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For the first few years there was one thing I needed help with every day :: A Life Modified – No. 1


So I decided to kick off the series with one of the most frequently asked questions I get these days ::  “How do you put your hair in a ponytail with one hand?” If you are just joining us, you can read the introduction and background story to A Life Modified here.

For the first year or so after the car accident,  it seemed like every simple activity from brushing my teeth or taking notes in class was a huge task.  I guess I can state the obvious…it was a time of adjustment.  Over time I figured out some creative ways to do things, but for the life of me I could not figure out how to put my hair in a ponytail myself.   So if I wanted to go work out, try a new hairdo, or if I was just feeling warm in my house and just wanted my hair off my neck…then if my mom or a girlfriend wasn’t around then I’d either have to just deal with it or ask a stranger (yup – I have done that more times than I can count).

I use to experiment with my hair all the time before the accident,  so one of the things I missed the most was trying creative hairstyles and to be able to do it myself.   I didn’t feel like I could ask someone to take time out of their day, just so I could try a new hairstyle.  But I was blessed with a sister and college roommates who enjoy doing hair and were really good at it! What a blessing – because I am so grateful when someone takes time to help, but there is nothing worse than asking a friend to help you put your hair back, and then look in the mirror and it look so bad you really can’t walk out in public!  But that has only happened a few times ;)

It is one thing if I just want to look cute and another when I actually needed to put my hair back.  I think the reason it was one of the things that bothered me most in the beginning was the simple fact that putting my hair up was an almost daily reminder that I was dependent.  A concept that was hard to accept and on some days, still is.  But that’s a topic we’ll chat about a little later ;)

I then started to realize that I wasn’t going to live with my family or in a dorm with a bunch of sweet college girls forever…I needed to be able to at least pull back my hair on my own.   It didn’t have to look really pretty (well that was the eventual goal ;) …I just needed to be able to get the job done.   Boys…here is where you might start day dreaming as I explain this to my girls out there. ;)  So about 6 years ago I started experimenting.  Yup.   It took me 8 years to figure this one out so let me just say I’m excited about this one!  In the beginning, I needed to experiment when my hair was wet so it wouldn’t slip from my fingers or the hair tie so easily.   So I finally got to the point where I could twist my hair in a bun, then the trick was getting the hair tie on without dropping my hair, so I use to twist my hair in a bun and then lean against a wall to keep my hair in place to put the hair tie on.  I have since figured out a way to do it without needing a wall (I use my neck and shoulder instead!) – which is great because now if I am out in public I don’t have to go run over to a wall to help put my hair up :)  And since Agustin and I lived in Ghana, West Africa last year – in 100 % humidity and 95 degree weather…believe me, being able to put my hair up on my own was a gift from God! Seriously!  And I’m just lucky that side ponytails are still in style – because that’s what I can do! So there ya have it – come check out how I modified life and learned to put my hair up in a ponytail with one hand. :) Enjoy + Happy Thursday!

A Life Modified No. 1 – Putting my hair in a ponytail with one hand from Kelly Lemon on Vimeo. Video Credit: my sweet talented friend Jordan Brittley. Check her out!

If you think of a question or want to know how I do something – leave it in the comments! Or if you want to share your own “modified” story of how you learned to modify something in your life – share it below!


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  1. Amanda Lloyd says:

    You are incredible Kelly! This is an amazing series, proud of you for opening up and sharing! Can’t wait for our lunch date :)

  2. Liesl Diesel says:

    Wow fantastic! Way to adapt. This makes me want to challenge myself to go a day with just one hand! I cannot even imagine all the adjustments you have had to make.

  3. Erin W. says:

    You are amazing. I remember sitting in my dorm room about a year and a half after the accident, chatting with you on AOL Instant Messenger. I was SUPER impressed with how fast you were typing with one hand, your left hand; you were faster than me!! I have always been so impressed with you, and I’m so honored to know you. Putting up a ponytail or bun with one hand sounds impossible, but you make it look so easy! Love you Kelly!! :)

    • Kelly says:

      Haha Wow Erin, I do remember that! I am blessed that it happened at a young age so I have had time to adapt and many things I have only done them with one hand so I don’t know anything else, but chatting on instant messenger always helped with my typing because when I wasnt fast enough people would sign off because they thought I wasnt there so it pushed me to type faster! haha. Love you Erin!

  4. Wow. You are kind of amazing. I’m not sure I can do such a cute side ponytail with two hands. You are an inspiration!

  5. Janet Intini says:

    Kelly, I love you and I love “A Life Modified”!!!!!!!

  6. You are so inspiring! Keep it up girl!

  7. Linda Marais says:

    Thank you for sharing Kelly. Your journey is going to change many lives and make us grateful for all the little things we take for granted in life.

  8. melissa says:

    Wow, that’s amazing! Thanks for sharing!

  9. IT’s amazing what kind of things we take for granted, like putting our hair up easily. You’re an inspiration! Thank you :)

    • Kelly says:

      Aww thank you! Yes! You are right it is crazy how we dont realize or appreciate so many things until they are no longer accessible! This has definitely taught me to appreciate the other parts of my body in a whole new way!

  10. Catherine OliverSmith says:

    You are an inspiration. You made my friend, Carmen, cry she was so impressed with your loving spirit. It shines through. She wants you to come speak at the girls’ school. I told her we could probably make that happen! <3

    • Kelly says:

      Aw Thank you aunt catherine! I am so happy to hear that my story could be an encouragement to your friend! I do have a few speaking events coming up, so yes – that could be arranged!