Over the years, I have thought about how the different hair-types match the personality of a person? Does curly hair match a more-than-what-meets-the-eye kind of personality? Does frizzy hair match a more complicated, uncontainable personality? And does a pokey head of hair match a defiant personality? I am thinking about this now as it relates to my family, whom I am visiting for the holiday with my four sisters, one brother, and their families. Pondering this notion, if nothing else, buys me some time from considering how we are disconnected and have not changed much at all. The third oldest is the one with the most hair, she is growing her hair out again, it is mid-length, around her shoulders and big. I mean she has three times the amount of all of us, is definitely the ringleader, activity director, and certainly one of the most vocal of the clan. Then there is the oldest sister, who has straight, coarse, very short hair and is also one of the outspoken ones. Her language has become more abrasive, as her personality has, shouting seems to be the way she communicates. She refuses to change, even when she is miserable. The fourth oldest sister wears her fine hair long, down to her lower back, it looks like there is an old perm on the last six inches or so. She is not verbal at at, in fact it seems as if the muscles around her mouth have contracted, giving her limited range of motion. She sends little verbal dings when she does speak, or piles on the guilt. My brother has a lot of hair as well, sort of curly on the ends, although it looks a bit like a Mullet now, it's better than the militaristic look it had five years ago, which is the last time I saw him. He comes off tough, and sometimes will spew racial, political words that seem spoon fed to him from some right wing rhetoric on TV, but he is the first to give hugs.
Then there is my parents, both have a lot less hair, both are all grey and white. My dad just turned eighty years old yesterday and my mom is seventy four, both are showing signs of her age, she was limping yesterday. My dad is soft-spoken, like his fine hair which lies down smooth, although he has been known to stand up on his political soapbox as well, he has spared us this trip. My mother has a bit more texture to her hair, and she perms it to make it do what she would like, not so unlike her subtle manipulation with us.
And me, I am one of the soft spoken ones, particularly when around my sisters, who compete and play verbal hardball. I do wish I had a quick mind and verbal ability, I have come to accept it is not me. My hair is fine and short today, with some bend if given encouragement which could be indicative of my somewhat pathological need for constant fluffing, keeping things fresh, and change.
Hair texture aside, my family is familiar and yet my life is so unlike theirs. And all though we strive to connect, we cannot go back and rewrite the play of our lives. We love each other and we do connect in small ways.