Tag Archives: transition

Hairtastic

9 Jun

As a yougin’, I did not have a lot of hair. My Mom told me I used to pray every night for more hair. In the meantime, she would plait my hair and however it landed, is how I went to school. I don’t remember when my hair started to grow but I do remember my first perm – a kiddie perm. You know, the colorful box with the little girl with the slight toothy smile and long flowing hair with the ribbon on the side. Yeah, that. By that time, my hair had grown to my shoulders and I left the salon with that same bright smile like the girl on the box.

During my long hair era, my family vocalized their views about length.

“Men love long hair.”

“Never cut your hair.”

“Your hair is your crown and glory.”

Blah, blah, blah.

I soaked it up. I believed it. I would perm my hair and wrap it at night so the next morning, it would cascade against my shoulders. I had big curling irons and rollers for when I wanted to go curly or extra bobby pins if I wanted to put it up in a French Roll (remember that?). I would run for the nearest bus or train when it rained and curse the sky.  I liked when the guy I liked would play with my hair. My hair meant everything to me.

When I turned 16, I decided to cut my hair in an A-symmetrical style (like Salt n Pepa) as a surprise and declaration of early independence (or so I thought). I came home to show my Mom and when she saw it, she nearly choked me. She said she was ready to get the scissors to cut off the other half. After she gave me a tongue lashing, she sent me to the back of the house to retrieve her some ginger ale and when I went into the back room, some of my close friends were there to say Happy Birthday and instead of squealing with delight, I wailed with devastation. The next few months were difficult to say the least with my Mom rolling her eyes and the snide comments and my Dad shaking his head in disgrace, but my hair eventually grew back and I was back in my family’s good graces.

Then in 2004, I had a hairdresser in Brooklyn who was amazing and trying to get me to cut my hair. I vehemently shut her down. Folded my arms, rolled my eyes, huffed and puffed and told her to just perm the damn thing and let me go. One day, I left work on my lunch break to see her. I don’t know what came over me but when she asked me what were we doing today, I said:

“Cut it.”

She said what?

“Cut it…cut it. Cut it!”

Ok Ok!

She didn’t hesitate to start going Edward Scissorhands on me before I changed my mind. We didn’t even discuss how she was going to cut it. The end result was the ‘Halle Berry’ cut. I left the salon feeling awkward and free. I went back to work and loved the jaw dropping attention of my fellow co-workers. I secretly worried what my Mom would say but at this point, it didn’t matter. I was 29 and it was my hair. For the next few years after that, she and my relatives would ask if I was going to grow it back or if I missed it. I didn’t. It was my choice and with each head turn I received, I loved it. It just meant I had to perm or cut it more frequently to keep the back looking ‘laid’. This go round, I didn’t let people play with my hair. Do you know how much it cost to maintain? Chile, please! You better admire from afar!

In 2011, I started another transition. Going natural. I was curious about the texture of my natural hair and started the transition of leaving the creamy crack. The withdrawal was tough at first but eventually got easier. I noticed how often I looked at myself in the mirror. I also noticed how often I play with my hair. All the time. No really. I am always touching or twisting it. It still amazes me the different textures on this small head of mine, and how it is a combination of both of my parents. I love it. I love me and I’m not turning back.

As I’m still on this hairventure, I’ve noticed that I’ve attracted a different caliber of men as well. Before, I received looks and compliments from my brothers, but now, I am getting looks and compliments from across the board AND I LIKE IT! I admit, it confuses me sometimes as I want to ask them ‘is it the hair?’ but I know it is deeper than that. It’s the confidence and the love that I have for myself as I still discover…well…me!

hairvolution

 To all my natural sisters out there, what other changes do you see about yourself?

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