This subject has been a hot topic for me for as long as I can remember. I even recall an impromptu speech during my senior year speech class on the subject. Hair. My hair in particular.
I have childhood memories of dreading the sight of the brush and crying as my mom would try to drag the bristles through this wild mass of curls. Tight curls. No More Tears became my friend at a young age and made the task a bit more manageable. My hair was such a challenge for my parents, while my dad claims to not remember, one day he sat me on the butcher block in our kitchen and cut it. Cut. It. Off. Lucky for me I have my 1st grade photos to remind him where a white bow was placed on my head so not to be mistaken for a boy.
In the first grade, I became friendly with a black girl in my class – and her family introduced me to the perm. My mom would purchase the salon sized relaxer and blow dryers for the trade of them managing my hair. I remember stations being set in her grandmother’s kitchen. First station: relaxer; Second station: the comb through; Third station: the fan if the relaxer started to sting and had not been on your head an adequate amount of time; Fourth station: rinse and wash; Fifth station: blow dry and flat iron. We continued this process for many years… In the Seventh grade my god-mother, who owned a flower shop in a local shopping center, would trade flowers for my hair appointments. This situation carried me through to college where I became responsible for my hair appointment costs to today.
To me, the subject of black ladies and their hair is funny. I have been relaxing my hair for 20 years – part habit, part afraid to see what it looks like natural. Would I feel as pretty with shorter, curly hair? I always had pretty hair – usually long – and even when acne or feeling too pudgy would get me down, I could spend a few hours in a beauty shop and walk out feeling prettier than I had when I entered.
Laziness paired with curiosity paired with impatience led me to the idea that I should grow out my natural hair. It has been 20 years so I do not feel I have ever had a proper introduction to the natural hair, nor any knowledge of whether or not it is manageable, etc. If you have ever attempted to grow out hair color or a hair perm, you can feel my pain!
After almost one year with no relaxer I said a prayer, confirmed with 12 people that I would be okay if I cut my hair, and made an appointment with Amber Lynn. (This is where I should insert a photo… Maybe later :-) )
I’m actually happy with it – and think it’s kind of fun. I am now proudly a Have Not and I am really glad that I did it!