Black women have a love-hate relationship with their hair. If you don’t believe me, just Google Chris Rock and look at all the hype surrounding his documentary, Good Hair. Or go visit a salon and see what black women will go through in order to maintain their hair – we fry it and we buy it. And some of us wear it natural.
Growing up, I had what was considered “good hair,” it was sandy brown, super fine and could be easily maintained with a brush and a little bit of water. My sisters, on the other hand, had what was considered “bad hair.” Every Saturday night, Mom would would pull out a chair in the kitchen and round up her supplies:
– Pressing cream
– Hot comb
– Hair barrettes
– Head scarves
Then she’d park my sisters in front of the stove for hours while she meticulously ran the hot comb through their hair so it’d be all shiny and bouncy for church on Sunday. This was a ritual in every black girl’s house. Just ask.
I’d sit there watching my sisters get their hair done and beg my mom to run the hot comb through my hair just one time. She’d look at me, smack her lips and ask me why I wanted her to press my hair when I had good hair? I wanted to be like my sisters. I wanted to hold my ear to keep my mom from nicking it. I wanted to show my friends the little burn mark on my forehead (a badge of honor, to my simple little mind). Sometimes to appease me, after the pressing comb had cooled down, Mom would run it through my hair but it wasn’t the same thing.
When we turned ten or eleven, my mom started relaxing my twin sister’s hair. Oh, was I jealous. The first time I saw my sister’s dark brown hair all soft, straight and bouncy, I wanted it. There I was with my frizzy curls, no longer sandy brown but a crazy mix of red, brown and blonde, looking like a black Orphan Annie. I begged my mom to put a relaxer in my hair.
She reluctantly agreed.
That was twenty plus years ago and I haven’t looked back. Accept for when I shaved my hair because it was all dry and falling out from a combination of radiation therapy and a whacked out thyroid, I’ve kept my hair relaxed. I love the feel of my hair on the back of my neck, the wind blowing through it when I ride with the windows down…But recently I’ve started to wonder what my natural hair looks like.
I’ve dyed my hair since I was fourteen (black girl with freckles and reddish brown hair, need I say more?) and, like I said, my relationship with Dark and Lovely has lasted longer than any relationship I’ve ever had with a person. Unlike some people who choose to cut off all the hair and start from scratch, I will be trimming my hair every 6 weeks until nothing’s left until my natural hair. I will be using products from Mixed Chicks and will periodically update my blog with pictures during the six month growing out process.
So if I start to look crazy or I get all cranky ’cause I’m having a bad hair day, you’ll understand wont you? Mostly I’m expecting to learn to love the natural me and, hopefully, find the person that I lost so many years ago when I started frying and dying.