While in high school II spent every other Saturday with my best friend Taylor in her Aunt Hootie’s salon. We’d get there by two and not leave until quarter to nine. “Were you scratching?” was the 10-million-dollar question of the day. “No” I was lying. It didn’t matter in a few moments the tub of “creamy crack” was on the counter, the gloves were on, and the brush was in hand.
“Just give me a few more seconds, I got to get the last piece then we can go to the bowl” By now It’s burning. I’m fidgeting. Aunt Hootie knows I’m suffering. “Go on to the bowl.” I practically run over. She meets me there and the rush of water and the jingle of her metal bracelets drown out the beauty shop gossip and 97.1 QMG in the background. Eventually I’d end up under the dryer next to Taylor with a stack of magazines, a bag of oatmeal cookies, and lemonade from the Peanut Man in out laps. I’d listen to music, read, eat, and watch the outside light disappear Every so often Aunt Hootie would come and check my hair to see if it’s dry. Once it was I got back in her chair while she put on the finishing touches. Then I’d pay, and we’d go back to Taylor’s house.
Flash forward to 2011. I just graduated and got accepted to a mediocre community college. I stopped going to the salon. As a result, my hair was breaking off. I didn’t know how to fix it. Then I just randomly decided to not get relaxers anymore. I got in the shower for my first wash day on this new journey. 15 minutes later I was looking at my wet stringy hair. I still had no idea what to do at this point. So, I poured a glob of heat protectant serum in my palm, vigorously rubbed it throughout my parted hair, grabbed the blow dryer, dried my hair in less than 10 minutes, I left the bathroom with two flat twist on both sides of my head feeling accomplished, confident, yet still clueless.
Flash forward to 2018. My hair is growing down my back. I haven’t used heat in three years. I know everything there is to know about taking care of my hair. I spray sections of my hair with aloe vera juice and water before gently detangling from the ends up, I section my hair before washing, switch between regular shampoo and cleansing shampoo, use hair mask, and spend two to three hours in front of Netflix moisturizing, sealing, and twisting my hair. People do admire my hair. I was sitting on a bus once and a girl behind me told her friend she wanted to touch my hair because it looked so soft and moisturized. A lady came into my job and asked me for hair advice for her daughter. My friend says that my hair is “hair goals”
But sometimes, I hate my hair. Sometimes I look in the mirror in the morning dreading the fact that I have to do it. Days starting off good have gone sour with every snap that comes from my comb claiming another strand. I’ve literally have almost cried after a failed attempt to put my hair in a bun left my last somewhat decent, not- so- stretched out hair tie ripped in half on the bathroom floor. A lot of times I love my hair and don’t mind spending all day washing and conditioning it, and spending the next day sealing in that moisture with coconut oil and styling it. I think my hair is a huge accomplishment. Especially because some people think that black hair can’t grow. But sometimes I look in the mirror and wish I would have never gone natural, or that I would have just locked my hair. I’ve even wished that I was born with, “good hair”, Despite my occasional wishes for finer hair or locked hair I’ve concluded that no matter what I’m always going to have to spend hours every other Saturday doing my hair. While I sometimes hate dealing with it I love how healthy it is. It’s a part of me now.