I had been having my hair chemically treated in one way or another since I was ten years old- either Jheri Curls or a relaxer.
I never ever had known my own hair texture, because even before I got the chemicals, my mother would press it with the hot comb. Every Saturday, she would wash my hair, plait it and the next day, Sunday she would call me in from outside (in the summer) or away from my brothers (winter), to the kitchen, turn on her dusties (which was the beginning of my love affair with music, but that’s another story) and get to pressing.
So after a few years with the Curl, I decided I wanted straight long flowing hair, since I was told that the Curl made your hair long. Much to my painful surprise, see, no one told me never ever scratch before you get a relaxer, I found out that it was actually the opposite. I woke up daily for 6 months with my hair on my pillow, which is traumatizing to a 12yr old. My hair was so short I was using baby doll rollers-seriously. And on top of that every 5 weeks I was going through that painful burning process, even though I didn’t scratch. This went on for the next 20yrs of my life barring the times I wore braids.
I tried maybe twice to go natural, but gave in because I wanted instant gratification-long luxurious hair. So, in July of 2009 after a really bad perm which left scabs in my scalp for almost a month, I gave up. I simply stopped relaxing.
I wore wigs and braids, and even attempted to straighten it-and ended up with a burned forehead and fingers, not to mention ears. So I just made up my mind that this was the time to do it. I had been going through some emotional changes and getting to know Ebony. I finally realized that my 15yr relationship had breathed its last breath, and I was really on my own. I wasn’t afraid, but looking forward to whatever life brought my way. And I simply wanted my outward appearance to reflect my inner self- a Strong, beautiful woman who was going back to the basics in her life.
So Saturday, March 13,2010, much to the amazement of the women in the shop I frequented, amongst the relaxers, marcel curlers and spritz(ugh) I proudly stated that I wanted her to cut off my relaxed hair, which at the time was reaching my shoulders. The elder ladies shook their heads at me, the young women rolled their eyes and claimed how they just cant live without their lace fronts and perms, and how “brave” I was. I agree… I was being brave, because I had no idea how people would perceive me, but I did it anyway. And Hello Ebony!
I love the way I look and feel! People are saying now that I’ve done it, that gives them the courage to try it as well. I really hope my 15yr old daughter follows suit, but I’m not pressuring her… she has to come into her own just as I have.