I still get relaxers. Yup. *pause to allow gasps of horror*
I have no plans to stop. I neither like or dislike getting relaxers honestly. It’s just something I do to maintain a look. But, apparently, the rest of the uppity black community has some major issues with my relaxer. Without me having anything to do with it, my hair has become a badge of my self-hatred, a symbol of my submission to the majority standard of beauty, and a slap in the face to my ancestors.
Man, look, if we wanna get technical, my “ancestors” (grandma, great-grandma, great-great grandma, great great aunties) had various grains of straight or wavy hair. None had perms. I didn’t grow up around a whole punch of perms. I pretty much grew up the only one with a perm. So emulating the women who raised me, if that was my goal, would have involved some straightening. But that’s not the point of this post.
The point is I would like to opt-out of this whack ass psycho-analysis of self hatred that we have now bestowed upon all sistas who relax their hair. Because it’s just dumb. I surely can’t suggest that there aren’t some black people to hate black hair, but I can definitely say I’m not one of them. I get hair envy all the time. Sometimes it’s a relaxed sista and sometimes it’s a natural one. I’m equal opportunity out chea. Black women know how to stay fly regardless.
Admittedly, I have encountered some people who had issues with my hair as a youngster because it was, well, African. Really African. I was permed up when I was only 4. I wouldn’t recommend it, but that’s what happened. And that continued without me giving much thought to it until I was in my 20’s. But having a perm so young didn’t allow me to garner an opinion on my natural hair one way or the other. I didn’t think to myself “OMG I hate my hair!”. I didn’t ask for a perm. I just had one. Again, I don’t recommend it and wouldn’t give my daughter the option until she was a teenager. But it is what it is.
When I became an adult I realized I really didn’t know what my natural hair texture was. I had some idea, but I really didn’t know. I wondered what would my curl pattern be like. So, I let the roots grow out for a while. I recall someone saying “How can you be light skinned with green eyes but you hair is so nappy?”. I found this comical. I was fascinated and intrigued by the hair that was growing, and I continued to grow it out for a while. After a while, I went back to relaxing for two reasons:
1. My curiosity had been satisfied.
2. I did not want to have to change my lifestyle to include the styling and maintainance that would be required for natural hair.
Contrary to what your psychological analysis of my hair choices might lead you to believe, I don’t “hate” my hair, or “black hair” in general. I don’t want to look like a white person. Nothing about my perm makes me or my hair resemble a white woman. It makes me look like a black woman with a relaxer. I grew up around a mama, auntie, and cousins rocking their natural curl patters. I can remember a certain level of sadness when one cousin in particular relaxed her curly hair because I thought it was so awesome. So, I am not of the opinion that natural hair is unattractive. I am simply of the opinion that natural hair care ain’t for me and my life at this juncture.
To me, hair is not something I like to spend a lot of time on. I spend 2 mins on my hair in the morning, and 2 mins at night. That is all. Seriously. On a special night out I might add 15 mins. When I wash it, I don’t even blow dry it. I’ll take 10 mins to set it or wrap it and be done. And every 2-3 months I get a touch up. That’s it. I’m not about a whole bunch of flat irons and products. Feel free to catch me slippin cuz you damn sure won’t catch me caring. I am just not interested in messing around with hair. I don’t have the gene that makes chicks want to do hair. If I had an appropriate head shape, I’d probably just rock a low Caesar for real for real. I just want to look presentable in 2 mins or less. No elaborate hairstyles for me!
The idea of having to get up and do anything at all to my hair before work just sounds like a nuisance. Call me lazy. But I have other things I’m more worried about. And one thing I have learned from watching friends transition, is they have to actually DO their hair. And what they do to their hair varies greatly because of the huge variance in hair textures. So, a good bit of trial & error is involved. That’s serious man-hours. I loathe the thought of standing in a mirror doing hair. So, nawl, I’m not about to spend 6 months or a year trying to figure out how to make my hair do what it do. Testing products and whatnot. Ya’ll can keep it. I am just not that patient. I’m an American dammit.
So, while I admire a big, kinky mane, I probably won’t ever have one because I’m too lazy. So go ahead and judge my hair-laziness. I can live with that. But don’t try to frame my choice into a paradigm that assumes that naturals love being black and relaxers are for the brainwashed. In 2012, it really doesn’t have to be that serious. I should be able to walk around relaxed, natural, weaved, braided, or bald without other people judging me. What is on your head is not the same as what is in it.
Sound off in the comments. I am sure the Natural Hair Police are mad.