Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Is It Really Just Hair?

Mommy, will I have straight hair like you when I grow up? That is the question that Little Mama asked me one day as she watch me brush my hair. What was I suppose to tell her?
I started off by explaining to her that my hair is only straight because of a relaxer and of course she wanted to know what a relaxer was and when she would be able to get a relaxer put in her hair? I never really thought about ever putting a relaxer in my girls hair. I wanted them to never want something like that. I wanted them to love their hair the way it was, natural and curly. But that was not what my girls wanted. They wanted hair that was long and straight and easy to comb just like their mama.

That was last May 2010. After hearing Little Mama's thoughts on what beautiful hair was, I felt very conflicted and started to really think about why I continued to get my hair relaxed and what my true feelings were about beauty. Being the research junkie that I am I started looking for information on natural hair and how to grow and take care of it. I wanted to know if it was really possible to have long, healthy natural hair. I read books like this . I watched Chris Rock's Movie Good Hair and went on web sites like , , and . I searched You Tube and learned as much as

I could about growing, styling and caring for our type of kinky, curly and coily hair.
By July 2010 I was ready for the challenge. I didn't want to cut all my hair off and start from scratch so I decided to transition slowly instead. That means, that I will be growing my hair out and trimming off the relaxed ends little by little as my natural hair begins to grow. This process will probably take any where between 1- 3 years. So far I'm loving it. I haven't had my hair relaxed since May 2010. It's been 6 months.
My girls are so excited and happy for me. We all have learned a lot this past 6 months and we are all learning to love our hair and appreciate it's beauty. I can't believe that it's taken me almost 20 years to do this.

Well that's all for now, until later bye.


Mike and Katie said...

Thanks for sharing! I watched "Good Hair" about a month ago. I was really oblivious about relaxer and it's prevalent use. I guess I've always been a bit perplexed by black women with smooth straight hair. Now I understand what it takes to get it that way.

Right now I'm struggling with wanting my girls to love their hair but to also be modest about it. Amanda already expects people to comment on her hair at church on Sundays and people usually do. However, if it's just in a simple pony or twist they are less likely and she fishes for the compliments.

At some point the compliments about her hair may bother her because they remind her of how different she is.

Difficult waters to navigate that's for sure.

Erin J said...

I've been going through a hair-thing too. My sister has beautiful red hair and for years I have dyed my hair to be the same color. People don't even realize I dye it! But I have begun to worry about subjecting my body to chemicals and not appreciating the color God gave me. So I am transitioning back to natural too. And letting it grow out like you too.

I really appreciate your hair tips because my soon-to-be-adopted daughter will need hair care and I want her to love and appreciate her hair like you want your girls to. Right now in an orphanage they shave their heads for lice, but when she comes she'll get to let it grow and I have a feeling it will be important to her. I can't wait to try products on it and braid it! My other daughter, who is white, has really long curly hair that is almost impossible to brush. It takes 20 minutes and a LOT of de-tangler to get it brushed out.

I think your point about loving how God created us showing in what we do with our hair is a really good one. I'm going to miss the red, but I'm glad I'm going natural too. :)

mama said...

Katie, you are very right about those being difficult waters to navigate. If I was you I wouldn't worry too much about Amanda's desire to get compliments all the time. She is 3 and at that age they are just looking for something that makes them stand out and get notice. Sometimes it's showing off how smart they are or the new shoes they got. She will slowly grow out of that stage, just don't focus on it.

Erin, congrats on you transition to natural hair. I can't wait to meet sister. I pray that that will happen real soon. I will be more than happy to be of help in any way I can.