It’s cliche, but it’s true: If i had to describe the relationship, it would be of the love/hate variety. I fought with her the better part of the 90s. Don’t get me wrong, she looked good – some of the time. But when your hair is as thick as mine, it could go either way.
A good hair day was the difference between me juggling three curling irons over the sink in my college dorm room and shelling out $90 and an entire Saturday morning for a wash, relaxer, set, style. I’d sometimes convince someone to do my braids – when I was young, I might pay less than $100. Once they wised up, realized that my hair was thicker than it looked, the price tended to increase. I hate scheduling appointments when they would only give me a “prices start at” line. That meant I’d be paying more than that.
The years this went on were immeasurable. If it were a guy my friends would say: “Let him go, girl. He’s spending all your money. He’s taking up all your time. You don’t have time for your real friends anymore.” And they would be right.
Then, it happened. No, I didn’t have an earth-shattering realization that I was putting a chemical harsh enough to disintegrate a Coke can on my scalp. It wasn’t the pain or the scabs that were lingering days after a fresh relaxer ( I liked my stuff swanging, #nojudgement). My hair fell out. But that’s not why it happened. A year or so after I got the cutest little pixie cut, I decided to grow my hair back out. Everyone I knew was wearing wigs and weaves. So that’s what I did. And why would I pay someone to give me a relaxer when you couldn’t even see my real hair? I don’t remember the exact timeframe, but months later, after I took the weave out, I had a cute little afro puff. It was cool.
I could write 1,000 more words/wax poetic/spit 32 more bars but let’s cut the chase. I had an afro and I realized that my bigger hair — my less scheduled hair, less formatted, less copy edited, less … something — wasn’t really “me.” As my hair grew, as my fro got bigger, it was more of the real me. Big personality, big hair. Feeling less-than-confident? Kick up that ‘fro. Dye it. Twist it. Hand comb it until it biggER. Fierce. It’s just more “me.”
I wouldn’t say I’m “anti-heat” exactly, but I’ve had my hair flat ironed three times since 2008. This week was one of them. I wanted it dyed, I needed it trimmed. And it was … fine. She did a good job. A great job. But, here I am, back to my old habits. I bought three combs (they have different uses, did you know that?). Three shower caps. An actual hair bonnet. Put rollers in my hair before bed. Put my hair up before working out. Patted my edges during the workout.
But. Like I said. I look fine. But I’m bigger than that. See you next week, girl.