Early Memories of Natural Hair: Extensions
Relaxers (or perms as I knew them growing up) were not a normal thing in my family. Women in my family wore their hair natural but not necessarily loose. After being part of the natural hair community for about a year and some months now, I’ve come to understand that getting a relaxer was like a right of passage for young girls in their pre-teens and teens. In my family, you came of age by getting extensions.
My cousins and my mother rocked all kinds of braided styles. Think of any black celebrity of the 90s who wore braids and that’s how the women in my family wore their hair. They even added yarn to their hair! My younger cousin and I pleaded to have our hair done like that because it seemed grown up. My mother said that she would do it for us when we turned 12. We were excited for a little while, counting down the months and years to get our hair done. But when the time came both of us had lost interest; I had become a bit of a tomboy and disliked the process of getting my hair done. And I became fully aware that it took a long time to add extensions. So I buried the idea.
To this day, I never get extensions… honestly because of the time commitment. I do not want to spend hours getting my hair done, LOL. Which is another reason I probably thought that having natural hair was limiting, unruly, and annoying because of all the time it seemed I had to invest in it, while other people with “nice hair” could shake and go and didn’t seem to slave away for hours doing hair.