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column formerly known as “The Hair Boggart” on my original blog

My 4c type hair is strong and has been through a lot over the years. My hair tends to do its own thing with minimal handling and has survived my ignorance and the opinions and care of my mother and others. I realized that I haven’t seen or acknowledged my hair in it’s un-altered state for about a decade. Now that I’m older, I want that to change.

Somewhere between February-March 2011 was the last time I had my hair relaxed. I didn’t do the big chop so I felt like Fawkes on a Burning Day* all these months every time I had to beg my sister to help me with my hair.

I’ll admit that it was poverty that made it so I couldn’t get my hair relaxed. I eventually took it as a sign. After a certain point, I realized I didn’t need to relax. Who was I making my hair convenient for? Why should my hair be convenient? I was never given a chance to love my hair and learn how to take care of it. I was only taught how to manage it and make it as presentable as possible. Everyone always told me

  1. You sho got a big head
  2. Look at all DIS HAIR! Mphm!
  3. Its so thick and coarse.
  4. You’ll never hair spiral curls, it’ll just puff up
  5. Queer Male Stylist: “Honey, *picks through Queen’s hair with mouth twisted up in distaste* your hair has no volume.”
  6. Are you sure you don’t want your hair relaxed?
  7. Get braids.
  8. Me: Cornrows make me look like a boy.
  9. Me: Cornrows make my head look fatter.
  10. Doesn’t your head feel lighter now that you got that hair relaxed! Don’t your scalp breathe better!
  11. *comb breaks* *comb breaks* *comb breaks* *comb breaks********
  12. *tender-headed*
  13. No one wants nappy, impossible hair.
  14. Hair is supposed to be straight or wavy.

I’ve always felt I was supposed to present my hair a certain way and been made to think I was supposed to be ashamed even when I didn’t necessarily feel ashamed. But being fat, Black, poor, smart, abused, prone to depression/angst/anxiety, and only suspecting myself to be attracted to more than just men at the time, I wanted once less thing to agonize over. People underestimate the racism and internalized hatred that attacks every aspect of Black women, including their hair, a lot of which is perpetuated by Black men and Black women themselves.

My 4c-mix type hair is strong and has been through a lot over the years, that’s the only positive thing I’ve ever heard about it when it’s not relaxed or braided. My hair tends to do its own thing with minimal handling and has survived my ignorance and the opinions and care of my mother and others. I realized that I haven’t seen or acknowledged my hair in it’s un-altered state for about a decade. Now that I’m older, I want that to change.

*reference Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

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