My hair is gorgeous. It falls just right upon my shoulders immediately after a blow-dry. My hair compliments me–it glistens in the sunlight as well as in indoor florescent lighting. When the wind blows, it flows into an “S” shape, a wave that’s undeniably, unmistakably pretty. It’s that hair that swishes when the top’s down on your car. It’s the hair that when let down, it flows downward in Farrah Faucet-y beautifulness. When showering, there’s no need for a cap. Caps are for the birds. MY hair converts into delectable ramen-noodle curls, just as soft wet as it is when it’s dry.
But wouldn’t you know. My hair doesn’t do ANY of these things without the help of some really serious, scalp-scalding, life-altering chemicals. And yes, I buy them regularly at my local CVS. It’s sad but true. If I don’t put in the time to burn the shit out of my hair and scalp every six months or so, it turns into an untouchable, un-comb-able mess. For over 26 years, I haven’t let my real hair make an appearance for more than a few days. Many people, myself included, have been tricked into thinking that nappy roots are for some reason, less than pretty. If a man can’t easily run his fingers through it, we are somehow, less than worthy of his love and even his attraction toward us. It’s the good hair verses the bad hair. It’s not having to deal with a ‘kitchen’ (the back of the head where nappy roots get EXTRA course, and many times, hard to manage).
Hence, the plight of many African-America and Latina women—trying so desperately hard to love our natural, nappy selves while the media, friends, family, and even total strangers have already written the rules as to what beautiful should look like…what it should feel like when a comb runs through it. But after 26 years of being at the mercy of chemicals, I’ve made the decision to go natural; transition as they say.
It’s my desire and my obligation to teach my daughter that it’s OK to love herself exactly the way nature created her. I want to teach her that she is beautiful without having to physically, and chemically alter her appearance. To teach her this is to set an example first. There are a few hair products that are helping me along. Here are a to keep in the back of your mind if you’re thinking about transitioning too:
As it stands, I refuse to do the big chop (cutting my longish-chemically relaxed hair, while only leaving the nappy roots intact). Call it fear. Call it shame, but to a certain degree, I’ve fallen in love with my straight, whispery, shiny, easy-to-comb, easy-to-manage mop. I like the way it moves. I like the way when I can sling my head back when I giggle like my Caucasian and Asian counterparts, the hair just playfully dances down my back. I’ve love my chemically-altered hair, there’s no denying it.
But I’m slowly learning to love my nappy roots. Every day, I look in the mirror, looking at the tightly coiled strands that are emerging. I’m touching my roots, remarking that they’re rough, taking my wide-toothed comb to try to muddle through it. I’m noticing that there are different textures of hair growing on different parts of my head. I’ve read on the Web that this is totally normal. Who knew?
I’m slowly learning to love my nappy roots. But I refuse to do the big chop. Kudos to the brave ladies out there who embraced their hair, embraced their selves with all abandon. I’m learning to love the new me. Slowly…but surely.