Time to talk hair

Yes indeed, it’s that time again. Time to talk about my hair, now if you are not a Black woman there is a good chance this post might not be your cup of tea. On the other hand it could be enlightening, so consider sticking around. Regular readers know its been a while since I have written about my hair, after all last year after years of growing dreadlocks I decided to cut them. Well the small fro I had after cutting off inches of hair has now grown out and I am at that place hair wise I hate to be. Long story short, my hair is a mess and its a length that really I find it difficult to do much of anything with.

The truth is I really am not a hair person. Let’s see, I went natural (that means no chemical straighteners have touched this head in over 10 years, and the last chemical color was about 7 years ago) and the first couple of years of being natural I rocked a short fro. It was a total wash and go and I loved it; but then we moved to Maine and I decided to grow my hair out. That lasted for 2 years and was what I look back on as the ugly period since there really wasn’t a lot I could do to my hair until it had some significant length which it did by the time I decided to loc in 2004.

Well the locs were good for a while but living in Maine with no one to help me hands on with my locs led me to free form and eventually led me to say buh bye to them as well. It was really lack of good maintenance that killed my locs, in fact looking back on my decade in naps I can say that barring the times I have rocked the TWA my hair is generally not as healthy as it can be. That may sound silly but when it comes to doing my hair those skills passed me by, perhaps it was because I was well into high school before my Mom let me actually start managing my hair. Seriously, she refused to have me going out with a raggedy head as she would call it, so she often would oversee my coif. The result being I barely can braid and when I do you damn sure ain’t going outside in it and well my attempts at twisting, etc…um, it sux. I suspect if I had someone up here who could sit down and show me it might come together but honestly even looking at you tube videos doesn’t seem to help.

So you are probably asking um…where are you going with this? Well until yesterday I figured I’d keep living with my hair situation but I went to my local Aveda salon for my eyebrow waxing and we ended up talking about my hair. Long story short they explained they have a process of thermal straightening that could loosen my curls to make my hair more manageable.

I’m going to be honest, at first I was like hell to the naw, I am happy to be nappy, no chemicals here…all the things that good nappy hair disciples do. Some of ya’ll might be asking what am I talking about but I know some of ya’ll know exactly what I am talking about. Going natural as a Black woman is liberating, it really is, at least in the early days you feel like you have a new lease on life. You feel like you have instant camaraderie with other natural sistas, you feel amazing, freed…oh its a beautiful thing. 

Well 10 years into this journey, what I am about to say is blasphemy to nappy heads but really its just hair. Yes chemicals are bad, and by all means you should avoid them if at all possible. But sometimes being natural ain’t all it’s cracked up to be either. See, the reason I went natural initially was because I knew I was moving to Maine and figured there would be no one to do my hair. That is really what prompted me to give up the creamy crack, my relaxed hair was always healthy, no breakage, no issues.  I admit I did not like feeling in bondage to the hair salon for that weekly maintenance but lets keep it real, too many naturals are always looking for that elusive product to “manage” their curls. Ya know you know what I am talking about.  They trade one addiction for another, I have seen it too many times. In the past decade I have seen many sistas embrace being natural at least on the surface but deep down they are grappling with how beautiful they will be perceived as, if they rock a TWA, locs, etc. I know, I was there and man I fought those demons, days when I just knew I looked ugly. But guess what? I didn’t care, for me being natural at least in the early days allowed me to see true beauty in myself but at this stage in the game, I will be honest. I just want hair that is manageable. I am not a fan of super short hair…can I tell you on cold days I miss my locs.

I would consider going back to locks but I truly believe they have a spiritual component and I am not there yet. I found what I needed with that first set, peace and acceptance in so many areas of my life but I am not ready to return. I keep saying just let my fro grow but then I keep coming back to grow into what? Last time I let it grow eventually that path led to dreads.

So I will be honest, I have no idea what direction I am about to take on the hair path, could involve chemicals, could be braids, might just say fuck it and crop it again. Yet no matter what I  do, I am more than just my hair and while my journey to me may have started with my hair it does not end with my hair.

Don’t get me wrong, I haven’t even decided whether I am going to have my hair treated, last night I was pumped up about this. This morning the $300 price tag has me thinking a trip to the sista who trimmed my fro is in order so I can explore more reasonable options that might keep me natural but I will be honest no longer am I am militant natural.

I have enjoyed the journey but I am not defined by my hair…hell I define me.

Leaning towards….

Recently I wrote about my hair woes, and actually got a lot of feedback. To recap, I have dreadlocks aka locs. I have been growing my much beloved locs for 5 years now, but we have reached the point where my babies are looking a tad unkempt. In good financial times, I would head to Brooklyn to visit a woman I am told could definitely get my hair back in order since living in Maine, I lack access to folks who know what to do with natural unprocessed hair.

As I admitted in my other posts about my hair, my locs are not just hair. They were started as direct result of my Mom’s untimely death 5 years ago, its something I had thought about for years but her death and the realization that life is short prompted me to just do it. (sorry Nike, I just had to use your slogan)

I admit over the years the journey that I have been on emotionally and spiritually has been reflected in my my locs and my relationship to them. I love em but recently after the posts I did, I have started to feel as if I could sense my Mom’s presence (I swear I am not going crazy) and each time its happened, I could almost hear her voice telling me its time to get rid of them. Now my Mom was always open to my natural hair but she was also a pretty snazzy dresser and quite into couture, she always looked amazing. No, the simple truth is if she were here she would say get rid of em and at least start all over again because right now, I simply look raggedy about the head.

The first time I had that realization about a week ago, I shook it off but its continued to haunt me. Yet I must admit like many women I have fell into the length trap, my hair is quite long and for all the bitching I do about my hair its been a nice ride as a long haired woman. In some ways I get amused because I often get the question even living in Maine “Is that really all my hair?” Sometimes I get amused and sometimes I get pissed since at times I wonder is it because there is the perception that Black women don’t have long hair. So on some level I know that fuels my desire to keep the length despite the fact my hair is not as healthy as it could be.

However as someone who has always embraced change when its put in my face, yesterday I had an ephiphany about how freeing it would be to just cut my hair off and for once fear was not in my heart as I thought about it. I was talking to an acquaintance of mine, a white man who is a stylist and colorist for Aveda who told me flat out that he thought I would look a lot better with a short do that he would be happy to color for me. Can I say thoughts of shades of red are dancing in my head. Along with thoughts of how nice 3-4 inches would feel on my head…can we say the ultimate in wash and go.

I tried this weekend to retwist the new growth that had caused me to have a afro in the midst of my locs and let me just say…um NO. It did not come out well and my arms were killing me when I was done.

Letting go sometimes is hard but I am starting to embrace the idea that change is in the air and that this may be the change I need to make. The past 5 years have been the hardest I have ever gone through and lately I feel weighed down by so much in my life, even my hair. I need to be lighter in my journey. Don’t get me wrong I love dreads but wonder if I should restart this journey at a different stage in my life, not one born out of pain and grief.

So guess you can say I am leaning towards making the big chop though I have decided to sit on this for 30 days just to be sure. After all if I cut it off too soon its not as if I can just stick it back on my head.