“Does the way I wear my hair make me a better person?…Does the way I wear my hair make me a better friend? Does the way I wear my hair determine my integrity?…I am expressing my creativity…I am NOT my hair…I am a soul that lives within.” ~India Arie, I Am Not My Hair
First off let me say…LADIES…You Are BEAUTIFUL! Weaves, Perms, Wigs, Natural, Texturizer, Press & Curl…it does not MATTER. You. Are. BEAUTIFUL.
Let me tell you a little (or a lot…lol) about my hair journey.
Yep, that’s Little Ash lol. I was rockin’ my own curly hair in different ponytails until I was 8-years-old. Afterwards, I start putting my hair in a bun almost everyday…you know which “bun” I’m talking about..the one made out of a sock! Lol. Well I wore that until my bun got smaller…and smaller. My hair broke off a LOT because of the tension from my bun.
When I was about 10-years-old one of my good friend’s had long hair. I was told that she had a perm and if I wanted to grow my hair back that that would be the solution; so I got a perm. My mom did it for me. I remember being told not to scratch my scalp days prior to the chemical treatment, don’t brush, don’t comb, no water on my hair, no pool, getting Vaseline rubbed all over my edges all for a…perm. Sigh. After the perm was applied I would yell “my scalp is tingling”…that was supposed to mean the perm was “working” and I would get a rinse shortly after. I would repeat this process almost every six weeks for about 6 years. I didn’t notice hair growth…just brittle, dry, straight hair.
Every summer I got individual braids. I think I was 16-years-old when I came out of my braids that summer and told my hair stylist to just press and curl my hair. I didn’t “Big Chop”…I simply transitioned from perms to “natural hair” (chemical free)…I just knew my hair could get straight from a press and curl so why not just do that instead of going through the don’t comb-don’t brush-no water-apply Vaseline process!??? Most people get perms in order to manage their hair. I was going to a stylist every once and awhile since I was 13 so I felt like she could “manage” my hair.
So from 2002-2007 I had flowy, healthy hair. In Spring 2008 I was bored with my hair. You know how we get women…start trying new things! Well I started getting into hair CUTS. Yep…My hair was growing and I was ready to cut it. I started with a bob at my shoulders in ’08, bob to my chin in summer of ’09 and bangs with a bob in fall of ’09. I loved the cuts.
But then in 2010 I wanted something different again lol. Now anyone who knows me know that I’m a HUGE FAN of the 70s! The music, fashion, hair…I LOVE it! I’ve always been fascinated with big afros/big curly hair. November ’10 I stopped my bi-weekly visit to the hair salon. *GASP*…I tried my first natural style and fell in love with the results.
I wasn’t even nervous about wearing my afro outdoors. I left the house with my head held high and confidence even higher. Guys are the funniest…. “You look exotic”…”What’s up Queen?” (I thought I was a Queen before the natural though lol *shruggs)…”I LOVE your hair” (I don’t remember MEN saying that with my straight hair lol)…The lady who does my eyebrows always plays in my hair (smh lol) and once said, “I love your hair! Fits your face..I don’t know why girls only wear straight.” Neither do I.
I was just going for something curly and different! But in the process of styling my hair I became into natural hair care, youtube videos, hair regimens, ingredients…I went hard! lol. Let me tell you Black women, WATER is actually GOOD FOR OUR HAIR! Quit running!!!! lol Stop being afraid of the pool, ocean and shower! I apply water to my hair everyday for moisture. Try it 😉 My hair is SO much softer since I’ve been taking care of it. Since November 2010 I’ve straightend my hair only 3 times, just to get a length check and trim.
Sometimes things can go too far though. I’m not down with the whole natural vs. perm movement. Note to some naturals, just because a woman is wearing her hair straight doesn’t mean her hair is relaxed. (As you can see from my story). I can’t stand the terms “pretty hair”..”bad hair”…”good hair” etc. We’ve all been conditioned to think straight or loose curly hair is “good hair.” We’ve been brainwashed. Nothing is “BETTER.” But, I would choose healthy hair ANY day. And I think my hair has been the healthiest since wearing my natural styles. I don’t knock women who don’t rock natural hair. I definitely educate, not discriminate.
There was a recent episode of Reed Between the Lines where Traci Ellis Ross explained to her daughter that her natural hair was beautiful and to not change her look to please a guy or conform to society. I loved the message. Women, we are NOT our hair. Your worth is not determined by how your hair flows. Afterall, it’s about what’s IN YOUR HEAD, not ON YOUR HEAD. 😉
*~*Embrace what makes you unique~Janelle Monae*~*
Peep the video above for my hair journey. Feel free to leave any questions or comments.
This is awesome and the page looks great.
Yeah you really worked on this one. I am still laughing at those childhood pics:-D
Thank you girl for the line “water is actually good for our hair.” The thought that it’s not is a terrible and extremely damaging misconception. I remember when I was going through the process of learning it’s healthy to wet my hair everyday. I would be on the phone with one of my hair buddies asking her “are you sure this is ok!?!” I thought wetting it consistently would break my hair off or something. Now, like you said, my hair is softer and healthier than it’s ever been. There are SO many hair myths to debunk in the African-American community, I’m just glad it’s happening slowly but surely. Keep it up girl, be the Queen you are!
p.s. I need to check out Reed Between The Lines, haven’t seen an episode yet but sounds like they’re on the right track!
[…] wrote about my hair journey before, and like I said then, “I am not my hair.” Yet, it’s always an experience […]
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