A few mornings ago, I was listening to the country pop pandora station while cleaning my room. The song “God Bless the Broken Road,” by Rascal Flatts came on. The song made me smile, as my sisters and I bought the Rascal Flatt’s CD back when we were driving from the farm we lived on to high school (10-15 minute drive), and learned every single song by heart. I think I still know all of them haha!
As I was enjoying this trip down memory lane, I really started to listen to the lyrics. Gary Levox belted out the lyrics, “Every long lost dream led me to where you are. Others who broke my heart; they were like northern stars pointing me on my way into your loving arms… God bless the broken road that led me straight to you.”
I think when you meet “the one,” it makes you kind of nervous/sick reflecting on old relationships, and what might have happened if you stayed in them. I’m not saying people I dated were so terrible that I cringe at the thought of settling down with them, (ok… some were terrible…and yes, I cringe hard) I’m just saying that when you find that perfect person, you just realize you would have missed out on so much without him or her.
So, how do I know Alex is the one? There are so many reasons, but I want to share an important reason. My hair.
It sounds stupid, but I have always had a deep-rooted hatred of my naturally curly hair. My mom, who has gorgeous silky curls, somehow gave birth to a daughter with coarse curls that a lot of small-town stylists called “ethnic,” and didn’t know what to do with.
I tried to figure it out with different products and brushes, but I soon decided I hated it. The moment I decided I didn’t like my hair was when a boy I had a huge crush on, in 7th grade, told me that he didn’t like my curly hair, and that it would look better straight.
This was a monumental event for middle school me, but there would be so many more comments to come throughout the years. The things that are said in middle/high school are so unfortunately impacting. People would tease me for having frizzy hair, they would call it an afro, and they would say things like, “OH MY GOD, WHAT HAPPENED TO YOUR HAIR?” These statements would come from friends, classmates, teachers, coaches, and crushes. I truly don’t believe they knew that they were really hurting my feelings.
Ummmm… this is just my hair… damn.
So, despite my mom’s pleas to wear my hair natural and curly, I spent hours and hours straightening out every curl. I wanted to look like girls who boys called pretty at school. At the time, professional hair straighteners like Chi and Paul Mitchell were not common… so I was using a $10 Conair straightener. I would love to post a pic of this monstrosity, but I have deleted all of them, due to the terrifying nature of the photos.
I severely damaged my hair over the years. With already naturally coarse hair, applying high heat from a cheap product made it even worse. I would look in the mirror and know I looked terrible, but no matter what, it was better than my natural hair.
Until I met Alex, I had never been with anybody who actually liked my curly hair. One guy who I had a huge crush on in college told me, “I don’t like curly hair, so you should straighten it.” Why… why… why would I not tell this jerk to… well you know? So, in the beginning of our relationship, Alex had no idea I had curly hair. I hid it from him. Then one day, I couldn’t avoid it. I forgot my straightener… I was to be exposed.
Instead of laughing, making a Sideshow Bob allusion, or asking what happened to my hair, Alex demanded to know why I didn’t wear my hair curly all of the time. He loved it!
Alex tells me that I am beautiful all the time, but he always tells me it is his favorite when my hair is curly. He took this picture of me in Mexico during our vacation, and sends it to me several times a year with some cute comment. There was no makeup, no styled hair; just a tan and half-dry hair after coming back from the beach. It’s his favorite picture of me.
Ugh… he is so sweet.
Comments about my appearance will never stop… Last week I walked into the gym before a game, and a colleague pointed at my hair and said, “What happened?!” What happened? I took a shower and then came to coach a basketball game looking fine as heck… that’s what happened.
When my hair is looking extra big, Alex’s uncle even calls me “Big Ern McCraken” LOLOLOL I actually love it!
I have a gorgeous fiancé who I get to spend my life with, and he sees me for who I really am. He loves me when I am in my most natural state. There is never any pressure to have makeup on, or have my hair smoothed and flat against my temples.
I still straighten my hair some days, but I wear it curly most of the time. I actually love my natural hair, and it is something that makes me proud and gives me confidence. I wonder if I ever would have realized this without Alex teaching me to love myself. Nobody who I ever thought I wanted to date had anything nice to say about my hair, or my face without makeup.
The broken road kind of sucked to travel on, but I’d do it all over any day if I knew it would lead me to him.