My sisters and I have always had long hair, withstanding that one “Rio” debacle, but it eventually it grew back (re: THANK GOD)! I say this so that you all understand that I had a healthy relationship with my hair. My hair has always been very manageable, so to speak, so there was really never a “good hair” stigma that I had to contend with, unless you put me up against some of my relatives with that “Indian hurrr.” I was never embarrassed by my hair – it grew like stinkweed, so I was always cutting it, coloring it, or styling it.
I experimented with weave a couple of times, during high school, but the concept of it always turned me off. I much preferred my natural hair (re: relaxed), and weaves felt bulky and cumbersome, especially since I played sports all year round. But something happened during my sophomore year of college. I got an internship, and decided that I would get a weave. At the time, I would usually wear my hair out, or in braids, because it was so much easier to work out that way. To be honest, I didn’t really like it, but the idea of weaves became more tolerable, and by my senior year of college, I was officially weavetastic! I loved them! As a virtual style chameleon, this weave business was definitely my calling. I could have any color, any length any texture that I wanted!
This routine was all fine and well until, one day, I got sick of the relaxers and the weaves. I thought to myself, “Honey, there ain’t nothing wrong with your natural hair.” And half of the time, my real hair looked better than the crap that I was sewing or gluing onto my locks. I did my Big Chop, and I loved it! Not only did I love it, others did as well.
But alas, unrest is an evil bitch waiting to corrupt your sensibilities. I got bored. I starting thinking of colors to dye my hair, and worst of all, I started itching for a weave. And I mean crack head itchin’. So, what does any normal person do? I took a census. Virtually everyone I spoke to told me not to. They told me they love my natural hair just the way it was. Around this time, random strangers were complimenting me on my fro, regularly. The day I snuck out to the hair store, a random woman stopped me before I made my purchase and said, “Why do you want to put that stuff on your hair? You hair is beautiful. I would never cover my hair if it looked like that.” Guiltily I thanked her and went back to my office.
But low and behold, the addict’s itch came back, and by the end of that work day, I had snuck back to the hair store purchased a weave, and gone home to braid my hair up and sew that sucker on. Four hours later, I stood in front of the mirror, arms hurtin’, head hurtin’, greasy as hell ‘cause my air conditioner had yet to arrive, and the only thing that I could feel was disappointment. There was no high. No nothing. My drug of choice no longer did it for me.
I called my cousin (JenellyBean/Editor of KCCM) and sister in a state of panic, and I told them that I didn’t feel right. The hair felt heavy. It felt phony. It felt like it was not me. I decided to take everything out that night, and I woke up the next morning, and co-washed my TWA with no regrets.
This article is not written to bash weaves. I cannot guarantee that I will not get another weave in the future, because I probably will! What I do want my sisters to understand is this: How wonderful it is that I, a Black woman in America, stood in the face of centuries of oppression, marginalization, prejudice, and deception, and I chose ME. Natural, kinky, curly, coily ME!