Yesha Callahan

My Hair Story

If someone was to ask any one of my friends what would be the first thing anyone would notice about me, I guarantee you, they would all say my hair and then coming in at a close 2nd place, would be my height. The tall girl, with the big hair. Yup, that’s me.

Growing up my mother had 3 daughters with heads full of curly and what she called ‘unmanageable’ hair. Every week we endured the ritual of having our hair blown out and straightened. There weren’t too many options back then, besides a hot comb and blow dryer.

Model Lorna Simpson & Her Daughter

Rarely would she let us wear our hair natural and curly. If memory serves me correctly, when I was 11 she took me to the hair salon for my first relaxer. I remember crying in the chair when I saw that my curls were gone and I was left with stringy straight hair.

For the next several years, because my mother felt a relaxer was easier to deal with, I had to endure the brutal salon visits that I hated. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the length of my hair at the time, it was practically to my waist but I hated the whole process and the fact that I lost my curls. By the time high school graduation came around, I felt that not only was I free from being at home and under my mother’s watchful eye, I also felt that I was free to do whatever I wanted with my hair.

A few weeks into the summer of my freshman year at Rutgers University, my hair drew attention because of it’s length, and being that it had been years since I had an actual hair cut, besides a normal trim, it was pretty long. I remember the day I had my big chop off. It was about 98 degrees, hot and humid. I walked passed a barber shop and the idea hit me. I walked in and took a seat. The barbers looked at me as if I was lost. When I told them I wanted a hair cut, they pointed me in the direction of the beauty salon that was next door. I declined and told them I wanted my hair shaved off, not cut into a style.

“Have you lost your damn mind? Do you know women would die for your hair???”, is what one of the barbers asked. I could only look at him and laugh. I told him I was serious. Eventually after arguing with me for about 30 minutes, he told me to sit in his chair. I walked into his shop with about 22 inches of straight hair and left out with a short, tapered cut. Yes, it was pretty extreme, but it felt good.

I remember walking into the dining hall that evening and as I approached my usual table of friends, forks literally dropped out of their hands. There were a few “wtf’s”, especially from my boyfriend at the time and his football teammates, my girlfriends thought I lost my mind, needless to say, we practically sat in silence for the meal. It took a few days for people to get used to the hairless me, but it only took me a few seconds.

That first cut happened back in 1992, about 16 years ago. Over the next few years, I went back & forth with the short & long version of my naturally curly hair. Although I’ll never do anything as drastic as a complete cut off, I love my natural hair and I guess it’s become somewhat of my signature piece and always a topic of conversation. Tomorrow I’ll post some of my favorite hair products and hair care regimen!

*Aside*

As I finished writing this, a very very good friend of mine who is a STRONG advocate for a WEAVELESS society sent me this video.

  1. August 18, 2008 - Reply

    Hey mami! Sounds like we had some of the same hair experiences back in the day. I had a =hHead full of thick, curly hair. My mom did the best she could until she decided I was old enough for a relaxer. My hair has remained healthy (thank God) despite having chemicals ever since. Wearing it natural is on the horizon. I recently ran across a good combo of products that keep me from overprocessing it. If only there were a truly permanent solution for the grey hair I’ve been battling since my 20s….ugh!

    • August 19, 2008 - Reply

      @CurvyGurl

      I don’t even want to think about the grey! Since I do experiment with color alot, I’m blind to the grey hair. I did find one strand a few months ago..I’m not even going to say where I notice several strands of grey, it’s too early to gross people out.

  2. August 19, 2008 - Reply

    Hilarious video!
    I’ll definitely be back for your product & regimen post. I’m about three months into giving up the relaxer. My natural hair is a curly/wavy/do-what-i-want kinda texture & has an “ashy” reddish-brownblonde color.
    I got my hair relaxed in my teen years because I loved the way it looked when I straightened it & I wanted to have that look without so much work. I used to experiment with color a lot also. But my hair has been black for the past 5 years or so, and I doubt that will change. The relaxers have to go tho.
    The biggest struggle for me right now is what products to use.
    Great site =]

  3. August 19, 2008 - Reply

    I tried to go natural a couple of years ago, and it was hard for me because I “forgot” how to take care of natural hair if you can believe it….I was treating like relaxed hair…didn’t work very well. Recently, I have decided to start over and grow armpit length hair. I did the big chop summer and it’s coming along ok, even though I did get lazy a couple of months ago…then I decided I to get a healthy regiment and stick to it.
    For the most part, my hair has been really healthy and I kept it trimmed to shoulder length, but a couple of time I got caught in the sew-in trap because I like changing the colors and length. I started trying wigs and I am able to take good care of my hair and switch back and forth between my hair and wigs at my whim.

    • August 19, 2008 - Reply

      @LaTonja Robinson

      I think I’ve tried a wig once or twice in my life, but they just seemed unforcomfortable. I am interested in lace fronts. My friend is a queen of lace fronts and hers always look FIERCE!

      • August 19, 2008 - Reply

        @[fung'ke] [blak] [chik]

        I had tried a wig about 10 years ago, but I didn’t really get into them then. This last year, after I saw some that looked like a sew-in weave, I decided to try them again. It seems like the newer ones are lighter, but then again you have so much hair, it might be hard to find a comfortable one (even if you braid your hair).
        I’ve thought about lace fronts, but I like to be able to wash or condition wash my hair every 3 days, so the wigs work better for me.

  4. August 19, 2008 - Reply

    Hey Mandii!
    Thanks for stopping by! I’m definitely well versed on experimenting with color…right now mine is a plethora of browns/blondes & reds…usually in the winter I opt for either a dark brown or jet black.
    Stop by again!

  5. August 19, 2008 - Reply

    This reminds me of my sister who is half black, half filipina. My mother had the hardest time with her hair! Add the fact that my mom obviously has very easy to comb long thick black hair and every morning was a crazy battle with my sister’s hair.
    I remember those days every few weeks when my mom would sit my sister down and ‘relax’ her hair. And even then my mom still didn’t really know what to do with her hair. I think it was years before she even heard of ‘not shampooing’ my sisters hair so regularly.
    They really should have classes for new moms who have never dealt with um, hair like that. 🙂

  6. August 19, 2008 - Reply

    I wouldn’t dare shave off my pubic hair. Thats crazy that you did that!
    Oops, my bad…
    I shaved my head back in the day when Onyx was hot. I looked pretty stupid going from an Afro to a baldy. Hopefully I won’t ever go bald and have to shave that shit off again.

  7. July 22, 2009 - Reply

    Rutgers in the house! =)

  8. July 23, 2009 - Reply

    Rutgers in the house! =)

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