Hey there reader(s)*! Hope your holidays are going well. I finished my last holiday deposit today. (my little sister knows how much I love her). I have a two week break! OH YEAH! So, I might find time to post a couple times this week. We. Shall. See.
On to today’s topic: MY HAIR. So, since I was a little girl I’ve had an obsession with my hair. I’ve been through braids, straightening combs, relaxers, cuts, curls, weaves, dye, lye, no-lye, permanent, semi-permanent… you get the picture.
After a disastrous event on June 13, 2007, also known as my 25th born-day, when I was forced to chop my past the shoulder-length honey brown hair into a short Fantasia-after-Idol-esque pixie cut, I decided to “go” natural. In August 2007, I went from short and relaxed to nearly bald. Looking back, that was a rough time in my life. NO, I won’t talk about it now, but soon…
Any-who, after the cries of, “She’s insane,” died down, I was given a chance to look in the mirror and admire the damage I’d done. Sure, I’d gradually had over 12 inches of #33 home grown hair removed from my head, but along with that, I lost a bit of myself. I was attached to my hair. I was the rare, purple unicorn with diamond eyes: a dark skinned black woman with real, long, hair! *gasp*
Within the black community (sadly this is still the case), real, long, straight hair is the most accepted form of beauty.
Perfect example: I uploaded a picture of my newly pressed hair to The Facebook so that I could post it here and in a matter of 30 seconds, I had at least 7 comments praising my crown and glory. Now, I get compliments on my natural, but not THAT MANY comments…. carry on…
I have no statistics on this, but look around you; listen to what’s going on. Turn on the television. Straight or as close to straight is what’s acceptable. Ironically, I’m typing these words with pressed hair. Don’t get me wrong, I’m
not bashing permed or straight hair. It’s the norm for what’s pretty. We straighten our daughters’ hair for “special occasions”. What message is that sending?
On a more personal note, in the beginning of the school year, I entered the classroom with my natural mane, perfectly untamed. For the first time since wearing my natural texture (except as a child) I wore it back in a pony tail. Thinking back, it may have been due to a bad hair day, that I’d never consider having before working around middle school children. Not that the teasing ever bothered me, but I also wanted to put forth a certain level of professionalism.
I tried twists but with grading papers and running and living my life, it became an all-day event. Sleep won and I went back to my signature chunky twist out… A mash-up between SideShow Bob and Shirley Temple. (I think that’s the best self description I’ve ever come up with. PERFECT.
Fast forward to two weeks ago. I was browsing through pictures of myself and I came across this one:
Ahhh, my first press. When I thought my hair had hit “her” peak. This picture, taken April 2009, was my very first professional press. It lasted all of six days and it cost… well, let’s not even discuss the price. I was in NYC when I got it done. It wasn’t a big deal since everyone in my circle loved my natural mane more than a “regular” press.
My second press took place in February 2010.
The difference this time was the reaction. I had never worn my hair straight at home. I had moved back from NYC and everyday since I chopped all my hair I’d been getting the same question: “Are you gonna grow it back?” (See: Southern obsession with long, straight hair.) I kept it straight for close to a month; then it was back to the Supah-Fro!
The current press, however, caused an uproar.
See, middle school students are really impressionable and they like the norm. They’re safe. Afraid of being different. So, when [Ms. Brown] came to class with straight hair grazing her shoulders, there was quite the uproar. Even teachers didn’t recognize me. I never knew my hair was so distinct until I changed into a style more “blendable”. I’m missing the air of the natural. My goal is to keep it straight until March, but we’ll see how that pans out.
As my scalp gets drier and my roots get wavier, I’m tempted to just wash my hair and bring “her” back to life. Then, I remember how easy the straight style is and how much I love whipping my hair back and forth.
*Pause* A funny thing just happened, while writing this post, I went over to The Facebook and started chatting with a friend from college who had to cut all her hair due to an unexpected health scare. Her spirit is so inspiring and I dedicate this post to her. Her strength and willingness to be beautiful in her own skin has brought me full circle. So, Tia, this one’s for you 🙂
At the end of the day, it’s just hair. It comes and goes. It gets cut and grows back. Don’t let it define you.
In the words of a wise woman:
“No matter if it’s long or short, do it, do it, whip your hair!”
-Willow Smith, age 9.
Until Next Time,
Share your Hair-story 🙂