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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Thanks for visiting. I am no longer updating Notes to Self. I hope you'll join me on my current website,


I've been working on a few chapters about what it was like to be a little girl growing up in the Free to Be, You and Me seventies. You wouldn't know it, to walk into the girl's section of a toy store today, but back then, froufrou was considered by some to be a hazardous substance. My consciousness-raised mom was one of the "some," and consequently, girly-girl stuff was rationed in our house the way Froot Loops and soda pop were: empty treats to be indulged in sparingly. (At least, that's how I remember it. Stay tuned for my mom's follow-up to my memoir, "The Way We Really Were." )

When I could get my hands on that kind of thing, I was obsessed with it. Of all the so-called feminine past times, I was fascinated in particular by hair and makeup. My mother had (and still has) beautiful wavy hair and flawless skin. Her entire beauty regimen consisted of lipstick and a tan. There was no vanity drawer full of paints and potions for me to play dress up with, and I wasn't allowed to own so much as a tube of lipgloss before I was fourteen. My dad's youngest sister always had stacks of Glamour lying around, and I snuck off with them the way boys might sneak off with copies of their father's Playboy ( I did that too--saving that one for the book).

I used to be riveted by the Merle Norman makeover ads, with their dramatic before and after pictures. In the before, the model was always dejected looking, as if she'd been told to contemplate the eternal nature of suffering for the camera. In the opposite photo, presto, she was made over, rapturous. As an adult, those spreads just annoy me. I think the expressions in both photos should be natural. It's just hair and makeup, after all (thank you, Mom, for that).

But maybe they're not always a set-up. I broke down and saw my hair stylist for my semi-annual visit last week, and instead of my usual trim, I got crazy and went for bangs and color.


Photo 10


Photo 16

Can you tell how it made me feel on the inside?

I know, it's just hair and makeup. Believe me, this morning, pre-coffee and shower, I was right back at "before." But we've been talking about those little things we let go that go such a long way in terms of energy and outlook, and I guess this is one of mine. I've been very moved by your confidences, and I'm hoping that the act of sharing them will turn out to be a down payment on every one of those dreams.

P.S. I'm turning 40 on November 23, did I tell you? I've been making myself (and Patrick) crazy trying to decide how to celebrate, but I know one thing for sure: I've got a date with Leonard Cohen. Anything in the next sixty years after that is icing.


Blogger Amy B. said...

You look so damn sexy and confident in that picture -- I love it!

There isn't much in life that a trip to the makeup counter and the salon can't fix.

12:59 PM  
Blogger Juliet said...

While I'm not big on makeup and fussy stuff myself, I do admit that I always feel sexy & confident when I walk out of the hair salon w/a great cut & highlights. Love the bangs - not sure I could go back to bangs, but now you're making me think about it! Coincidentally my b-day is also Nov 23rd - 35 for me this year. Looking forward to your book!

1:09 PM  
Blogger DonW said...

Oh, are you ever going to love Leonard Cohen! We saw him here some months back, and it was the best damned concert I've ever seen, a truly magical night. Prepare to swoon...

1:12 PM  
Blogger Rebecca said...

Kyran, you look absolutely fabulous! How is it fair that you get even more beautiful as you approach 40?! Your 20-something year-old self's got nothin' on your almost-40-year-old self!
I grew up totally immersed in Free To Be You and Me, too, and still know most of the words to the songs and skits. But I don't recall ever being obsessed with hair and makeup...maybe I was more easily brainwashed. :) Anyone with kids should make sure they grow up listening to that record. You can get it here:

1:39 PM  
Blogger bluebird of paradise said...

love you !

1:39 PM  
Blogger Jennifer H said...


2:08 PM  
Blogger Erika said...

I was never into the girlie stuff either but in 1991 I was 21 and for some reason, probably a Glamour magazine, I plucked my eyebrows into a thin arch. This was a dramatic change from their previous Bert-like (as in Ernie)appearance. I got comments like..."Did you lose weight?" "Did you get a hair cut?" and "You look happier." Nobody knew it was the brows but me. I never went back.

I still haven't dared to try bangs since I hit 30. Brave, Kyran, very brave.

2:42 PM  
Blogger nicole said...

You look amazing... even on the cereal aisle in Kroger, you are smoking hot! And, I might be a little biased, here, but ... the more bangs the better. Xo.

3:11 PM  
Blogger Kyran said...

OMG, Kroger last night... was that the most out of control toddler to ever run amuck in a grocery store, or what? People were actually fleeing!

4:13 PM  
Blogger S.E. Sward said...

Love the hair, you look fab!

I forgot to mention that we had to skip a big birthday party for my 40th. We'd already reserved the party room at Juanita's and paid the deposit, but Darling Husband's practice was leaking money like a sieve, we didn't have health insurance and I just couldn't go through with the party. It would have been nice to really celebrate 40 because I was having a hard time with it to begin with, but that's not what the universe had in store for me, I guess. This year, I'll turn 41. I'd still like to have a party, but who celebrates 41 like that? Maybe by the time I turn 50, I'll be able to do it ...

5:16 PM  
Blogger Janie B said...

Great look! Good luck with that turning 40 thing. That was the hardest b-day for me. I went into a depression for 3 months before. Fifty was much easier.

7:56 PM  
Blogger Amy said...

Great look! I just got my hair cut for the first time in 2 years...I went with a little bit of a bang too. And I turn 40 on Oct. 5th. Doesn't seem possible!!!

10:12 PM  
Blogger meganonymous said...

My b-day is on Nov. 23 too! I'll be turning 30! So happy early birthday to you!

7:48 AM  
Blogger Suzanne said...

you look lovely....and milk that 'turning 40' thing for everything that it's won't get the same bang for your buck for another ten years!

2:59 PM  
Blogger Kyran said...

Thanks, all.

Suzanne, I plan to leverage it for everything it's got!

S.E., I think you should have an "over the hump" 41st blow out bday. My high school reunion was on an odd numbered year, and I think it was actually better because of it...we got to write our own script.

4:28 PM  
Blogger Jomama said...

I was an awkward child, self-conscious and shy. Bookish, nerdy. I'd never been into the hair and makeup stuff--not being as pretty (I thought) as my friends, I didn't see the point in wasting time trying.

My mother had her hair done every week, and she allowed me to get a "body wave" when I was 14. I was TRANSFORMED. I could not believe the creature I saw in the mirror when the hair stylist was done!

I fairly floated home that day, with a smile on my face that beamed 1000 watts.

The perm grew out eventually, and I went back to being the bookish nerd I was comfortable as. But I carried that kernel of possibility within me for the rest of my teen years. I knew I had the *potential* to be really pretty if I cared to get some help.

What a difference it made--I no longer judge people for vanity. How we see ourselves and present ourselves does make a big difference.

11:47 PM  
Blogger Kyran said...

Jomama, wonderful comment. I was that nerdy girl who kept her head down too.

I agree such things are to be enjoyed while and when they can, but held lightly.

7:40 AM  
Blogger Chris said...

You look beautiful! [frankly in the before and the after shot]

My mother bought "Free To Be You and Me" for my brother and me. We sang every song, could recite all the poems and loved the stories.

I love feeling pretty. I like it when others embrace the feeling too. :-)

10:21 AM  

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