We’ve been together for at least six years and she helped my hair stay relatively healthy and strong while it was relaxed. When I decided to go natural, she encouraged me and would enthusiastically talk about my hair whenever I was in the shop.
A vast difference from previous hairdressers – I’ll have to talk about that another time.
She’s young, creative and smart. So imagine my shock when she told my sister she didn’t have hair that could be worn naturally. (Granted, no part of my sister was interested in NOT relaxing her hair. If my sister ever decided that she didn’t want to relax her hair anymore, I would believe the end of the world was nigh and I would start praying with fierceness.)
That was all the confirmation my sister needed to call me and say, “My hair can’t go natural like yours. Our textures are different. My hair would be too difficult to deal with—”
That’s when I said: “That’s a lie from the pits of hell.”
Up to five years ago, I thought my hair was too unmanageable (read: hard) to ever be worn in its natural state. Only people who were biracial or had an Indian or Chinese grandparent could live without the relaxers. People like me, who are mixed with Black and Blacker, were out of luck. I would be beholden to perm forever.
Obviously, that isn’t true.
But I thought that way until I decided that I liked how my new growth felt and didn’t like how my ends were breaking off if I looked at them too hard. I thought that way until I found natural haired women online who had hair like mine that looked thick, healthy, manageable and awesome.
I know my hairdresser means no harm. She’s telling us what she’s always heard: kinky Black hair is difficult and you’ll have trouble with it if you don’t control it with some kind of relaxer.
I now know that isn’t true. I’ve gotten more compliment on my kinks and coils that I did with my ‘manageable’ hair that was breaking off in the sink and washing down the drain. My hair has never been as long (stretched, of course) as it is today (one year and six months after cutting off all my relaxed hair) or as healthy (I fret about fairy knots, but those are nothing compared to my hair woes before).
I guess I’m just tired of the excuses that people use to make us think that something is wrong with our hair as it grows out of our heads. If you want to relax your hair, go ahead, but don’t accept that you must put chemicals in your hair – especially those of you with real kinks.
There is an obsession – an unhealthy obsession for some – that natural good hair equals curly hair, not kinky hair. They are talking about hair that loops and curls gently, yet falls down on your shoulders and cascades down your back. The closer you get to that kind of hair, the better your hair is. If your hair is thick, coarse and kinky, don’t even consider natural hair. Your hair’s not good enough.
God made all the flowers different, but they are all beautiful – why can’t we think the same way about ourselves?