Friday, May 02, 2008

My Hair Life Journey

I am on a hair journey...And it has a life of its own.. I found out that I am my hair.. Well at least partially - LOL...

Hair is a defining feature for women so it is important to keep it looking good because when it doesn't it can make you feel down. The real question becomes do you love your natural self enough to love your hair the way it grows out of your head? Or maybe do you have the time and effort it will take to maintain a natural hairstyle? Should that really be a choice? Why is it that we feel we don't?

Society's pressure to conform to an "other" standard of beauty is strong and pervasive, I thought I was immune and that I loved my hair straight just "because..."

because it was easy and cheap to maintain (in NY anyway - $15 wash and set!!)
because I could wash and set it myself and wouldn't have to pay a stylist
because my man liked it like that
because I liked when it blew in the wind
because I was scared to be different from what I was told was beauty
because I was afraid that I wouldn't love myself or my hair natural

This leg of the journey all started a few years ago ('03) when I went to LA for Teach for America and to visit my family. I found that could get my hair flat ironed and it would stay as straight as a relaxer without the chemicals...

I moved to Philly that same year and consequently went in search of a place there to get my hair done. I found a place called Harlem's (go figure!!) that was really good at getting my hair to stay not only straight but stopped the breakage between my permed and natural hair and kept it looking FLY!

My stylist there April, left that shop for another and then another then finally left that shop (with my following her for about a year!!) to do hair from home and keep that PAPER in her pocket!

APRIL GIrl - I LOVE YOU (even though you wanted me to get a perm... lol)

I tried to stay without a perm here in MD but the humidity is CRAZY! Totally unsuited for flat-ironed natural hair. So I kept it braided for awhile but missed my Dooby (AKA- wrap, wash and set, wash and wrap etc - depending on what part of the country you are in) so I got it permed then cut the last day of 2006.

WRONG move! Although it was healthy and beautiful it led to my demise or rebirth depends on how you look at it. Don't get me wrong - I have to give big-ups to my Dominican Sisters here in Baltimore!! They do not overprocess your hair, they only relax it to about 70-80% so it retains curl when wet and some elasticity and moisture.

The problem came from me being fast. I went home in April of '07 to Harlem and got a touch-up... Why? Oh Why did I do that?????!!! My stylist there (Joljie - I love you girl but DAMN) Relaxed my hair to DEATH - literally. My edges began to break off almost immediately!! I didn't know what to do! My hair had been growing and although I had cut it ear length (see photos of when I was pregnant) by April it had almost regrown to its mid-shoulder blade length!

I had to cut it off. No, I really did. I couldn't wear a ponytail because I had an afro around my hair line. It had begun to look thin and damaged (like those women I look at say "Sister just cut it off it will grow back!" - I now had to take my own advise to the extreme! Also, I'd always told myself that I would have a natural or dreads by the time I was 35. I guess the universe was holding me to my promise!

I knew though if I didn't cut all the relaxed hair off at once, I would be more likely to fall back on to the bad habits of straitening it and not being able to find anyone in Baltimore to keep it straight without a relaxer so in August 07 while I was in NY I cut off my permed hair!

It was hard to even get a barber to cut it off! They were like "Come on Ma! Why you wanna do something like that? Your hair looks good! I just can't do it!" I had to go around for like two hours before I could find someone to cut it off!! As you can see in my Hair post, I cut it REALLY short...

But change my name to Miss Pretty Cut and Grow (Remember those babydolls!???!!)

'Cause here is my hair right after I took out my second set braids this year...



And here it is washed and two-strand twisted for a more curly look



When I take it out... I will let you take a gander at it too... I am SOOOO Excited!!
I told my momma and 'em I want an Angela Davis Afro! Afro pick and ALL!!!!
I want it to look like the pictures on the Miss Jessie's Curly Pudding Ads!!!!

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