Whoopi Goldberg used to have a part of her comedy act where one of her characters, a little Black girl, would place a yellow pillowcase on her head, asking the audience to admire her long blonde hair. As a young Black woman, I understood exactly what Whoopi was saying. I, too, envied my white girlfriends who had long, silky, toss-it-over-your-shoulder-and-men-would-melt hair.
I was born with hair that was a wild, duck-billed platypus version of both my parents. My mom’s side gifted me with fine, fragile hair; while my father passed on his explosive, wiry texture that knots easily and absorbs all moisture. The icing? My hair staunchly refuses to grow past shoulder-length.
I held fast to relaxers (discovered in junior high) until a year ago, when I got my first weave. Finally, I had the long hair and texture that I had always dreamed of. Cindy Crawford’s blowing tresses weremine. I swanned out of the salon, flipping my tresses with serious sassy-tude… and men took notice.
But living in the Land of Long Hair brought a whole new set of issues. Sure, my new milkshake of hair was bringing all the boys to the yard, but they weren’t allowed to touch it, lest they discover the heavy construction of braids and a net underneath. Plus, I couldn’t touch my scalp through the netting, so I had to MacGyver a scratching implement out of an unfastened paper clip -- which led to tangling, which led to me moving less damaged pieces to cover these mottled areas, combover-style. The worst part? I didn’t get that I had to brush my extensions extensively or they’d create terrible knots, like wads of gum stuck my hair.
In due time, I realized that I was too low-maintenance for a weave. I even longed for my own problematic texture again -- at least it was something I understood!
After a year of struggling with my weave, I now have a short, relaxed, layered cut. I’ll never have long, shampoo commercial hair, but I love that I can just wake up, tousle my tresses, and go. I feel so comfortable in my skin -- and my newfound confidence has made me feel more beautiful than ever. The Me vs. My Hair battle is over, but I’ll admit it... my journey to self-acceptance has been nothing short of unbe-weave-able!