“My whole family has good hair, except for me.”
Please excuse the term, but this is how I used to talk. What is “good” hair anyway? When I was a little girl, good hair was silky, wavy, and definitively curly. I clearly remember wishing my hair was silky and straight like all the women on my mom’s side of the family. My hair was big and bushy and too knotty to wear “out” like my cousins, so I always had to wear braids and twists. No hair blowing in the wind, no hair to whip around like the white girls in dance class, and no cascading curls to dangle from my ponytail. I longed for straight, flowy hair that didn’t have to be braided or greased. Eventually, I discovered that there is this magic in a box called a relaxer that could make my hair hang and shine. I even thought that a relaxer would allow me to have “wash and go” hair. Like I said, I thought it was magic in a box. I harassed my mom until she finally gave in and let me get one.
That was the first paragraph from the very first post I wrote for The Write Curl Diary – My Hair Story. I like to go back and read my old blog entries, journals, and reflections because I always learn something from myself. I remember how pressed I was for straight hair. I’m sure that I even shed tears about it. And finally I got that straight hair that I wanted – or so I thought.
Even when my hair was relaxed, it would get fuzzy and poofy very easily. It was like a wild animal that had been tamed, but was easily triggered to revert back to its natural ways. Looking back, I have trouble connecting with that girl who was so pressed to change such a natural, distinctive attribute. It makes me think about areas of my life now that I so desperately want to change. Do I want to change these things for my own self-development? to impress or please someone other than myself? to fit in?
Back then, I defined a certain grade of hair as “good”. When my hair didn’t fit that mold, I rejected its natural texture and insisted on altering it. These days, I regard certain character traits as “good” and too often I assess myself as lacking these “good” traits. What I can learn from this part of my hair story is that we each define our own “good” by simply being as true to ourselves as possible. We should not distress ourselves by trying to change what flows from us naturally. Why should we deny ourselves? Everything that flows from us organically will bring about enriching experiences that reinforce our identity and that, my friends, is universally good.