Almost every tween, teen and woman I know has at some point or the other, complained about her hair. Too curly, too straight, too limp, too bushy, too dry, too oily, too long, too short – it’s rare that you will find a female who is in love with her crowning glory. I too have issues with my crown, it definitely is not glorious. And in order for me to “glorify” it, I have to go to great and arduous lengths, which includes blow drying it crispy, then smouldering it with my GHD. And it is here, that my story begins..
After “washing-and-going” for the last couple of weeks, I decided to undergo the extreme torture of beating my hair into submission with a blow and iron – as kinky as that sounds, it is not. Believe me. Please understand that my hair is curly and frizzy in a Diana Ross kind of way and in its natural state, I look like part of the Jackson 5. So for me to have it straight, takes a certain amount of elbow grease. It is not a quick procedure and because I have always had the spoilt pleasure of an older sister or my mother tackling my mane, I am not really good at it, so this doubles the amount of time I spend trying to make it less… less.. big.
Last week Thursday, after my husband complaining that my fuzz ball was not my most fetching look, I went to war with my hair. I washed and conditioned, I applied that heat silicone stuff that one uses to prevent your hair from falling out from the sheer
FIRE heat that a flat iron produces. And then I started the blow drying process. This is probably the only work out my arms get because I spend about half an hour with my arms in the air, manhandling my mane, usually with sweat dripping down my face and into my bosom. Usually the children run away at the sound of the hair dryer so at least my humiliation is private. Anyway, back to Thursday night. I had blow dried my hair and moved onto the next step which is ironing. My GHD sparked into life and I got to work. I had one bushy piece to go and most importantly, my FRINGE, when I realised that the LED light was no longer flashing. Sigh. I checked the plug, I switched it on and off and blew on it – you know how one always blows onto something when it doesn’t seem to work. It was dead. It was at this point that I felt a mild dash of panic coursing through my veins – what the heck would I do with my fringe? There was no way I was going to wet my hair again, not when I was so close to the finish line. However, there was no way I could leave my fringe au natural… it would be more like a fan, than a fringe. I attempted to blow dry it properly, singeing my forehead, flexing my arm muscles and really tugging on my fringe. It looked semi decent but still didn’t have that shiny GHD finish. Oh well. I went to bed in almost-tears, as my husband went on and on about how he couldn’t understand why hair was such an issue for women. I had to bite my tongue not to bark back at him, that perhaps it’s because he doesn’t HAVE any hair that he doesn’t know how I feel, but I just turned over and cried into my pillow. Anyway, to cut a long story short, I salvaged my hair at work early the next morning – the perks of working for a beauty company. My iron will soon be in for repairs and life will return to normal.
This whole debacle got me thinking about my hair, and more so, Hannah’s hair. I so don’t want her growing up with a complex about her hair. She has this beautiful thick mop of hair. It’s so new and fresh and untainted. She can wear it like an afro or she can wear it in long pig tail curls, and if we really want to tame it, I put the blow dryer through it on moderate heat and then she has the softest bounciest curls. I do not want to ever straighten it chemically or even with a flat iron, because I don’t think we need to give ourselves this added pressure of trying to conform to a look that we were not naturally meant to carry! I guess I just want her to know that she is beautiful just the way she is, that she was created in God’s own image and that she must embrace her crowning glory, rather than try to “fix” it, like she sees her crazy mother trying to do! It’s OK to straighten or colour or perm your hair because you want a change or a new look, but when you have to go to war with your hair every week (like I do) just because you think you look prettier or more “normal” with it straight, is a crazy notion and I really do not want to pass this craziness onto my daughter. So I spoke to someone last week, a curly haired girl who has really embraced her curls. I have to mention that she is White, and here I thought this was a Coloured girl problem! She told me how having curly hair had affected her self confidence and her self esteem, how she tried so many things to straighten her hair because she wanted to fit in with the rest of her more Aryan counter parts. How she hated her hair as a teenager, firstly because she had no idea how to handle it or what products to use, and secondly because it set her apart and of course when you are a teenager, the last thing you want to do is stand out when you would just prefer to blend in! Now she uses the correct products that give her hair the care and nourishment that it needs, her curls are beautiful, her curls are just so HER. They suit her personality and I do believe that’s because she is comfortable in her own skin. Although hair care can be pricey, I’d much rather fork out a bit more on Hannah (and my own) hair and wear it as natural as possible, than spend many frustrated hours trying to turn it, into something it isn’t! Don’t get me wrong, I am not against straightening, colouring, perm-ing or doing whatever you do in order to create a new look for yourself, but that’s just it – do it for a new look, not to try and replace the look which is YOU!
So I’ve got a long list of hair care products from Elisha (thank the Lord I get a discounted rate on most of these products at work) and I am going to start using them on our hair. She has schooled me on different product ranges, what to use and when to use it. And although the products are expensive, used correctly they should last a while. And for goodness sake, this Coloured thing of conditioner and gel on wet hair to create a frizz ball (yes, you Coloured girls all know what I am talking about!) is NOT healthy or advisable for our hair!! I’m going to try and work with what my mama gave me, and give my arm muscles a rest. Can’t wait for my bag of hair tricks to arrive next month! And for my GHD to arrive from repairs, because of course I still need to do something with my
fan fringe until it grows out!
India Arie sang:
When I look in the mirror and the only one there is me
Every freckle on my face is where it’s supposed to be
And I know my creator didn’t make no mistakes on me
My feet, my thighs, my lips, my eyes I’m loving what I see
(and I do believe she meant “my HAIR” in that last line too!!)