brushing up

Mason Pearson brush

For Christmas, Dan bought me a hairbrush. Not just any brush. A Mason Pearson brush. They’ve been making these brushes in England since 1885. It’s not the kind of thing you just buy on a whim, as they are insanely expensive, but I’ve been coveting this brush for years, and it was a lovely gift.

If you read online reviews, you will come to believe that this brush is almost as good as a magic wand. It’s supposed to make your hair healthy and shiny, and all the things that hair aspires to be. I’ve been diligently brushing my hair morning and night. But it wasn’t until yesterday that I noticed the magic of the brush. I decided to blow dry and straighten my hair, which I hadn’t done for a while (I’ll get to that in a moment). My hair is naturally somewhere between wavy and curly, and it just generally doesn’t look great unless I put some major work into it. It goes up into a ponytail every day. Super fancy. I envy people who roll out of bed every day with straight, shiny hair… Sigh. In any case, as I was doing my hair, I couldn’t get over how soft and shiny and healthy it looks. Like, it’s never looked this smooth and nice before. I’m giving the brush all the credit for this transformation.

I got up this morning, my hair still looking gloriously smooth, and brushed it, wondering why I don’t do my hair all the time. I used to. Not that long ago, I was one of those people who made an effort to look nice. I blow-dried and straightened my hair every time I washed it, I used nice shampoo and conditioner. Now, it’s an enormous $5 bottle of TRESemmé. Hold the conditioner. Why bother, it’s just going into a ponytail anyway. In days gone by, the thought of leaving the house without at least some makeup was not a thought I entertained. Ever. I was a daily gym-goer. Now I’m 60 pounds overweight and the most exercise I get is walking down 1 flight of stairs to check the mail. I took a lot of pride in wearing nice clothes and picking out the perfect accessories. Now it’s leggings, a t-shirt and a hoodie every day. When I look at photos of myself from a few years ago, I look like a different person. I was fit. Healthy. Happy. Stylish.

I remember when I was younger, looking at women who weren’t looking their best, and promising myself that I’d never ‘let myself go’. Looking frumpy seemed like the ultimate defeat. And it was never, ever going to happen to me. I think you can guess what’s coming next. It happened. It wasn’t an overnight thing. I spent a long time walking the path to frumpdom. There was always something I didn’t understand about how this happens to people. But now I get it. It’s not really a choice, it just happens. Life happens.

The last few years have been very difficult for me. So difficult. A lot of big life changes, a lot of sad times, and a lot of challenges to overcome. At times it’s been a struggle just to survive. I see all of these things when I look in the mirror. I see the sadness, I see the struggle, I see the disappointments. At some point, I just stopped caring about how I look. It seemed like the least of my concerns. But I’d totally forgotten how good it feels to look good. That feeling of seeing your reflection in a window and thinking, “Damn, I look good today!” I haven’t had that feeling in a while. But I did get a glimpse of it last night, with my sleek, shiny, swishy hair.

Usually when things head downhill for a while, you can look forward to an uphill battle trying to turn them around. I know it won’t be easy, but I know in my heart that I can do better. So much better. The makeup, the moisturizer, the straightener, the tweezers, the nail polish, and the exercise DVDs are coming out. And I’m coming back.

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7 thoughts on “brushing up

  1. This made me cry…my three year old dressed up like me the other day and he was wearing sweats, a hoodie, glasses and a goofy hat! My mom gave me one of those brushes a couple of years ago- I think I will dig it out and join you in getting the pretty back.

  2. You have written so beautifully here about your revelation. I’m sure there are many women who can easily relate to your story, and I assure you that you have reached me. I don’t know the difficult times you have been through but I do empathize with losing interest in certain aspects of life — especially in taking care of oneself. How wonderful that your new brush has awakened this desire in you! Your words are so sincere and I believe you really are ready to move forward. I wish you well on your journey and look forward to your unfolding story.

  3. Oh, I can so relate to everything in this post too – and I really do hope you are lifted from this place now. You are such a positive and sunny force on Facebook, although I know that that is not always the full story, I hope your personal journey has evolved in the same way that your bead journey clearly has. On another note, I have this exact same brush, and I have had it since I was a very small child. Yep, it’s a bit grubby now, but it’s just SUCH a good brush! I’ve got curly hair so I only brush my hair when it needs a wash (and right before, because my hair brushed looks, well, LARGE shall we say…!) – it’s the only hair brush that isn’t extremely painful to use on my hair, ever. I have STUPIDLY left my brush back in Edinburgh and I was cursing myself only this morning for being so stupid.

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