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.
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!
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.