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Me, Myself and My Hair

Hair has always been a huge part of my existence. If you ask my mom she would probably say nothing more than “It is on your head”. To me hair is much more than that. It’s the one thing that I am a stickler about. Since I was a child my hair has always been an issue for me.

From age 5 when my tight curls caused heartache and actually more of a headache, trying to comb through those thick dark tresses. After a few years of exasperated crying, hair related tantrums and combs full of follicles that caused a frustrating rift in the relationship I have with my hair; my mom finally let me get a relaxer.

For those who don’t know what a relaxer is let me give you a small glimpse into this foul smelling white goop that you put in your hair to make it straight. It smells of sulfuric acid and if you leave it in too long your hair will burn right off your head.

I’m not sure who in the African American community decided that this was a good idea, but then again who in the Caucasian community thought that getting into a human sized oven in order to have darker skin was a good idea? Despite this, I got many perms and my white friends enjoyed their tanning ovens that eventually turned their skin orange.

Black hair has become a mysterious entity in society to other races; many of them are unaware of what it takes to maintain it. The countless hours of de-tangling, complex moisturizing regimens, dry brittle ends and unhappy looks in the mirror caused me to eventually loath my hair. Society continued to tell me that long luxurious shiny wonderful hair is what you’re supposed to have; it’s what guys want when looking to date a girl.

Everyone has good and bad hair days, only I had bad hair days and worse hair days. I felt that my hair was the reason nobody ever wanted to like me and date me, and what I am about to tell you next proved to me just that.

Going through middle school all I wanted to do was straighten my hair to be like my friends, highlights and cute haircuts. But I never really had enough hair on my head. My hair never went past my jaw bone no matter how hard a tried. All of the straightening and blow drying made it look brittle and dry making me feel even worse about myself. It was a never ending cycle that I couldn’t break. In high school my mom finally gave me the idea of getting braids done by “the African people” she called them. Every 3 months we would go to the “hair store” that sold wigs, hair products, and all different types of weave. We would purchase a pack of straight loose hair and after more than 8 hours in a chair it would be braided into my head.

This was the point when I finally became comfortable with my hair, and it wasn’t even mine. Everyone loved it. They thought I looked fabulous! I finally started getting attention from guys and not just to ask me if I could help them get with my friends. They actually wanted me! It was great, they called me things like beautiful and pretty. Yes I know this is a bit superficial and insecure but what girl isn’t just a little bit vain.

My hair gave me a new type of security, within myself and this style was a lot easier to maintain. A sigh of relief for now.

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