What kind of hair do you have? Luckily, I’ve been blessed with “good hair”. Growing up, my mom’s friends treated me like a doll, ooo’ing and ahhh’ing over the way I could get instant ringlets by simply wrapping my hair around a finger and then pulling the finger away. I was treated like, somehow, the fact that I had long smooth hair made my hair (and by extension me) better than the girls with afro-type curls.
You have good hair they said
Even as a child this made me uncomfortable but that was the norm so I accepted it. My mom tried to instill a sense of pride in natural beauty, but it was (and still is) so ingrained in society that to be beautiful was to aspire to look “white” that I grew up with this subconscious bias.
I still wanted straight hair
The grass is always greener they say, and despite people telling me I had nice hair I still wanted straight hair. Straight hair seemed easier to maintain and you can just run a brush though it. That idea amazed me as I sat wincing in pain when my mom tried to comb my hair.
On my own/ My routine
At an early age I quickly learned to wash and comb my own hair. The water runs through my hair, weighing it down and helping the tangles flow down to the tips. I shampoo to remove dirt and residue and use a wide tooth comb to work out big knots from the bottom up. Then I shampoo again with a different shampoo for no reason and use a fine tooth comb for tiny knots. With each shampoo I massage the scalp because I’m paranoid of my hair thinning and it feels good. Then I shampoo again for good measure and brush my hair to get rid of any tiny fluff or stuff that might still be hiding. Finally, I condition, towel dry, use scalp oil and do a braid. It takes an hour but I only wash my hair once a week because I don’t want to lose my natural oils...and mostly because I can get away with it.
People love to touch my hair
I can go full-mermaid and I get compliments at the bus stop and especially by trash-collectors for some reason, lol. Stylists have marvelled at my hair and even hand washed it like an old washerwoman to make that squeaky squeak sound. Sometimes people ask to touch my hair and sometimes they are directly all up in it...especially at festivals. I don’t mind. Grown-ups are no different than kids so I take it as a learning experience for them. When I was little, one kid used to sniff my hair everyday so anything less than that, I can handle. And of course, I’m sure you ladies have gotten the classic question at least once in your life, “Is that real?” I’m not insulted, I just say, “Yes it’s real horse hair” and laugh, leaving them just a little confused. Mwhahaha.
Owning my hair
After many attempts at having my hair straightened and styled, I decided that I am way too lazy to be spending time and money on just my hair. $150! Good heavens! That could be dinner at a Michelin restaurant or a weekend road trip or relaxing spa day. I learned to put that hair in a bun and go make some memories.
Even with all the compliments it took me decades to finally accept my hair. Now I’m good to it and it is good to me. But what is it like for those who never were told how beautiful they are? I look around and I love, Love, LOVE the different head tops I see; natural hair, colored hair, braids, cornrows, curls, waves, sleek, messy or whatever. Care for it and love it because the perfect hair is your hair.
I’ll leave you with the song that always makes me feel great!