Me and my hair… I have curly hair. For those who follow such things, I guess it can be categorized as 3C/4A.
I remember being about 13-14 years old and begging, BEGGING my mom to have my hair relaxed. I wanted to swing it and fling it! I would spend hours and hours blow drying it, frying it, dyeing it and straightening it, ironing it and rolling it.
In my late 20’s, after years of abusing my hair, I decided that I had just had enough of the following:
The damage and the cost and endless hours holed up in a crowed hair salon;
The weekly visits to the Dominicans-- Himamiwhyyougonnadotoday?
The ever present,“Mamiyouneedatrim”! (Then sit open mouthed and paralyzed with shock as they proceeded to hack half my shit off!);
The watching with fascination and horror at the smoke coming from the top of my head while being blow dried;
The cringing at the burning sensation from the relaxer and finally;
The holding of my breath at the toxic/rotten egg smell.
I was ready to stop cursing the rain and the damn humidity of summer...debating on whether or not I was going to go swimming... waking up at the crack of dawn on a Sunday to be first on the line... the cursing at myself for forgetting the wrap pins and having to pay 3 dollars for 20 pins when I had about 200 at home. Having to wrap my hair every night wasn’t the most fun either. Finally I would love my hair and learn to love, accept and express myself.
I was ready, to go natural! I knew what I was up against. I knew my mother would not understand. This was the same woman who told me, after I complained about inheriting her prematurely grey hair that I had to continue to color my hair. Because “you aren’t even married yet” Letting me know right away that if I let my gray hair come in that I would be destined to life of an old maid. My family did not take my decision to go natural very well. My grandmother very clearly asked me, why I had stopped combing it? My mother was certain that I would never meet a man with “that head of hair’.
But I persevered! It took a while. And the road has not been an easy one. The growing out process is not pretty.
I even turned to a support group type of website for curly haired folks. Me: Hello my name is April and I have curly hair. Support Group: hi April. Welcome! And it turned out that I was NOT ready for what I got. Who knew that there would be all these options:
To “Poo” or to “No Poo”?
To trim every 6 to 8 weeks or trim every 6 to 8 months?
To never ever blow out again?
To live life curly forever?
So no, I was not ready for what I got. I thought I would be able to bounce out of bed… hello? I’m natural why not? Yeah nobody told me. Let me tell you what I got... I got hair that has a mind of its own... I got hair that is never ever the same two days in a row...
And to be honest I still curse the damn humidity. If I don’t have just the right amount of product in my hair, my hair is fuzzy and frizzy. That's not sexy... Under all this hair--- is a sexy girl... I'm telling you...
I was not ready for so many things. I wasn’t ready to explain to The Dominicans that I don't use shampoo anymore... having to explain to the curly hair freaks that sometimes I LIKE straight hair... having to explain to my grandmother that my hair IS combed... Telling random people who don't know me who insist on touching my hair that NO they can't touch my hair... It happens way more that you think!!! And the reason you can’t touch my hair, you freak, is because I don’t know you. Hello? Realizing that no matter what... I will leave the house with a semi wet head... everyday--- even in the winter... that my hat days a pretty much over...
However, I accepted it and was fine. Until...
I let some boot-leg-run-of-the-mill-local-yokul ‘beauty parlor” color my hair. The process proved to be much too harsh and it just relaxed my hair. I mean my hair was about as straight as you can get.
That was in September 2008. After letting it grow out a little, I finally did a big chop on June 25, 2009. Best thing I ever did! The Hair journey starts once again...