The hair on my head has been permed, bleached, mohawked, braided, fried, dip-dyed and weaved. A look at the so-called “Photos of You” on Facebook is misleading. I’ve had so many different looks you can’t tell it’s the same girl!
It’s not that I love switching up the game. The reality is I grew up despising my hair. While my sisters had fine hair that turned to springy curls when water was applied, mine required frequent “pressing” with the hot comb and regular visits to the salon for taming. When those roots grew back in, baby, there was nothing I could do about it! I hated that my hair was kinkier than my sister’s and I tried every style in the book in rejection of the texture I was given. In 2008, I started dating a young man I’d met in high school. He and I had mutual crushes on each other back then, but didn’t pursue anything until I returned home to Detroit after attending college in Florida. One thing was different about him from the start: he loathed my weave.
To be honest, I did too. It never came out the way the stylist said it would, never looked like the magazine picture I’d cut out or the girls I saw on the street. Before the month was over, I’d be ripping it out in frustration and surprisingly, my boyfriend would help me do that, too. He’d be right in the bathroom with the scissors, cutting out the tracks I couldn’t see and begging me to wear my real hair.
“Babe, I just hate that you spend hundreds of dollars on a hairdo just to take it out in two weeks,” he’d say.
“If my hair did what I wanted it to do, I wouldn’t have to do this,” I’d always yell back. My boyfriend explained that his hair wasn’t always curly either. But he took the time to find products that worked with his texture. He told me I could train my hair if I was just patient.
In 2010, I decided to transition. Managing the two textures was tough and I decided the only way I could see my true texture was to start over. One day I announced, “For my 25th birthday I’m cutting my hair. It’s gonna look just like yours.” My boyfriend wasn’t even fazed. His reply? “I don’t care. I don’t have ‘Long Hair Syndrome.’” That wasn’t the response I was expecting. I stood there confused until he explained, “I love you, not your hair.”
While I pride myself on being independent, the idea of going natural was intimidating. My big chop was a huge adjustment, but his support eased my fears and still helps me hold my head high on those can’t-get-my-hair-right days.
As my teeny weeny afro — and my comfort level — grows, he’s there cheering me on. When I did my first twist-out, he was genuinely impressed and told me how good it looked. Recently, I got in the car on a wash-and-go day and with the biggest smile he said, “Look at those curls! They are banging today! I told you it would happen!” He did, and I’m glad I listened.