Shannon of writes:

There’s a picture that sits on the mantle at my parents’ home that attracts my grandmother’s attention every time she passes it.“Now THAT’S how I like your hair,” she’d tell me during every single visit. “You look so pretty that way.”

I don’t recognize the person looking back. She has my face, but her straight, silky and swinging locks in no way resemble the tight, kinky coils that are a distinct part of my current look.

The photo was taken in 2002, a year or so before I decided to start wearing my hair natural nearly all of the time. But to my grandmother, it represents a period in which I looked more “refined” and “beautiful.”

I’m not surprised. My grandmother was born in 1922 and grew up in the 1930s and 40s — a time when no woman would dare consider wearing her hair in its natural state. They might have been “natural” in the sense that they didn’t use chemicals to change their hair’s texture, but some kind of manipulation with a hot comb or styling with braids was always done to prevent any sign of kinky texture from making an unwanted appearance.

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