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Hair and sensory issues

January 10, 2013

Not quite random lunch note to M&S (which ties back in with sensory issues): If you need to thicken canned lentil soup with cornstarch, and half the lentils are hard and actually shiny in the middle with a hard little cotyledon because barely cooked, you’re doing it wrong.

These two things are not unrelated, and must be built into the recipe, since thoroughly cooked lentils will thicken a soup. They probably didn’t want it glumping out of the can solid like dog food (or, erm, a bean soup), but yuck. Shame about the horrible texture, because it actually tasted pretty good after I added rather a lot of salt. I choked it down anyway, because I was hungry and needed some food with ibuprofen, but that is another quick celiac-friendly food option crossed off the list. 😦 (I do freeze leftover fully cooked soups, but that takes a lot longer to get ready to eat.)

But, since I’m having a hard time finishing a couple of more “serious” posts, and was thinking about this again today, I thought I’d go on about hair some more. This time in the context of sensory issues.

Now, besides the tendency toward snarly hair, mine was kept in some kind of short cut the whole time I was growing up, because I was “tender-headed” (as my Nana always put it) and truly despised having anyone mess with it. Not so surprising with the “unruliness” and snarliness, but yeah. Lots of screaming and crying and the occasional full-blown meltdown averted by keeping it at a length that barely needed any combing.

This one, ca. 1976, kinda sets the haircutting tone for years to come. (Also, for the hypermobility/probable EDS, looking at those knees...) It also still swirls and sticks out in exactly the same patterns, whenever it gets much longer than a buzz cut, which is slightly funny.

This one, ca. 1976, kinda sets the haircutting tone for years to come. (Also, for the hypermobility/probable EDS, looking at those knees…) It also still swirls and sticks out in exactly the same patterns, whenever it gets much longer than a buzz cut, which is slightly funny.

One that I put together for another post.

One that I put together for another post, which also shows hair. (As usual, click through for the full-sized version.)

People were trying hard to make my hair lie flat for these, but it still didn’t work so well. And no wonder.

I still hate having other people mess with my head, and that is another reason I am growing it out and trimming it myself, after I realized that this is actually an option. At first, I thought it was kind of odd that Mr. U goes back and forth between cutting his own with clippers, and letting it grow out, like now–because, as he puts it, he doesn’t like strangers wielding sharp objects around his head!–but you really do not owe it to the people around you to regularly get it professionally cut in a way they find pleasing. It’s your head.

At any rate, I have been tempted to do a Big Chop down to a 3/4″ buzz cut again, multiple times, partly because I never learned what to do with longer hair. Beyond just pulling it back, trying to turn it into a scrunchie bun, or putting it in a simple braid. All of those have drawbacks for me now, especially since my hair started growing again, recovering from the celiac-related deficiencies. It’s about bra-strap length now, and even though a lot of it fell out, there’s still plenty left to make it heavy and prone to pulling unevenly on my scalp. Trying to spot-adjust the tension just makes it worse. Which is extra fun when you’re “tender-headed”, yeah.

But, I don’t want to cut it all off out of frustration and not knowing what to do with it again, especially since I’m interested in seeing how long it will get. It’s never gotten much longer than it is now without dreading up and needing cut off, when I didn’t know how to take care of it at all–and I want to see what terminal length  is. Before, I did pick up some books on doing different kinds of braids and updos, but I am bad enough at translating instructions and diagrams/step-by-step photos to what I need to do on the back of my own head that it just got frustrating enough I gave up. (It’s amazing that I ever taught myself to crochet, working from a book and having watched other people do it.)

Thank goodness for YouTube! I still have trouble translating the movements to what my own hands need to be doing at the back of my head, but it’s so much easier from watching a video. My current favorite thing ever:

Lazy wrap bun

It’s super-easy, does not pull awkwardly at my scalp anywhere, and also doesn’t look too bad. I do need to hold the loose end of hair down with a bobby pin or small clip so that it doesn’t start working loose, but then it will also stay put all day without my even noticing it’s there. Some feat for us tender-heads! The lack of twisting is apparently also less likely to damage your hair over time, which is a lot more important if you are planning to let it grow indefinitely.

I would like to learn how to do some other good bun styles, including the related nautilus bun once I have a little more length to work with, but am taking it one step at a time. I feel like a dork admitting it, but I was actually proud of myself for picking this one up after four or five tries on my own head! I’d also like to work on doing French braids and some other variations on my own head again; absurdly, I can do some of it OK on other people, but that just doesn’t translate well to working blind on the back of my own head.

What about wearing it down? Ha!

I used to be able to manage that, but it’s just too tickly and flies in my face these days, besides being much more prone to snarling up. I also seem to have a much lower tolerance now for that sort of thing. Plus, it looks like total crap once it’s dry if I have to pull it back wet, so I need to keep wearing it pulled back until the next wash.  These days, I just can’t tolerate having wet hair flopping around loose for the several hours it takes to get dry enough to do anything with, even when the weather is not super-humid. In Greater London, so good luck with that. 😛

Suggested searches. ;)

Suggested searches. 😉

Some bad Nexus 7 shots to illustrate, from I think last week. (At least it has a front-facing camera, unlike my old phone.) It was darkly amusing enough that I snapped a few. Hint: I didn’t mean to be making those faces in any of these!

No product which makes for a shorter drying time, so not even bothering with scrunching. Maybe this will be doable, but I’m already doubtful a few minutes out of the shower.

Not even five minutes in, and this is just not working. I also need to cook supper, and that ain’t happening with a face full of wet hair.

I still suck at braiding on the back of my head, but that’ll hold for now. (And, with that kind of look of concentration, no wonder I kept getting told off by the school Face Police for looking angry! 😐 )

So, yeah, that rarely happens when it’s not the kind of warm, sunny weather that’s good for letting it dry pretty quickly outside. I had held off on getting a decent hairdryer with diffuser, but I finally caved on the basis that it shouldn’t fry my hair too badly if I’m not using it every day. Even if I used it on lower heat after every (weekly, of late) wash, that shouldn’t do too much damage.

I’ve only used it a couple of times so far, and it still takes a good long while to get dry using the indirect heat. With lots of painful bending over involved, though sitting in a chair helped. I need to practice drying technique more, when I feel up to it, but getting it dry more quickly did help it have more volume and less of the curl fall out just from the water weighting very fine hair down. This was without product, after the first try.

The old henna really shows up in that bad lighting! It’s not usually that color.

We still have the “temporary” halogen floor light in the kitchen, BTW, since the warmer less direct lighting is so much less headache-inducing that I haven’t even pushed to get the overhead fluorescents replaced! Also sensory issue related, yeah.

After it was dry, I could only stand to wear it down for about an hour with the top pulled back in a barrette, before the tickliness got to be too much. But, I’m hoping to gradually get more used to the feel of it again. There’s nothing inherently wrong with wearing it up all the time, but some variety is good!

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