I have a love/hate relationship with my hair. I’ve always had a lot of it, and never could really be bothered with it the majority of the time. Mostly it was because I had no clue what in the world to do with it.
This is me as a peanut. About 4, I think.
My mother and grandmother always kept it in braids and bows (twin beads and barrettes, anyone?)
When I got older, around 9-10 maybe, I decided I wanted to get a relaxer. I was tired of my mother burning my head with the hot comb to straighten it. After a warning of it would burn my scalp the first time, I then had it relaxed. It didn’t slow down on me being tenderheaded, but it helped the tangles a bit.
I kept up the relaxers for years after. My hair went from long, to short, to very long when I still lived in Texas (almost the center of my back), to this:
It’s maybe an inch past my shoulders here.
I rarely wore it down, because it was HOT. Oh, good grief. Like the hand of Hades was sitting on my neck and wouldn’t move! I kept it up in a bun or ponytail most of the time, only wearing it down when I got it done (see pic above) or on special occasions. And I could guarantee I had a ponytail holder to yank it up as soon as the special occasion was over with. Typically, you’d see me like this:
Yep. Typical. It’s in a bun here.
I got tired of never being able to wear it down (it did not hold a curl at all, and frizzed at the drop of a hat, or sweat.) So one day, randomly, I decided to transition my hair. It stayed in a bun for a while, until one day, I decided to braid it up after a wash. I let it out the next morning and picked it out, and came up with this:
I threw a headband in it, and went to work. I didn’t know how to feel, honestly. I felt like the world was staring at me.
But natural hair will do that. Folks don’t know how to handle an afro, whether it’s out and free or in a puff. And I didn’t know how to handle the questions that resulted from my afro.
“Can I touch it?” What the hell am I, a puppy? For the most part I don’t mind, but the question is still odd to me. And please, for the love of fluffy kittens, ASK first. Everybody isn’t me.
“Is it real?” Yep. I wouldn’t know the first thing about picking out a good wig/weave.
“How long have you been transitioning?” At the point above, it had been maybe a few months, maybe 4.
“What do you think of it?” This I had a hard time answering, but I gave an honest answer. Self conscious. I was (and am) a big woman with big hair. You can’t be invisible like that. It’s a bold look, and you have to be prepared to rock it and be seen.
Slowly, I became more and more comfortable with my ‘fro, wearing it in a pouf some days:
And pulling into a front bouffant other days:
Because my hair isn’t even (back is longer than the front, left side longer than right), I rarely wear it completely out without a headband (it helps conceal the unevenness.) But hey, it’s all about pushing my boundaries, right? Who knows, maybe I’ll have a free fro come tomorrow morning. Anything’s possible.