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Life at East: A hair-y situation

A couple of weeks ago, I got my hair trimmed like I normally do a few times a year.

But that day, when my hairdresser was finishing up, I let her straighten my hair for the very first time. I decided to keep it straight for school the next day. 

My head certainly looked different – my hair is naturally very thick and curly (read big and frizzy), and I’m not usually one to style it very much.

I was surprised that so many people were shocked by my new look. When my mom came back to pick me up from the salon, she said she didn’t even recognize me from behind. At school the next day, countless people commented on my hair. Many people asked me if I had straightened it, which I thought was a pretty obvious yes.

I’d never thought about it before, but I guess my hair is one of my defining features. On a good day, it can look as good as Farrah Fawcett’s hair, without the hassle of a perm.

On a bad day, I look like an outcast character from the Lion King.

When I wear a messy bun, I think I look a lot like Joakim Noah. I’ve tried a million and one products, but I’ve found that my hair has a mind of its own, so it’s best to let it be. 

My hair hasn’t always had so much volume. Throughout my childhood, I always had a short bob. While that look accentuated my curls, it felt a little too boyish for my taste.

Around middle school I started growing it out. It also brought along an awkward side bang phase, which is when I learned that my hair is definitely not the right texture for layers and bangs of any kind. 

My worst hair drama came not from my hair itself, but the most infamous hair accessory – the pony tail holder. I was at the time in my life where I thought wearing many hair bows on my wrist would be “cool.” I was stacking three or four of them on at a time, feeling like a trendsetter. My best friend at the time had a different impression of me – criminal.

Apparently, in some convoluted way, she heard that wearing hair bows around the wrist was a sign that the person was in a gang. I was hurt, insulted and confused, because there are days that I need two or three to hold all my hair back. 

Although I think my hair looked pretty good straight, it didn’t feel like mine. Many girls my age straighten their hair every day, but I know I don’t have to do it, too, to fit in.

I felt like I had gotten a lot chopped off, but it was really only an inch. It was fun to change up my look for a bit, but I wouldn’t want to make it a permanent thing. I like my hair just the way it naturally is! 

• Brigid Ackerman is a senior at St. Charles East High School. She enjoys playing the trumpet, eating bread and writing this column, which runs every other Thursday. Contact her at

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