Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Reflecting: On Learning to Love My Hair

wearing my hair in a bantu-knot out turned shrunken afro (thanks to the humidity!)
outfit details are in my post: Black, White, and Big Hair

I think all women have an interesting relationship with hair. We admire each other's hair, wish for what we don't have, and buy products to give us the hair of our dreams. No wonder why the hair industry is so lucrative! I've had a love-hate relationship with my hair for many years. However, I'm proud to say that the relationship has transformed to all love over the past few years. As a child, my hair was thick and hard to manage; breaking the teeth on combs and popping hair ties and bubbles (some folks call them ballies lol) were commonplace for my hair. Several people told me my hair was beautiful, but I didn't truly believe it. I dreamed of having straight hair. I was envious of all the girls at school with straight hair because I thought mine was ugly. I didn't understand why God gave me this thick and hard to manage hair that was always in braids or twists to prevent tangles. There were so many days that I woke up wishing for straight hair because I believed that was the standard of beauty. I remember walking through the hair and beauty isle as a child while idolizing the little girls on the "Just for Me" kiddie relaxer packages. Their silky hair was perfect in my eyes and I wanted to be one of those girls so badly. I begged my mother several times throughout my childhood to relax my hair and each time she firmly told me no! By my 12th birthday I continued pestering my mom to relax my hair and we compromised on a texturizer instead. She was reluctant, but I wanted it so bad that she gave in. 

After a couple of years, my texturizer turned into a super relaxer and I regretted the day I ever allowed those chemicals to touch my hair; my once thick hair grew longer and thinner. My mother gave the usual "I told you so" and reminded me that my natural hair was always beautiful. During my sophomore year of high school, I decided to give texturizers another try. My hair began to grow back thicker, but it wasn't as healthy as it could be. By my junior year of high school, I decided to stop putting harsh chemicals in my hair for good because I was unsatisfied with its health. I no longer wanted to blend in with everyone and I stopped idolizing the girls with straight hair. I wanted to celebrate my natural beauty and exercise confidence. So I gradually cut off my chemically straightened hair until I was left with nothing but my natural texture and a new found appreciation for it. I didn't see many women  rocking their natural hair, but that was okay with me. I didn't care if I looked different because I chose to wear my hair in natural styles. There were some days when I hated being natural because of the time and effort it took to make my hair look "presentable". However, I eventually mastered the art of styling my hair. I can proudly say that I look into the mirror and I love the beautiful woman with the gorgeous hair staring back at me. Sometimes my afro is huge, sometimes it shrinks up to a fraction of it's length. My hair has been called kinky, curly, nappy, coarse, tough and unruly. It has been likened to cotton candy and lambs wool. All in all, I love my hair because it is a part of me.


2 comments

  1. Rock it girl! I glad you have developed a good relationship with your hair.
    -Amara

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  2. I thought Just For Me was just for me when I was younger. My natural hair and I are at war right now. Since I work in a corporate environment, I feel like its easier to just slap on a good wig and go, but I never feel genuinely confident because my true beauty isn't exhibited. The struggle is real!

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