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Essays by Karen Anderson: Noticing Me

Illustration by Kacie Brown

A few months ago, my husband and I traveled to visit friends. While packing for the trip I grabbed my hair dryer and hair curler, as always, and then paused. They’re so bulky and so heavy. Maybe I could just leave them at home. A terrifying thought, to be sure.

But I decided to live on the wild side by going without my hair care appliances—for two whole days. It was a risk, I know, trusting my hair to the humidity, wondering if I still had what my mother used to call “a little natural curl.”

Whatever was natural about my hair the following days, however, couldn’t be called “curls.” Or even “waves.” More like weird flips and frizz. Still, you already know what happened: Nothing.

The world kept turning, the sun came up, and the waitress served my meal. Nobody noticed my hair, not even my husband. Which might be discouraging, but I chose to feel reassured.

It was a humbling reminder that although I might assume the opposite, nobody is paying much attention to me—and that’s a relief, really. So, it’s possible that I can just leave my vanity behind which is as bulky and heavy as my appliances.

Will anyone notice?

Notice what?

Karen Anderson contributes "Essays by Karen Anderson" to Interlochen Public Radio.