FFF-I Am Not My Hair

I am not my hair. Or am I? I (just about) contemplate this question on a daily basis. I was blessed with a head FULL of thick, coily (which I just found out about) hair. As most African American girls, my hair has been relaxed since about the age of 12 every 5-6 weeks. It made my hair manageable and “bone straight”. Women are self-conscious for the most part and nice looking hair determines which way your hips shift when you walk. I loved the feel and look of my hair when I walked out of the salon. I didn’t like the wait in the salon, the burning sensation on my scalp that lasted for days, the smell of the chemicals (they made me nauseated), or the comments I received in the chair. The comments should have been non-threatening, but they were the complete opposite. “Dee Dee, look at this head.” “Oh my goodness. Girl, this is A LOT of hair.” “How do you handle this on your own?” My response was usually a giggle or a smile. This is the one area where I am weak. If you talk about my hair-I fold. And those that know me best, know that I have a comeback for EVERYTHING!

Two years ago, I decided to do something about my insecurities. I stopped getting relaxers. I wanted to experience my own hair without chemically altering its true form. It was a disaster. I was so misinformed. I was not ready for the challenge and the time it takes to maintain my healthy mane and my insecurities were now totally exposed. It was too much for me. I failed miserably. Two weeks before Christmas, I treated myself to a relaxer. And I felt good. I walked out of the salon with my head held high and my scalp burning like wildfire. But, I didn’t care. I looked and felt good (or so I thought). About a year ago, I went to the salon and heard the comments all over again. I went home and faced my mane in the mirror and decided enough is enough and I AM NOT MY HAIR. I researched, consulted with a couple of dear friends, and did not look back.

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This was my hair before styling. I can’t believe I even have the confidence to share this pic with the world.

About two weeks ago, I went to the salon for a much needed trim and decided to have my hair straightened (without chemicals). The comments I received this time almost had me in tears. “Your hair is beautiful.” “Your hair is so thick and healthy. It doesn’t even look real.” “Your hair looks like a wig. It is amazing.” It was years of self-doubt being released. It was all those negative comments from friends and family finally melting away. As I walked out of the salon, I couldn’t contain myself. I had to text/call my mom, sister, and dear friend (my self-appointed hair consultant) because this was more than a hair moment for me. This was validation that my hair journey was well worth it.

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This is my after styling pic. Not the greatest, but at the time, I didn’t even know I was going to turn this into a blog post. I would have put on a smidge of makeup at the very least.

LESSON LEARNED:

Needless to say, this road has NOT been an easy one, but I have never been more confident in who I am. I have always known that God made everyone in his likeness. But, it never made sense until now. Growing up with a bestie that has a head full of beautiful hair and a childhood friend that ALWAYS has a comment about my hair made it hard for me. Some people are self-conscious because of their weight or facial acne, for me it is my hair. Now that Ladybug is growing into her own, and is very aware of her hair I want her to be confident in who she is. (Although, with all her sassiness, I think she may be just fine on her own.) I don’t want to pass my issues on to her. She does not deserve that. I even named my mane Mesha (don’t judge me) and I can finally say, “My hair is thick. My hair is coily. My hair is big. My hair is mine. God gave it to me for a reason. And I love it.” Enough said.

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15 responses

  1. Great story!! I haven’t had a relaxer since October 2011 and it has been quite a journey but YouTube has been my savior without their tutorials of teaching me how to wash and style my hair I would be lost have no help out here on the other side of the world 🙂

    1. Thanks so much! And yes-You Tube is my GOOD friend!

  2. Awesome post DeDe!!!! I’m so glad that you decided to share your experience.

    1. Thanks, I decided to go bare bottom in this one!

  3. You are beautiful, my friend! ❤

    1. Thanks, Girlfriend!

  4. I for one think you need no makeup…you’re just as cute as the day I met you! We all have had some sort of image issue and I applaud you for sharing yours. It took real guts to open yourself up & be vulnerable. Transparency transforms lives and clearly this has helped you heal from wounds that others probably didn’t even know they inflicted.

    1. Thanks. You know better than anyone that it was not easy to hit publish after writing that post.

  5. Awesome

  6. You are so cute!! I love your hair 🙂

    1. Thanks so much!!! You are too sweet!

  7. God is always about the inter-person, conforming us to his image of love, compassion, and forgiveness. He has allowed us to make great strives in areas of hair care including Relaxers, We are blessed to have both choices….. Sooooo Relax it, or go Natural it’s all beautiful to HIM!!!!!!!!

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