Hair Chronicles

My transition from chemically relaxed hair was so full of drama! It stemmed from a heated discussion about a Spivak article in my first year of graduate school. My opinion differed from my professor's. I respectfully made my point, but instead of conceding or moving on, he got angry, offended, belligerent...

He continued to rant and rave until I agreed with him. The more he spoke the more I realized that I could not (would not). Our discussion about colonialism had reached a head. I have the type of sarcastically cool, calm, collected face that intensifies under pressure. But likewise, it intensified the professor’s anger. As he tried to propose to me that racism and the effects of colonialism did not exist, I look up at my straight and perfectly swept bangs and thought "DAMN!

The hair transition didn't happen immediately after the epiphany. It was just the first time my hair made me feel stupid. Hence the title: "Me & My Stupid Hair."

I was smack dab in the middle of a quarter-life crisis! I was not on course to do all the things that I thought I'd accomplish by the time I was thirty: the husband, the kids, the house, the minivan, dinner by 5:00, a lucrative side-hustle, humanitarian work, marathon training, a solid yoga practice, a published book, impeccable style, and I should have my PhD by now--right?

In hind sight, I see that my goals weren't honoring me. The more I looked at them, the more I realized that I could not (would not) agree with the notion that I was a failure for not living up to unreal standards that only set me up for failure. I can't put into words how cutting my hair felt, except to say that it felt "right." It was the first time in a long time that I felt like I was doing something right. There was no pressure, no fear of messing up, just smooth, precise snips by my Gingher sewing shears as they cut away the remainder of the chemically treated hair.

It may sound cliche or like something that "angry black women" do in chick flicks, but there was no anger. Besides all those assumptions are played out. I threw out caring what other people think with the creamy crack.

Another Defining (& Hilarious) Moment in my Hair Journey:  It was a bright and sunny day and my afro was overheating my brain! I went to Sephora to find a dry shampoo that could blunt the effects of some of that heat, with mini-she and mini-he in tow.

She was excited to get enough perfume samples to clog my sinuses for days. He was lagging behind mumbling about how it sucks to be a military kid, because he has to go in all these girly stores. His Daddy was deployed again for the third time in four years. I tell him there’s nothing I can do and he should write to President & First Lady Obama.

But I digress. I went straight to the back wall holding the Bumble & Bumble in one hand and the Ojon in the other. I read the blurbs, but I was still unsure. Mini-she and mini-he refused to be sprayed with the weird and smoky concoctions. The confused look on my face attracted a customer service person, and I started asking questions: which one is better for dry hair? Which do you recommend for dark hair? Do either of these products work for curly hair? The customer service person stopped my litany of questions and asked:

Does your hair move?

I was confused at first, but then I understood. He said that the product could only be applied if my hair could be parted and applied to the scalp then brushed out. I gave the young man a smile to assure him that I wasn’t going to pull a gun out of my ‘fro (à la Pam Grier as Foxy Brown, 1974). Then I gave him the most dramatic afro swing that I could muster – I truly let my Soul Glo. “I let my soul shine through…” I could hear the theme music from Coming to America and feel my hair move in slow motion. OK, I know that my account was rather dramatic.

I eventually left the store with the Ojon Dry Shampoo. For all the comic relief I endured, I got one decent use out of the product. Then the nozzle clogged up permanently. Needless to say, I’m still shopping for a new dry shampoo.

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