12 Sep


I carried on perming my hair continuously for the next seven years at least. It was convenient, despite breakage, and it then became, the only image of myself I accepted and wanted to see. I couldn’t stand regrowth, frizzy edges and couldn’t wait for the next touch-ups!My hair was suffering, breakage, dryness (I was clueless on how to maintain it) – but more importantly I was suffering! I couldn’t stand the natural mane I was given at birth… You see, to be completely honest, perming was not a choice I made for ease of hair manipulation, but purely out of an aesthetic and adequate quest. And please, don’t tell me I was just the vulnerable victim of a ‘fashion trend’… Trends, come and go. Relaxing, has been the main, steady, continuous styling tool for Black women for centuries ! That is no Trend !! But a societal phenomenon..

I would very often wonder “Why God did give me this ugly head of hair?”

I would pray every night (Lupita, your empowering speech did bring me back years ago… We were sisters in the inadequate feeling.. 🙁 ) and was hoping to wake up the next morning with loose curls! I couldn’t get use to my hair texture; I didn’t like it!… On the contrary!

But, neither did my family! Before I perm my hair, I would very often hear comments such as “Your hair is so coarse! Oh God!” or, “You have got the kinkiest head of hair of the family, that is really not lucky!”… And, no need to even bring up the painful memories of dry combing, that most Black women would remember… That really didn’t help to make one feel blessed with a set of hair…

My hair was my shame!

But despite my lack of love for my hair, despite my lack of understanding for its needs and mechanics and being clueless on the best grooming practices, I was eaten inside by a paradox! I didn’t want to “HAVE” to perm to feel good about myself! I wanted to be able to look in mirror and love what I was seeing (without a relaxer)! I wanted to learn to love my natural coils!

Then it hits me, I didn’t have to live like my hair was a divine punishment!

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