Tag Archives: hair

New Growth

8 Dec

Hair is a historically precious currency in the Black community–its length, style and texture was both the owner’s passport and credit rating.

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In the days where straight hair ruled supreme, those with naturally kinky textures had to convert this raw material through chemicals and/or hot combs into a more socially acceptable mass.

But the magic was simply temporary. Within a matter of time, water, sweat or simple new growth–a fresh crop of raw, unprocessed, unstraightened hair–foiled the transformation. Like Cinderella’s golden carriage gave way to its pumpkin origins, the tight coils would always eventually return.

I’ve been natural since college. . .kinda. I couldn’t wait to leave home and all I knew to start fresh with my unprocessed, unstraightened curls. Haha. It was much harder than I imagined.

My attempts at twists, afros and everything in between looked nothing like images I dreamed of. For me, it represented the change from the girl I was to the woman I wanted to be: free, empowered and confident. A woman embracing what she was naturally given.

But the reality simply didn’t match the ideal. I had no idea how to manage, style and maintain what grew from my head. Luckily, one of the girls on campus helped me. She would transform my hair through intricate braids and designs. Love her for it.

My dreadlock journey is about nine years old. But like my initial naturalhair trials, it hasn’t been an easy one.

I had to learn how to care for them. Through warm weather, cold weather, through hair color, through thinning ends and intense swimming sessions in chlorine pools, I’ve had to cut my locks in two big chops over the years to ensure their health.

Health over looks. That’s become my mantra. So over the past year I made the decision to stop coloring my locks. Now, I can literally track the growth by the black roots.

In many ways, my hair journey has modeled my life. From the outside looking in, sometimes I’ve felt stunted. I’ve mocked its snail’s pace and felt my accomplishments should mirror my expectations and the growth of others. But my most frustrating moments, I am forced to turn my eyes inward, forced to examine the roots. And I remember that’s where the future lies: the new growth.

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Pass Me The Scissors

7 Jun

Snip. Snip. Snip.

I shut my eyes and tried to relax in the swiveling chair. It had been over a year since I had let anyone touch my locks. Partially out of stubbornness. Partially because I believed I was perfectly capable of maintaining them myself. I mean how hard can washing and grooming nappy coiled hair possibly be? It’s tougher than it looks the steady clink of the scissors reminded as they sliced through three years-worth of dreads. The salon floor bore the evidence. Continue reading

Hoodometry

5 Dec

The scent of Rudy’s signature chicken wafted throughout the rattling city bus.

“Mmmmmmmm,” I moaned while hungrily sniffing the air.

The culprit was a young girl with burgundy hair hunched over the front seat, guardedly nibbling away.

Gotta love it.

In Dallas, many jokingly dub it Rudy’s  “crack chicken,” because on any given day at any given time, rain or shine, passersby will find a faithful line of customers weaving down the meager restaurant’s stairs and a constant stream of cars in a drive-thru queue that almost always spills out into the bustling street. Continue reading

Run-in With a Rasta

27 Jul

“What’s the meaning of your dreads,” a man asked in an accent I couldn’t place.

It’s a question I get all the time. But whenever the asker bears a foreign accent, it’s almost always a trick question. One that regardless of the reply, seems to be deemed faulty or frivolous.

Not that I don’t have my reasons. It is the manifestation of my Black pride, my finger in the face of everyone who denounces nappy hair something that must be flattened and otherwise altered to be acceptable. But most importantly, it is the ultimate commitment of the noncommittal woman. Continue reading

Corporate Hair

22 May

I strained to catch the recruiter’s words as he rattled off the list of do’s and don’ts for the interview.  White or pastel button-downs only: No loud colors. Suits must be black, gray or navy.  Pinstripes were banned.  For women, absolutely no pantsuits, he continued. Skirts only. Apparently, in Texas, women in pantsuits aren’t taking seriously. He followed with mandates regarding hair: Absolutely no braids or twists, he bellowed, as he surveyed the room.  Continue reading