep. Although with how much of you there was I definitely have made quite the investment in shampoo and conditioner ;) I would like to page Homage to the very special Women in my life that I trusted my hair to whole heatedly over the years...Irma Laura, Brandilyn Ferguson, Kiran Whittaker, and now all the beloved ladies at Blonde Faith Salon including Kaela Beutler and Michelle McGowan! You are all so special to me, thank you for all the love and time you put in not only into my hair but to me! I love you ladies!
My 2 most memorable hair stories:
When I was 16 my Mom went out of town for the birth of my first Neice! My 13 year old little sis went to a friends house for the weekend. While there they proceeded to dye and cut their hair. When she came home she freaked out that Mom and Dad were going to KILL her.....well I couldn't let that happen so I suggested thy cut my hair too that way I could take some of the focus off her. I had been thinking about getting it cut anyways. Now why on Gods green earth I thought I should let a 12 and 13 year old cut my hair is way beyond me!!! I asked them to cut it just below my shoulders for bun and ponytail purposes. The friend began to cut.....lets just say it started at my right shoulder and ended at my left jaw bone!!!! Remember I had curly hair.....I was hysterical!!!! I called my best friends Mom, Linda (My 2nd Mom) she immediately got me hair appointment and raced over to get me. All the while my sister and her friend were hiding under the bed crying. The salon fixed it the best they could but I would definitely need a straight perm when my Mom got home. That night my swing dancing partner and I where doing a special performance at a big dance and then teaching them some swing dancing. While practicing a new stunt before we went on I was dropped on my head from 6 feet up into concrete. It didn't goes so well and I awoke later in the hospital to a lovely concussion, and all kinds of neck injuries. Needless to say that helped to pull all attention off the hair and my sister was saved!
Then there was the time Kiran introduced me to invisitabs (hair extension that could be keratin taped into your hair. So I got bright fuchsia!! I loved it, I went back for more! Having all that bright pop of fun woven throughout my hair was the most fun I have ever had with my hair!
You handled Caner treatments like a champ! You lost some of your vibrancy and about 1/3 of you fell out but since I had enough of you to cover 4 heads people really couldn't tell. And Kiran new just how to cut you and help you look healthy. You were not a fan of the first round of radiation so Kaela chopped you off. I was panicked because Kiran had just moved to Florida but God made sure to remind me that I had special friends at Blonde Faith through teaching dance. I would get the occasional white hair but super rare. Cameron and I would talk about when we thought my hair would actually go white. He seemed excited for it and thought it was going to be very sexy. I never envisioned that I would ever leave this life with out you. You are such a huge part of me! When you are never told you have a beautiful smile, or pretty eyes, when 98% of compliments ever given to you in life are about your hair and suddenly you are having to face that it will be completely gone it definitely does an ego check. When the time came the faux hawk was so fun! It spoke to my inner rebel and fierceness. But when it all started abandoning ship the fear set it, not so much of what will I look like but how will it make people feel. I didn't want to scare anyone, especially my dancers! I'm still trying to figure out how I feel about hats, scarves, wigs etc. I am honestly most comfortable just aux natural, feeling the breeze. Who knows maybe I'll try out some wigs. I think I have Aubrey's old Hanna Montana wig around here somewhere. But until we meet again hair, thank you for all that you have been for me in this lifetime, you really played a leading role in my journey! I miss you, and I love you!
Please enjoy the following video made by my friend, neighbor and Sister, Becky Forse.
Hair deserves a dance party too! This one will be a little mash up and a little longer then 30 sec ;)
My name is Michelle Kaley but I have many other names.....Daughter, Sister, Wife of 20 years to my High School Sweetheart, Mom to my 4 Beautiful Children, Ms. Michelle to my hundreds of Students, and as of 2016 Cancer Patient was added to the list.