Yesterday’s post was important to me because I wanted to share a link to a wonderful documentary by Brittney Henton: http://www.vimeo.com/18636227. I also wanted to touch on the importance of how we teach our children about their ethnic hair.
Now, I want to return to my hair journey and talk about my personal experiences when I got my hair relaxed. As a young girl, my hair was described in many ways: nappy, puffy, bad, kinky, rough, tight, disobedient, tough and on and on. So, there was a dual sigh of relief when I got my first relaxer, one from my Mom and one from me. I think my Mom was relieved because she no longer had to deal with me fussing (well, trying to fuss…my Mom just didn’t play that) and crying during the weekly hair care process. Plus, she may have felt that it would be easier to maintain my hair in less time (e.g., put it in a cute ponytail and be done in two minutes).
I was just happy to have hair that was bouncing and behaving. It was nice to look in the mirror and see a pretty head of thick hair shining back at me. I loved to shake my head from side to side and watch the hair fly back and forth. I loved the way that my hair bounced up and down when I jumped rope. I loved the way that it felt when I rubbed my hand from the crown of my head to the ends of my hair, smooth like silk. I loved the way that one ponytail holder could contain all of my hair, so that it looked neat and glossy. An attempt at that when my hair was in its natural state would inevitably lead to a snapped ponytail holder and/or a puffy, messy looking little ball. Even worse was when I struggled and finally got one decent puff. Then, as the day went on and I sweated, I’d realize that the band was slowly losing its grip and my puff was getting smaller and smaller so that more of my hair was outside of the holder than in it. In other words, I looked like I had an afro with a little rubber band bean on the top. I loved that my Mother could wash, condition, blow dry and style my hair in less time than it used to take just to wash it and comb it out. Yes, I thought I had reached Nirvana. Little did I know about a new archenemy: new growth.