Thursday, July 28, 2011

HAIR: The Truth

To everyone I know personally who reads this blog:
I know I seem strange and uncomfortable when you've talked to me about my blog face to face. I am, lol. It's kind of weird for me to talk about it face to face for several reasons. First, my blog is a story-like diary. Everything "personal" I write in this blog I treat like no one is going to see, that's what helps me to maintain the honest tone. So it's like someone opening my dairy and asking me about what I said on May 7th. Second, even though I write this blog, and it's public and contains all the things I'm up to, I just like being low-key. It's weird for me to talk about what I'm up to. I dunno. This is not to discourage conversation about the blog, just kind of an explanation as to why I don't always like to talk about it. I could never be an author, lol. I would never want to talk about the book.


So I've been meaning to write this post for a while, but every time I thought about it my thoughts weren't coming together with any sort of cohesion, so I tabled it. I've said this before but the first time I lie on my blog will be my last post. I have no intention of ending my blog. So obviously this is going to be a really honest one.

First of all I've always said that I never buy into "good hair" and "hair typing" and all that jazz. ..it was a lie. I did, for a while. Can I say that I bought into it so much that I wouldn't have continued in my natural journey if my hair was more coarse? I don't know. I love my hair. When I step in the shower it's wavy and it curls more as it dries. I can not complain about detangling or management. It takes very little product to get it to behave and it grows at a consistent rate that I'm pleased with. The fact that's it's wavy/curly has downsides in that it's not textured enough to hold styles like braid outs and twist outs and wavy hair was a lot more problems with frizz, but even that is handled fairly easily.

But that's not what this post is about.

I remember when I decided to go natural. I really never cared for relaxers. They never did what I thought they would, which is make my hair straight. Any time a hint of moisture would touch my hair it would get curly next to my scalp. It's like a constant state of "kitchen" everywhere. I only really got them every three months anyway. After I had initially cut my hair into a bob, a sort of testing of the waters, which had basically grown back. I decided to get about 11 inches cut off and completely go natural. To say I was nervous about the texture of my hair would be a lie. To say I was nervous about it growing back would've also been a lie. I know how the women in our family look and how their hair is. It's really pretty and it always grows easily. There was no reason to believe that I would be any different. I was almost cocky in my statements in response to the question "Will it grow back?" "Of course it will, it's just hair, it always grows back".


When I first became natural I was obsessed with the "perfect curl". I really think it's common among new naturals, and people who want the natural "look" but don't understand the spiritual connection of being natural. I'm not calling them out, I was one of them. I wanted every strand to have no frizz, twirl around and be perfectly separated. In truth, I didn't want it to look extremely ethnic or be perceived as bad or nappy hair. I couldn't even count how many jars of Uncle Funky's Daughter and Eco Styler I used to make sure that every piece of hair looked perfect. It was utterly ridiculous, and damaging because I wasn't getting the moisture I needed from those products and it was causing my hair to look dry and be damaged.

That's when I really started to think about why I was putting all that crap in my hair. It did nothing but aide to appearances and hurt my ultimate goal of having healthy long hair. Even though I outwardly said I didn't buy into all the "good hair" non-sense, look what I was doing to my hair to be questioned on my status in that.

Whether we like to believe it or not, there is several totem poles when it comes to black women. First is skin color, second is hair. I think coming into it we all have hopes about going back to our roots and loving ourselves for who we are, but it's gotten to the point where we have just stripped down our facade of all being able to achieve a standard of sameness with relaxed hair (everyone can get to straight with enough time and tcb no-lye), then it's judged by length (insert weave {further broken down by good, bad, believable, etc} to fill in the gap, now everyone can have long hair, but if there is no covering with a relaxer we can REALLY JUDGE YOU that is YOUR HAIR and we can clearly see your REAL rightful place on the totem pole now. I was scared of that. I had long hair, now would I lose my place on the totem pole because of my natural hair? So I used product on product on products.

I can't really say why I departed from this line of reasons but it might have been it growing to a length that I couldn't do it anymore. I may have had an epiphany, even though if I did, you would think it would be profound enough to remember or it may have been tumblr, and seeing all the people rock their big HAIR and look FABULOUS. I don't know? But I know I've stopped trying to achieve the ridiculous "perfect curl" and said Fuck my place on the totem pole.


Maybe it's part of something larger too. In the black community we have a tendency to place importance on things that, outside of the superficial value we put on them, don't mean ANYTHING. I'll give you two good examples to make sense of that point: 1) Skin color, on it's own, it does not help, hurt, or aide physically, emotionally, or spiritually for anyone to be mocha instead of caramel, except for the fact that we've made it socially better or worse to be those types of skin tones. 2) Greek life, again in THIS CURRENT (I'm not talking historically) collegiate climate it will not help, hurt, cause you to have no place to live, help you deal with racism, or be a place of solace on an all white campus to be in greek life, but we have placed a certain importance, and even moreso those themselves who have become members in it. Anytime you think you have ownership rights/ are willing to do harm to someone over a color, because some somebody 50 years ago put it on a piece of paper that those were to represent your organization you have SERIOUSLY lost your mind. Retrieve it.

It seems like anything we can use to separate and divide us from being unified we take it, why we do that as a people is beyond me.

Anyway, I'm team #bighairdon'tcarenow I love a little frizz and a big curly fro. It's truly natural and as I'm coming into being me I've realized that who you are must be self-defined in order to be happy. Trends change, styles go in and out, and my self-esteem can't go in and out with them. So I do what I want :)

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