Hair – Not the Musical, but the Real Life Dilemma Part 2

It’s hard to write sometimes. All these compelling ideas, thoughts and feelings come alive in my mind and fall flat when I begin to write. Why does that happen?

For months now, I’ve wanted to write another hair blog (wrote one in my other blog during college). There’s so much to put into this issue that I’ve been having with my hair lately or rather for years. It’s strange. As much as I’m fascinated and intrigued to go natural one day, I can’t help but also feel the pressure to do it. There’s no one in my immediate proximity forcing me to make that change.Yet, society in itself is like the cool kids on the block telling me to ‘Just do it.’ I feel the stares of society piercing down my back whenever I read certain African American magazines, witness the exquisite transformation of a fellow woman going natural, or hear some of those same women or those who’ve always been natural about how empowering it is. Yet, some of them accuse black women with perms of wanting to be white, having a lack of self-confidence, being weak, feeble minded or just being pathetically synthetic. They look down on women with the shiny locks because they feel because of a choice of hairstyle that it represents such a low and negative image of what it means to be a black woman. At least that’s what it feels like.

The versatility and organic nature of kinky locks are some of the things that I’ve grown to love, appreciate and even want for myself one day. But I’ve always been just too timid to take that step. For the longest time, I fed into the debate about having natural hair versus having chemically straightened hair. I’ve never really gotten used to that burning sensation from the lye. I started to tell myself that having unnaturally straight hair just didn’t agree with the essence of who I am based on my interests, personality and some of the stereotypes thrown against women who can’t get enough of that hair “crack.”

I attended the mental school of Hair Liberation aka “hate towards straight hair” even though I never really wanted to turn my back on it. My certificate for higher hair learning would be the final step of fully embracing my God given curls and rejecting the very notion of ever going back. But something has always stopped me. For years, a voice would be the alarm to remind me of what I must do. But I could never push myself to do it. All the deadlines and resolutions could never mask my reasons for removing my hair identity and replacing it with who I really was.

Truly, my hair doesn’t define me. I wear it straight because I like it straight because I’ve been secretly stabbing the very aura of my skin color with lye application every eight weeks of the year. The war of the natural hair versus permed/weaved hair debate has only gotten worse over the last few years. More attacks against relaxed hair have gone to new means. They try to fight it with personal stereotypes and now science has been thrown into the mix. (Or false science) Natural hair is a beautiful thing. I admire how more women are trading their love of the perm to the love of the real texture of their hair. But this is a lost cause if women are just doing it because everyone else is doing it. It’s a big step and I’d hate for women to just do it because of the growing hate for the perm. Yes it burns, it’s a chemical going onto your scalp and it’s just not natural. But honestly when I was seriously considering making this step, I was just so thirsty to know how relaxing my hair could potentially harm me.

Yet, I couldn’t find any real lasting effects of the chemical straightener other than that it can your hair more brown. There are so many African American women out there who’ve built up so much rage and hate towards this straight look. Why does that hate exist? For that matter, why should any hate exist? Our society could just look at it as another evolution in modern hair care, but must we really question or attack persons of our culture for a simple hair style choice? Other ethnicities do this all the time and you don’t hear too much about it being wrong. It’s an amazing thing to have natural hair. But it’s also an amazing thing to have it straight. Why do we torture ourselves with these stereotypes and negativity? It’s only another factor that divides African Americans. Maybe I need to do more research and discover the real unhealthy causes of a chemical relaxer if there are any. Because if I want to wear my hair natural, it should be a style choice rather than my universal thrust in the air for black power. My black is beautiful in any style.

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