My reliable, sturdy Chi flat iron, purchased in 2004, died last week.
[short pause for a moment of silence]
You may think that I’m silly, overly dramatic, and sentimental. You’d be right, of course, but this loss–and it IS a loss– is hitting me hard.
In the immediate moment of its demise, the loss was an inconvenience. I was rushing to get ready for work, yelling out of my bathroom located toward the back of the house in the direction of the living room at the front of the house, prompting my son to stop playing and start getting dressed. Despite the distance, I could hear the Magnatiles clicking together and ultimately collapsing due to overambitious engineering. #momsenses
And then my ever-faithful flat iron wouldn’t turn on. After changing outlets and tapping the plate-end of the flat iron against the side of the sink more than a few times, I gave up. My hair that day was a haphazardly thrown together, up-in-a-clip mess, but so was my sense of nostalgia.
When a flat iron is more than a flat iron
2004: Facebook and the term “social media” were born, Jay Z had 99 problems, and Lance Armstrong was the AP Male Athlete of the Year (ah, hindsight). And I bought my first ever flat iron during the tail end of my senior year of high school.
It’d be an exaggeration to say that my life changed because of a flat iron, but that flat iron DID give me confidence as it took away my frizz. Gone were the days of washing my hair and either letting it air dry or pulling angrily at it with a round brush as I tried to blow dry some shine and smoothness into its strands.
I certainly didn’t care that the cord didn’t automatically rotate as I changed directions or that the entire thing weighed a ton. In fact, all of that heft is the likely reason why the iron lasted me fifteen good years despite about 101 drops to the tiled bathroom floor.
My now-defunct flat iron saw me through my high school graduation, went with me to college for SEC football games and sorority socials, helped me to prepare for my first ever job interviews and days of work, made me feel pretty and self-assured while dating my now-husband and meeting his family, and accompanied me on adventures across the country and even abroad.
It came with me to the hospital for my son’s birth, tucked safely in my go-bag along with dreams of easily being able to shower, put on make-up and look great for post-birth photos (HA, yeah right). Still, it came. It was there.
I know that many of you reading this can’t identify with my feelings, and that’s okay. But I still challenge you to think of a similar item or staple– a companion– that you’ve had for years as an adult and can link to so many important times in your life. I was never the kid with a blankie or stuffed animal that came with me wherever I went, but my Chi feels like a close comparison to a childhood lovie.
I’m sad that it’s time to say goodbye, and I’ll admit that I’m very daunted by the new product options on the market– none of which look like my red, wide-plated Chi– but moving on and saying goodbye to the old and hello to the new is part of life… and part of the morning hair routine, it seems.
I can’t help but smile, too, wondering what my new flat iron will see me through in the next several years to come.