Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Hairiphany = Hair Epiphany?

Many people say we're a reflection of our genes and environment...Well my hair, genetically inherited from my parents and chemically altered by my stylists, has definitely played a role in my development.  As exaggerated as it may sound, it’s likely true. I have had my hair relaxed, pressed, and hot combed, or quoting my southern Mother “fried, died, flipped to the side”, since childhood. As a result, I know only from pictures, what my “true” hair looks like but have no memories of its texture or curl pattern. I only know my Mom used to complain “giiirl it took me hours to wash and press your hair when you were a child, you had enough hair for you and me both and then some!” 

As I sit here today, writing my first entry I paused a couple of times to touch the little curls that are sprouting like newly planted herbs underneath all of my relaxed hair. I can’t help but imagine what my hair would look like without the relaxed strands. 

Currently, I am 3 months post-relaxer and decided about a month and half ago to transition and rock my natural texture. This great epiphany all came about one cloudy morning.

My husband and I had plans to meet friends in the city in the afternoon. I was home getting ready to shower and wash my hair. I saw the sky was gray and threatening and so decided just to wash, scrunch and go—no need wasting time with the flat-iron when the fruits of my labor would be ruined by rain, right?!

My husband and I dressed and as we left the apartment, it started to pour. The combination of the cool, humidity and rain definitely increased the volume and poofiness of my hair! I’ll admit, I wasn’t feeling too hot. I stared at my husband; he’s European and has naturally tousled waves that can never look bad. Our previous neighbor, who was about 60, once told him “women would kill to have your hair.” I stared around at the people on the tram, mostly European as well and just wished for one day that I could switch hair with them. 

Later in the afternoon, the skies cleared a bit and we decided to all go for a stroll in the park. As our friends strolled ahead, my husband leans downs and whispers in my ear “I’m so lucky, I have the hottest wife in the world.” [*Gushes*--He’s a bit of a hopeless romantic, so I get showered with affection quite often].  Well I was already feeling self-conscious, so I looked up at him as if he had two heads and asked “have you seen my hair today, not so hot.” The husband tells me “no actually, I was just going to tell you that your hair like that makes you irresistible.” Well, that shut me up and kind of got me to thinking, first thought wow, I adore this man and then second well if he likes this, how would he react my hair was natural

That’s when I had my big hairiphany – TIME FOR ME TO GO NATURAL. This is one of the scariest thoughts I’ve had in a while; I mean kind of life-changing… not in a negative way, just different. I didn’t know where to begin, after 18 years of relaxing and trips to the salon, I had so many thoughts and questions racing through my mind—one of those questions surrounded the method of going natural. 

When I arrived home that night, I immediately started googling and searching on YouTube for images and videos on the topic. I knew what my options were already (big chop or BC, transition, sew-ins, wigs), but needed to visualize it all. Upon days and days of deliberation I decided, I am a fan of neither weaves nor wigs. Since, I spent the last 2 years growing my hair out, I did not want to do the BC, because I started to like myself with longer hair. So ladies and gentleman, transition it is, or as I like to say journey from the straight road, to the winding roads less traveled. 

On this journey, I will also reflect on my current life abroad, marriage, and future dreams as well as my past to figure how my hair has shaped—well yeah, my identity, for better or worst. I’ll try to include some styling tips and treatment that I use along the way and pictures when possible. There will probably be moments where I run to my basement and grab my emergency relaxer kits and think about going back to it--- however, I’ll try to be brave and not succumb to-- as someone in Chris Rock’s Good Hair put it “the creamy crack.” I know that when I have reached a safe place, I'll be ready recycle the relaxer kits, but for now they are my security blankets.

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