Waiting for today...: Hair: A Metonymy, Part 2

Monday, June 2

Hair: A Metonymy, Part 2

con’t from: … Part 1

While I still struggled with my physical appearance in college, namely my wardrobe, my hair got much need rest.  During this time, I did not have the finances to have my hair done professionally and my stylist back home told me to quit relaxing my own hair.   Aforetime I learned to protect my hair with the use of scarves at bedtime and limiting the heat applied during styling.  In addition, I did wear my natural curls on a few occasions.  I would always go back to flat ironing my hair though as it would dry out and become increasingly difficult to manage.  But I did give up the relaxers and color for good.

Following The Herd.  I walked into a nail salon the other day to actually get a manicure.  Something I have not paid for in years.  It amazed me how packed it was.  Sure it was a Friday, but I thought of all the money spent, how often it was spent and disposition of these gals’ budgets.  It’s really none of my business. I just find it amazing that we, I’m talking about women, feel it necessary to file into salons every Friday or Saturday.  Keeping up with physical appearances to the point that I spend a hundred to two each month is just not my thing...~April 2008

Listening to others too intently about fashion and style, I didn't know what my aesthetic was.   But obeying the gospel made me question everything I thought I knew about life and living.  I took baby steps toward shedding the self-hate I attained by way of destructive criticism received since high school.  It wasn't until after short lived romance a couple of years ago did I finally begin to take stock of what was beautiful to me.  I came to find that a person being comfortable and confident in their own skin is what was most beautiful to me and something that I never quite experienced.  

As a black woman, flaunting my natural curls was a bold statement.  But more importantly it was a huge step toward self-love and acceptance... finding and securing my own identity.   Failing in so many ways to fit it in but being praised for having “good hair” led to the over processing of my hair.  I simply felt unpretty and unaccepted otherwise.  Over the two years that I have been naturally curly I've fallen in love with my hair.  Although my routine is more involved than before going curly, it excites me to try nourishing homemade recipes and, on occasion, minimally damaging styling techniques.  I am also gratified as I explain my hair care routine and offer up encouragement to those ladies ready to explore their natural curl potential.  Most of all, I love watching my curls transform.

The new love I found for my natural curls has also spread to other facets of my life.  As I began to discover that the person who I'd become was not the person that I wanted to be, I no longer wanted to fit that standard of society or subculture:  the same which taught me self-hate.  I eventually cleared my closet, makeup draw and jewelry box of everything that I viewed as fraudulent and started from scratch.  Then I moved through the rest of my home and found freedom in less.   Less meant not spending hundreds of dollars or hours putting forth a certain persona to still feel uncouth, worrying if I would be acceptable to the group.  I am on my way to being acceptable to me… to be absolutely free.