Monday, December 29, 2008

Growing Pains (Hair, Part I)*

The following was originally posted on Oct. 13, 2008. It is being re-posted as part of our CHICKS ROCK! Holiday series.

My hair has long been the bane of my existence. There’s a love-hate thing going on between us that originated around the time when my mother decided I was old enough to manage it myself.

At home, I liked my hair. I thought it was pretty. In a few moments of wild self-confidence, I even thought I was pretty because of it. At school, though, I was mercilessly teased over my hairstyles. This was suburban Indiana – no one had a ‘fro. Except me. I didn’t know how to deal with my hair, so I wore it in awkward braids or in a big puffy ponytail. I let it grow because I believed that the longer it got, the heavier it would be and the flatter it would lie…but denial ain’t just a river in Egypt.

As a teen, I spent laborious hours “managing” my hair. I slathered on gel. I sprayed and spritzed, tousled and tucked. I didn’t want my look to be so different. But the meager understanding of hair care and products I’d gained up until that point was based on what white women do. My mom is white, with hair that does what it’s told. At the time, the majority of my friends were white. All the black girls I knew had their hair chemically straightened—that was what you were supposed to do—so they weren’t much help to me, either. My mom consistently refused to let me try straightening. (If I’d known the word “sadist” back then, I’d have screamed it at her.)

The funny thing is, I’ve never actually wished for other hair. I don’t want it to be straight, or blond or conducive to highlights, layers or bangs. I like my hair as it is, I just often wish that I could train it to always look its best. But it doesn’t want to be tamed, simplified or made ordinary. It wants to stand out. I’ve always known that if I can draw that quality out of my hair and into myself, I will be a better woman for it.

What are your hair stories?

No comments:

Disclaimer: Blog entries express the opinions of the respective Bloggers/Contributors/Authors/Commenters solely, and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Women's Mosaic. As host and manager of CHICKS ROCK!, TWM acts solely as a provider of access to the internet and not as publisher of the content contained in bloggers' posts and cannot confirm the accuracy or reliability of individual entries. Each participant is solely responsible for the information, analysis and/or recommendations contained in her blog posts.
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.