Saturday, March 05, 2016

My Hair

We've had a rocky relationship, my hair and I.

I remember when I was a girl, my mother used to spend a long time every morning trying to untangle my hair. She would pull at it and yank my head several times. I would shout "Ay!" many times, only to have her tell me to stay still. As a child, I regarded hair-grooming as an excruciating experience that only brought torture and pain. My mother's hair is soft with only the slightest wave, while my father's hair is very coarse (he used to have an Afro as a young man). I have curly, dry hair, bordering on coarse. 
My hair had no shape whatsoever growing up. My mother's style of choice was a bazooka braid. Since my hair was so dry and would literally stand on end, a braid would just stick straight out. It wouldn't rest on my shoulders, just stick out of my head, threatening to poke the eyes of unsuspecting strangers standing behind me. It did. Many a time would I hear a schoolmate crying in pain as I accidentally poked them with my bazooka braid. 
I used to watch other girls' hairstyles with envy. I used to wish my hair had shape, that I could actually do something with it. I mostly coveted the soft, swishy ponytail; the kind that you would see in 50s films that bounced with every movement, but retained its shape.
In my late teens/early twenties, I discovered the joy of chemical straighteners. I started to relax my hair. I endured hours smelly applications, more head-yanking and sometimes burning of my scalp to tame my unruly hair. For the first couple of days, my hair would look like it was frozen in time. It was straight, but it wasn't soft or bouncy. Then it would start to look more normal and then it would become really brittle and start to fall out. Then the new hair would come in, and I would have partly straight, brittle hair, partly coarse, frizzy hair. Nonetheless, I continued to use them because everyone thought I looked great. 
It was until my hair started falling in chunks, a few years later, that I decided to stop and just accept my hair for the frizzy, messy thing that it is. 
Now, I love my sometimes soft, mostly curly, dry, frizzy hair. It has softened a bit with time and proper care. It still gets majorly frizzy at times, but who doesn't? I realized that my hair is the perfect expression of my personality: temperamental, stressful and sometimes nice when no one is looking.  I may never have a bouncy ponytail, but I do have witch hair. I get to pretend that I am casting spells as I walk down the street with my fluffy hair.

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