Monday, February 11, 2008

Relaxer, Hot Comb & Hair Piece Nightmares

I have come across web pages, blogs etc. of women/men with natural hair styles and still am puzzled about some of the things I see on these sites and pages. Natural hair to me means that the hair is not altered ie., applied heat or chemical treatments of any type that include: relaxers, perms, chemicals that loosen natural curls or kinks, blow out kits, wave type relaxers and the list goes on and on. When I go to either the BSS or anywhere I go to purchase hair products the shelves are full of all types of hair altering chemicals. These chemicals are both marketed to Black people as well as the ones geared towards White people. All races have people who chemically alter their hair and it's okay if that's what you want to do. Hair to me is individual. What works for one person may not always work for another person. I see sites where people get up on their soapboxes to scold women for putting products in their hair to style their hair the way they want to. Now that's a shame. I have come a long way as far as hair is concerned. I remember many times in the past wanting to wear my hair natural, only to be met with rude comments and stares from my own people. Now that's really sad. I remember one time in particular a girl had the nerve to loudly say that "somebody needs a perm!" When I turned around to see who made the statement there she was in all her glory with about two or three spriggles of overprocessed and badly damaged permed hair. I don't have anything against any person that straightens their hair because that was my reality for many years. It worked for me then, but not now. I happen to like the texture of my hair. I used to think that it was way too thick and kinky to do anything with other than relax or straighten. That was then, this is now. I like my kinks. I resisted relaxing for many years, but then relented because straightening didn't hold well in my hair. And talk about burnt ears and foreheads, it happened all the time. I can remember well one time that I straightened my hair with a hot comb and then decided to curl it with those old time hot curlers you put on the stove. I just knew I could do hair! Wrong! Evidently the curlers were on the burner for too long and and I put it in my hair and turned them curlers and guess what????? After I pulled it out of my hair, I decided to check my nice curl and wouldn't you know the curl crisped off right into my hand!!! I can laugh about it now, but then I was left with one sided hair. All burnt out by those damn hot curlers. I should have saved that crispy curl as a memento and should have went natural the next day. I'm laughing as I type this up because when I looked in the mirror to see what was left of the crispy curl, I saw a sad mess. I was self conscious for weeks all the while thinking that everybody saw that crispy curl. And another time I put in a relaxer that said it could straighten the most resistant hair and again I was left with about three or four strands of overprocessed hair. It looked fine the day I did it, but by the very next day half of my hair was gone. Those were the days. And another time I can remember a particularly hot and humid day and I was going somewhere and decided to press my hair. I got through one side and by the time I had started on the second side, the first side was all but an afro. I was so mad. I was hot and mad. And when it rained I had to take a deep breath and say a prayer before attempting to go out. I remember one time I thought I was really cute and put on a very loose type curly hair piece on my relaxed hair. Well that day it was really windy. I mean trash and people were blowing in the wind. I was waiting to take a bus and these two women were killing themselves with laughter. I didn't pay them any mind because I didn't think they were laughing at me. Then when I got home I had to pass a large hung mirror in my living room and then I saw IT!! You should have seen the piece I had on top of my hair. It looked like about five or six dead raccoons were curled up on top of my head. There was fake hair everywhere. It was a mess. I stood there and laughed for a good five or ten minutes. I couldn't believe I was looking like that. I kept it like that so that I could show my daughter and when she saw it, she nearly died laughing. The memories I have about my hair are too numerous to put up on here. I could go on telling stories for an hour or more. Anyway, those days are behind me for two reasons, first no more hot combs or chemicals and second I'm not bothered by people's comments about me anymore. To each his own. So in closing all I can reiterate is, love yourself to the fullest. Wear your hair however you please and don't let other people define who you are.