the smell of my desperation has become a stench

Hair blogging

Due to the fact that I go to the gym most days, my kids always see my hair pulled back into a ponytail. They are also very used to seeing me in my gym clothes and on the rare occasion that I get dressed up they react exactly as if a pink unicorn has come alive and is pooping Skittles. One day last week I put on a pair of jeans and a plain white shirt that was not a workout shirt and after doing an almost cartoonish double take Leta said, “What HAPPENED to you?”

What a valid question. If the 17-year-old valedictorian Heather could see into her future she’d be all, “Are you seriously still wearing your yoga pants? It’s four o’clock in the afternoon.”

After bopping that uptight kid on the head I’d say, “Yes, in fact, I am. I happen to like these yoga pants. They are comfortable. AND THEY BRING ME JOY, something you will not discover for another couple of years when you finally stop feeling sorry for yourself and discover Zoloft. Also, could you please pluck your damn eyebrows.”

Yesterday I was wearing my hair down when Leta got home from school and she immediately ran over to me to pet it.

“Mom, you hair is so long!” she said running her fingers through it. That gentle moment between us made me stop for a second to think about it, and I realized that my hair has not been this long since I had my early-twenties post-Mormon wait-a-minute-I-live-in-LA “realization.” I put that word in quotes because “revelation,” although a much more accurate description, is much too religious to describe the relative debauchery that ensued. I cut all my hair off, bleached it blonde and then proceeded to party like it was 1999. Because it was, in fact, 1999.

This is the longest my hair has been in 15 years. It’s taken a little over two years to go from pixie to just below the shoulders, and when people ask me how long I intend to grow it I don’t have an answer. I’ve gone through so many stages with my hair over the years and haven’t ever really liked the process of growing it out, but this time has been totally different. Maybe because it has been a physical manifestation of change, a mirror of what has unfolded in my personal life. It’s a symbol of this journey I’ve been on which sounds gross and stupid, but it’s true. My hair is long. I’ve come this far. I am, once again, in the midst of another albeit very different “realization.”

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I cut my hair off a few months after Marlo was born because shorter hair had always been easier for me to maintain, especially with a newborn around. But I’ve changed my mind about that. The length that I’m sporting now is so comfortable and uncomplicated. My hair has so much less of an impact on my daily routine now, and that is such a welcome departure. I also have to get it cut and colored far less frequently which saves me so much time and money. Hello, I am Heather and this is a hair commercial for long hair. Watch as I whip it over my shoulder and play coy with the camera. Just don’t pay attention to the fact that I’m still wearing my yoga pants. Or pooping Skittles.

Another welcome side effect is that I now use far less product than I used to which seems counterintuitive. Oddly, more hair does not mean more shampoo and more conditioner and more aerosol hairspray. Hair this long stays in place far better than the hair I had when I started to grow it out. I also got a fantastic recommendation from a friend and recently discovered Moroccan Oil. Holy shit, do you guys know about this stuff? Yes, it’s expensive but the tiniest bit goes a long way. It has since replaced two other products that I use to style my hair, PLUS it has solved the Kids Screaming While I Brush The Burning Bush Out of Their Hair, PLUS it smells so glorious that I may have once or twice been caught with my nose pressed into my hair with my eyes closed daydreaming about Ryan Gosling on a camel.

I rub a tiny bit into my hair before I blow it dry and a tiny bit after I blow it dry. I also use it when I’m going to let my hair air-dry. I also use it to season eggs, polish the kitchen table and solve Leta’s math homework.

Anyway, enough about my hair. Tell me about yours.

Heather B. Armstrong

Hi. I’m Heather B. Armstrong, and this used to be called mommy blogging. But then they started calling it Influencer Marketing: hashtag ad, hashtag sponsored, hashtag you know you want me to slap your product on my kid and exploit her for millions and millions of dollars. That’s how this shit works. Now? Well… sit back, buckle up, and enjoy the ride.

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