KINKY CURLY AGAIN

I finally did it; I reverted back to my natural kinky curly self after forty years of relaxing my hair. Going natural is not for the weak at heart or for anyone lacking in self-esteem; you must be strong to endure the head games and personal challenges. Maybe you won’t be faced with head games and challenges like I was but I can guarantee this, it will be a journey that will shake you to your core and undo some of the early teachings of “good hair” versus “bad hair” and beauty for black women.

Growing up there was the Sunday ritual, which was my Grandmother pressing my hair to remove the kinky curly. Back then, in pressing the hair a hot comb was placed on the stove top on the open flame, heated and then used with a specific amount of hair grease, to straighten the kinky curly hair. That precious time with my grandmother typically included: burning the tips of my ears with the hot comb, me twitching and shouting “ouch,” and my grandmother insisting that I be still.

I was willing to put up with this weekly ritual because as a little girl, I desired long, luxurious hair. I would secretly put a pillowcase or towel on my head and pretend it was my hair. Of course, my mother would scream, “take that mess off your head.” Then she would declare, “Your hair is beautiful, you do not need to cover it or pretend you have something different.” Society contradicted her words and I was conscious of the contradiction at a very young age. Everything and everyone I saw on television mirrored the opposite of what I was being taught. Of course, we had Ebony and Essence Magazines so I could see my reflection in those publications, however, the rest of the world contradicted everything my mother taught me about beauty, blackness, and “good hair” versus “bad hair.” By the way, there is no such thing as bad hair.

As I entered my teenage years it was now my turn to take over my hair care. It was time to do something a bit more serious and permanent. I was getting my first permanent relaxer to straighten my hair. However, there was nothing permanent about this process. There was maintenance that needed to take place every 6 to 8 weeks in order to keep my hair straight. I was willing to kiss my Sunday ritual goodbye and save the tips of my ears a lifetime of abuse by committing to this new routine.

Moving forward to 2018 the same holds true with regards to how the media and society still want to define beauty for black women. The difference today is black women are taking a leap and we are redefining beauty for ourselves. More and more women are going natural, welcoming the kinky curly back into the fold.

Beauty is skin deep and fleeting. It’s better to be concerned with what is internal. Build a strong foundation starting with self-love, solid principles, and impeccable morals, complemented with compassion, consideration, and empathy for others. Developing these characteristics is where we will find beauty as the true essence of beauty is how we love one another and treat each other with respect.

I can now confidently say, “My beauty is not my hair!”

 kinky curly II
.