Friday, February 27, 2009

To curl or not to curl

Curly Hair Take 1
Back in 98 I went to my stylist at the time and told her to cut it all off. It was scary and exciting as I've never been without hair, I was 21. She cut and cut until there was nothing but a teenie weenie afro cloud on my head. She added the gel and worked it through and sure as small miracles happen every day, my fro became curls. Small beautiful corkscrew curls. I was beyond delighted with the new look. My friends told me that they could see ME now. And this didn't frighten me at all. However, months passed and my hair began to grow. Fear was beginning to creep in. My hair is getting long, it's too thick, I'll never get a comb through it! I went back to my stylist and shyly asked for a texturizer. She worked the mild relaxer in and as quickly removed it. Ahhh, that's better. Hair that's still curly but not too kinky.

Introduction to Ceramic Iron
Three years later and my new stylist introduced me to the ceramic flat iron. What a wonderous upgrade to the old metal flat irons this contraption was. 410 degrees and my hair was smoother than it had ever been. Addiction to stick straight hair started, soon I was straightening my hair twice a week. I began to notice that my hair was no longer curly. Now it's wavy. Nice. But the new growth is thick, the middle is wavy and the ends are straight. I have to flatten this out some more.

The Dark Side to Flat Irons
My hair started to look flat, the ends were ravaged and for every half inch of hair I grew, my stylist had to cut off one inch to keep it looking healthy. This made no sense to me. She told me, more blow drying and less flat ironing. I didn't understand how something that can make my hair so smoothe and shiny also make it so damaged. I had to stop cold turkey and start over. Besides, I was really missing my natural curls.

Curly Hair Take 2
Let's try this again, this time with courage, determination and understanding. I went to my stylist and ordered 'cut it all off' and once again I had tiny ringlets all over my head. I felt light and free. I became somewhat invisible to men, and this was fine. My exboyfriend said that's because guys don't know if I'm gay or just broken up and suffering from the Angela Bassett syndrome (remember Waiting to Exhale?). I didn't care about it or the attention. I was happy. I had my curls back and this time I was going to take care of them instead of being afraid of them.

Almost 3 Years Later
No chemicals that I can't wash out have touched my hair since. I've been educating myself on hair and taken on a more experimental approach with products and a "wait and see" attitude. My hair is the longest I can remember it has been and sometimes I'm overwhelmed with the sheer volume of it, but I wouldn't want to hurt it again.