When I was in sixth grade we had a little lesson one afternoon on CPR, taught by some outside organization. All of us kids were seated in a semicircle on the ground watching and answering questions. I was a pretty shy kid but I raised my hand and answered a question. I only remember this event and that I answered correctly because a little bit later the instructor referenced back to my answer saying something along the lines of "He got it right!"
And since then I have not had short hair.
My hair has been a struggle for me as long as I can remember really caring about what it looked like. I am aware that on the long list of struggles people face, hair is among the least important, just above breaking a nail and which of the many flavors ice cream to choose when you've made it to the front of the line, but apparently hair is an especially big deal in the African American culture (a culture that as a half black lady and anthropology student I should probably understand more). I didn't grow up with much guidance in the ways of black hair (my own fault for not seeking it), so I would just straighten it. Straightening (or relaxing) involves a horrible white goop being spread all over your hair, to chemically straighten the new curly hair. And it burns, oh it burns. Your scalp feels as if it is on fire. You know it is ready to wash out right before the burning becomes completely unbearable. And then when it is being rinsed out and you think you will get relief, the water feels like a million little needles being poked into your head. I am not exaggerating. It is all a legal form a torture, I am sure. But I have been doing it for years. A single treatment usually costs about $90, though you can buy do-it-yourself kits for under $10; they do the trick, you just don't get quite same quality result.
My straightening habits have also been reinforced by the fact that the only time anyone would say anything (positive) about my hair was right after it had been straightened (they also always think I just got it cut; a trim does not completely change the texture, volume, shine, and type of hair you have). People also suggest I style my hair like my sister, but for the last time, people, we don't have the same hair; it doesn't work that way. My curls are tighter and smaller, with a very dry, frizzy texture. I also dislike when people ask why I don't wear it down, or suggest that I should. Because it looks really bad, that's why; do you really think I like having it the same every single day, that I haven't considered wearing it down? I dislike my hair a lot of the time. I've never really known what to do with it. I don't want to spend a lot of money or time getting it taken care of every couple weeks. I definitely do not want fake hair on my head. No thank you. I really do like my hair when it is curly, which is important to remember, I just wish it wasn't so frizzy, thick and poofy. I have 4 or 5 different conditioners in my shower this very moment; every once in a while I try a new conditioner or two to try and find one that will last and work the best. TRESemme is quite good and I have been using it for years, so I always have that. Unfortunately my hair usually feels its best when it is wet, and let's just not even talk about brushing it right now. I have good hair days and bad hair days like anyone (yesterday was a good day), and I think at one point or another we all want hair that we don't have. I am jealous of people who can style it in more than one way, wear it down, toss it around, not condition it every day, do things with it, have friends that can relate to their hair issues, go to any hair salon...
My husband, my wonderful husband, is as white as white can be (though looks may be deceiving and truthfully I am not far off). Sometimes I whine about my hair and get sad and upset about it, and he comforts me and google searches for solutions and information for me, from Iraq. What a guy, right? He also tells me I am pretty and that my crazy hair isn't as crazy as I think it is.
So starts my hair adventure. I will keep you updated. Aside from figuring out the occasional mess atop my own head, I hope to learn some tricks and tips so that I can help and guide our future children- being 3/4 white and 1/4 black (and 100% awesome), and considering my siblings and I all have quite different hair, who knows what sort of hair dilemmas they will face.
- From the desk of Mrs. M