Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Why I have a perm

On a ludicrously personal note, I have finally realized that I MUST keep my hair relaxed. Most who know me outside of blogland will probably find that statement amusing while the two random folks who were keeping hope alive will find it disappointing.

The fact is, I like having nappy hair. Hair with texture is the coolest! Think of Maxwell or Lenny Kravitz. They wouldn't be the hotties they are without their rebellious manes. The near-bald basketball player cut doesn't even make half the impression a large, fluffy head of hair does.

That said, I once had a beautiful afro. I had a chemical-free head of hair and lots of it. I found it really amusing that people would stare at me and ask if my hair was real. The afro I can understand not believing but even when I wore it in two-strand twists [before it was a hot trend, mind you] other black people would ask if my hair was real! In those days, a mere 10 years ago, no one could really remember what black people's hair looked like because no one had seen it since "Black Power."

I've always felt that permanently straightening one's hair is a bit disingenuous. Why is it that the natural growth pattern of my hair was acceptable when I was a child but I was increasingly pressured to straighten it as I grew older? Why is it that I could not get a job in any but the most radically cosmopolitan of cities with my hair in its natural state? I would get my hair braided before job searching because the process went a lot more smoothly.

All this brings me to the present. I am in a state of mourning for the simple fact that my life no longer affords me the luxury of spending 6-8 hours washing and styling every week to maintain a head of rebellious hair. I was in the process of growing my hair out--about 1.5" of naps so far--and had to admit, however reluctantly, that I can't do naps anymore. Naps are not an option for more than 6" of my hair and my presently hectic lifestyle.

Straight hair doesn't REALLY fit my personality like the textured and unruly tresses of my past. Nappy roots are my heritage. I shall miss them dearly.

[FYI, the photo is not of me but her hair looks like mine. Check her hair diary out here.]


Jonnie said...

6-8 hours!!! Wow, I have always wanted to grow my hair out naturally but I had some of the same concerns--mainly about the style being too difficult to manage. Don't fret. You can still keep it real with a perm, you just have to do some extra stuff to make up for the Dark & Lovely. Burn some incense, put on some India Arie, and wear anything with African print and you'll be fine my sista! :-) I am sure you look great and represent all black women well no matter what hairstyle you rock.

t.HYPE said...

Word. Black Power. lol

Sister Liz said...

OH EMPATHY EMPATHY!! U KNOW I KNOW!! I fought society with nappiness until they made me realize the only place you can work in the state ov VA with your natural growth is a goshdanged warehouse...sweating and lifting things..in extreme weather conditions...and if you refuse?? Well, lets just say the term ROOTS has amiguous meaning here.

I know how you feel, everytime I see someone on TV or a commercial having the nerve to wear fake natural hair?? What the heck is that??

I always tell people I'll be back though. Once I rise to the top of my entreprenuerial empire, I will rock the crazy fro once again, we shall be victorious! And then I shall retire to the more conservative locks. Lol.

Even my journal blog name lingers in the memory of who I once was...GirlWithaFro, *sigh*


t.HYPE said...

How about in a remarkably black moment, I went to the hairdresser to get my hair dyed black--it had turned 1b or 2a or something--and my hairdresser wouldn't cut it. She's all, but your hair is so long! Ok, it's only shoulder-length. Geez. She even had another customer ganging up on me!

She said to wait 1 week and call her if I still wanted it cut!!! She is TOO funny. Shoot, I'ma call her tomorrow.

Susania said...

OK, I know I don't have the same hair issues, but I really empathize - I have curly hair and it's very pretty... as an entirely separate entity. If I leave it au naturel, it makes me look like Mama Cass. But if I cut it short and straighten it and get highlights, it actually suits my face better and makes me look more professional and less hippie/geeky. But oh, how I pine for the little ringlets around my temples!