"I’ll start by saying my hair is my identity. It is a physical manifestation of my mixed race. It is something that makes me feel special but often reminds me that I’m different. My friends often joke and make fun of me for “taking long showers”, but what they do not realize is that, if I don’t use 60 pumps of my deep conditioning conditioner, run it through every strand of hair, let it sit for 15 minutes, and apply 3 different types of curl cream once I’m out of the shower, I will look like I was struck by lighting. I grew up in a predominately white community. I was always so envious of my friends who could go swimming and their hair would dry within an hour, it would be so smooth, full of shine, and free of frizz. I would spend hours as a teen straightening my hair before school and ensuring that it would not get wet so that my hours and hours of work would not go to waste.
When I was 17, I decided to embrace my natural hair and let it be free. This is one of the best things I could have done for myself. My natural hair is beautiful. And I have my African American mom to thank for that. (I mean yes, I can also thank my dad haha but it’s the texture that came from my mama). And yes, my entire life still revolves around when I wash my hair. Primary because it takes so long to wash, I need to have all the right products, and because it takes nearly an entire day to dry. But it’s worth it. I think these are just things people with textured hair don’t fully understand. And that’s ok. My friends still love me anyway, I’m just always the last one to shower when we’re on vacation.
I cannot count the amount of times that I’ve been worshiped for my hair by people who have straight, silky, and flat hair. I always giggle and say “we always want what we can’t have”. I still spend hours (every couple of years for a special occasion), burning my bicep off straightening my hair just so I can feel what it’s like to have silky, straight, flat hair. I think it’s beautiful to see this admiration for race to race. How boring if we were all the same. In saying all of this, because of my caucasian genes from my dad, my hair is a bit more manageable. Someone like my mom for example who has two black parents, did not have the luxury of “leaving her hair natural”, it was too hard to manage, she could not afford the constant upkeep (braids, weaves, etc…), and she also didn’t live somewhere where she even had access to products suitable for her hair. So my mom dreaded her hair, in order to make her life easier. It breaks my heart thinking that my mom simply cannot have the hair style that she prefers simply because it is too expensive, she doesn’t have the resources, or because it is too much maintenance. But, it worked out because my mom is stunning and rocks her dreads like the queen that she is. I see the look on my moms face when I come out of the shower and she touches my hair. Above envy, she feels pride. I’m not leaving my hair natural for me, I’m doing it for her, and all of my ancestors before me that have been discriminated against for our hair. I cannot wait to worship my kids one day for their beautiful curls. We are so lucky to be different."