Don’t need a trip to the beauty shop,
’cause I love what I got on top.
It’s curly and it’s brown and it’s right up there!
You know what I love? That’s right, my hair!
I really love my hair.
I love my hair. I love my hair.
There’s nothing else that can compare with my hair.
I love my hair, so I must declare:
I really, really, really love my hair.
Wear a clippy or in a bow
Or let it sit in an afro
My hair looks good in a cornrow
It does so many things you know, that’s why I let it grow
I love my hair, I love my hair
I love it and I have to share
I love my hair, I love my hair!
I want to make the world aware I love my hair.
I wear it up. I wear down. I wear it twisted all around.
I wear braids and pigtails too.
I love all the things my hair can do.
In barrettes or flying free, ever perfect tresses you’ll see
My hair is part of me, an awesome part of me
I really love my hair!
~ Joey Mazzarino (the Sesame Street writer wrote this for his daughter)
I watched Good Hair today, and absolutely loved it! It brought back some memories of me and the struggle I have had with my own self esteem and hair so I decided to share a couple stories.
Growing up as a black girl hair mattered. Long, short, curly, straight, silky or nappy, it all mattered.
In elementary school it was the lighter girls with the straighter hair that got all the attention and as a dark girl with kinky hair it was a bit disheartening. True, my hair grows long, but without a relaxer my hair is kinky, thick and unmanageable. Well, back then I felt that way. My grandmother paid someone to do my hair when I was young because she couldn’t do it. She finally got the hang of it and then in 6th grade her and I had a fight about me doing my own hair. I wanted to be like everyone else and do it myself. She said no because I wouldn’t comb to the root… we argued for a while everyday before school until she gave in. Of course I found out the hard way she was right.
I remember in about 4th or 5th grade going to school and seeing girls with “bangs in the back”, or so I perceived it at that time. I wanted to be like them so bad, my hair was longer than theirs, so I didn’t have “bangs in the back”, so I decided one day to part my hair, and cut my own version of “bangs in the back”. Not knowing those girls just had shorter hair that rested at their shoulder so when they wore it half up half down that is what would happen… lol.
I remember in 8th grade I got my first relaxer and haircut. I felt pretty, my hair was actually manageable and I could comb through it to the roots so no more going to the shop and having my hair dresser shake her head as she combed through it. My hair was about to the middle of my back and I got it cut to my shoulders, and I remember feeling the difference in length and taking time to get used to combing it.
A black woman’s hair is her glory, I have heard that my whole life. We go through so much to make our hair do what we want, Combing it out alone can be a chore and painful. Let alone getting a relaxer and dealing with the chemicals and the pain of burning just to have it straight and silky for a month or so, just to have to repeat the process all over again. Then there is braiding the hair, and getting weave, and dying it on top of relaxers and all these things we do to our hair that cause damage and discomfort. It truly is a chore to take care of our hair.
I have been contemplating growing out my relaxer, cutting my hair short and wearing it natural… but that is a very difficult transition when you are used to relaxed straight hair. I love being able to run my fingers through my hair and have it flow and move. I do not want to be embarrassed when my man goes to run his fingers through my natural curls and gets them stuck. I am getting past that now though. I know there are products out there that will soften my hair and help it be just as manageable as if it were relaxed.
All in all I love my hair, despite the fact it causes me much grief and annoyance when I can’t do anything to it, and I look a hot mess because it needs to be done I wouldn’t trade it for the world.
originally written 12.24.10