So. I’ve recently decided to wear my actual hair in its natural state. Which shouldn’t be a big deal because its JUST HAIR, but when you’re a weave connoisseur and former creamy crack addict, then you realize.. Wearing your hair natural is more than a hair style, it’s apart of your true identity…
I’ve never had long hair… I was a cute, bald headed, kinky haired baby. I imagine as newborn, my hair was really soft. Since my mother never learned how to do hair, I always had a stylist to take care of my hair needs. Whether it was females in our church, or ladies that lived in our neighborhood, my mama made sure her babies hair was combed! I had everything from millions of small ponytails with matching balls and barrettes, to various styles with corn rows and braids as a child. Above is a picture of me at about 5-years-old, with crochets (pronounced crow-shays) in my head, done by a woman who lived across the street from my Grandparents home.
I started going to the beauty shop at 3-years-old I believe. Nothing much would get done, except a wash, a blow dry, and my ends would get clipped. I’d leave with silky ponytails after words. The first time I got addicted to the creamy crack though, was six-years-old. Yup, mama sent me to the beauty shop one day, and instructed the beautician to give me a “kiddy perm” so my hair could be straight. The thing is, I didn’t know or understand why my hair had to be straight. Didn’t have a say-so on what could be done with my hair at the time, and I probably didn’t care at the time either. So if mama wanted my hair straight, then so be it. It was done. My young scalp was based and the creamy crack was applied all over my head. I sat for 20 minutes at least for that ammonium thioglycolate to seep through.
While writing this, I looked up what a perm actually is. The definition said that it is the use of chemicals to break down and reform the bonds of the hair. I guess this perm (the first of many) was a way to reform and break down my blackness…
I always wanted long hair. And did everything I could to get it. Growing up, I was teased for the way my hair looked, even though it was permed for a long time, it just wasn’t long. It didn’t reach my shoulders, etc. My mother had long pretty hair. (though she ended up getting a short cut) I wanted my hair like hers. But when it came to hair, I didn’t get her genes. I picked up my father’s genes in the hair department. I began to hate it, thinking something had to seriously wrong with me, because I could not seem to grow long hair. At 12 years old, in 7th grade, I got my first glue in weave. I grew to become attached to weave, loving the versatility, the look, the feel, and the attention I received from it. Weave gave my real hair a break, and allowed me to try so many different styles that I couldn’t do before.
Those pictures above are from ages 16-18, a time period where I wore weave the heaviest. I stopped getting cheap weave, and had my mom buying Indian Remi, and paying over $200 for a sew-in every three months. Weave is a convenient, yet expensive habit. And although I did transition back and forth from my real hair to weave, I always felt like a crackhead lookin’ for a fix whenever I didn’t have any long hair in my head. My real hair was so thin and chemically damaged from the perms I had gotten over the last 10+ years, and I hated it. Sure it was growing underneath the weave, but not at the rate I wanted it to. Plus, I was too lazy to take care of my own hair. I thought that as long as I felt attractive, then wearing weave was no big deal. To me, weave was not a protective style, but rather a way to have an identity that was socially acceptable.. So I conformed.
My Thoughts On Natural Hair
The thing is… I NEVER had a problem with women who chose to rock natural hair. I’ve always thought it was cute, just not on me. My father has locks, and I know lots of women who beautifully rock their natural do’s. I always said I would never do it though, simply because I never thought any natural hair style would look right on me. Whenever I took my hair down from sew-ins or braids, I noticed how thick, curly, and NAPPY my hair was. The picture above is of my hair post sew-in, and although I found myself cute enough to take a picture, I said to myself “I am NEVER walking outside the house like this!”
It is very sad to me how black girls are conditioned to believe that our natural hair symbolizes something bad. That we need straight hair to be loved, accepted, and respected. Who the phuck set these beauty standards? And why did most of our black mothers abide by them? Weave is cool, and I don’t shame anyone who chooses to wear it, but aside from convenience, what is our real reason for wearing it? As Malcolm X once said in a powerful speech, ‘Who taught us to hate ourselves?”
I think most black people are afraid to admit that we live by white beauty standards, and that most of us will do any and everything to denounce our blackness. We as black people, continue to reinforce those unhealthy standards on our children by telling them things like “You need long hair to be beautiful” or “your hair is nappy” or “you don’t have good hair” or “you need weave”
The list goes on and on.
And although it’s just hair, and it should never be this serious, if you grew up like I have, then you will see that yeah, it is that serious.
At the end of 2012, I decided to get a short cut. I was tired of weave, and couldn’t afford the hair or sew-ins anymore.
My short cut was pretty cute. But because I’m so indecisive about hair, I wanted to change styles again, so I did.
In March I played with curly hair which I LOVED
Them throughout the summer of 2013, I played in weave. I really love this bob I had
Also this summer, I tried a wig for the first time, that looked great on me!
Then my many box braids and Senegalese twists styles….
To now this. All natural. 100% me.
I just took down my Senegalese/Marley twists about two days ago, and I honestly wanted to let my hair breathe. Of course, I think it’s no big deal, but people have been praising me for my latest hair choice. I have to admit, I came a pretty long way to being comfortable in my own skin. The girl who once said she would NEVER wear her natural hair out, is now proudly walking around her college campus, head held high. I’m happy. And though I may change my hair up again pretty soon, I can say that I am proud of my growth as an individual.. It takes a brave person to do what I’ve done, but then again.. it’s JUST hair! Haha.