Saturday, June 02, 2012

30 days of birthday - day 2: hair apparent

"To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance." - Oscar Wilde

"The most terrifying thing is to accept oneself completely." - Carl Jung

Source: via Queen on Pinterest

a bigger part of self-love and self-acceptance for me was coming to terms with understanding and appreciating my hair in its natural state. once upon a time, this hair felt like a curse. once upon a time, everything around me -- advertisements, pop culture, other black people -- seemed to confirm this. my hair was its own entity, a second person in my equation of me as individual. even my mother would call me and ask about my hair, as though it were someone else. what i did with my hair had everything to do with the way the world treated me. straighten it and somehow i was something akin to normal. let it go natural and i was a renegade, a dangerous and unpredictable element.  everything about my character was suspect and for some strange reason, i was considerably less attractive.

everythimg changed when, as a cast member of RENT, i was required to bleach the tips of my already short permed hair. it promptly fell out, of course.  in clumps. in a dream, i saw myself on stage in a silver lame gown, playing a silver national steel guitar that gleamed in the spotlight. there were cameras swinging around me. i stood alone, on a platform. i didn't own a silver national steel guitar, nor did i know how to play one. but that hair was kind of fantastic. i had to have it.

what was especially interesting was that my hair was done up in bantu knots, a style that i had never seen before. unable to find it in black hair care magazines (surprise!) i promptly went to a natural hair salon in midtown and described the hairstyle to all the specialists. only ONE of them knew what i was talking about - michelle london. i stuck with her like glue until she moved to philly a few years ago. she introduced me to chrissy j and the rest is history.

the thing is, the bantu knots are no longer enough. i want long natural hair. the thing is, we as black women have been taught that we can't have long hair unless we have dreadlocks -- and NOTHING could be further from the truth. i know that it will take years to get there, but thanks to the love, attention and good kind treatment i've been giving it, i'm off to a flying start. now that there is a wave of naturalistas out there and so many of us are transitioning away from permed/relaxed/chemically treated hair, it's easy to find community, information and advice on the internet. (and there's a TON of it.) natural hair is BIG business -- its funny how far off the mark the major beauty retailers/suppliers are on this one.

as it turns out, my hair really is its own entity. instead of ripping at it out of anger and frustration the way i used to, because it wasn't the hair i was "supposed" to have (and what was that, anyway?), i take a day or two (or three if necessary) to detangle, wash and deep condition it.  i am shocked and amazed by how patient i am. then again, love is patient -- so there you have it.

truth be told, i've become a product junkie (just became a vip member of curlbox and i'm about to join curlkit - yaaay!) and an alchemist of sorts, blending oils and such into the just right concoction for my hair and  experimenting constantly to see what works best for me from season to season.

if you are a naturalista like me or just curious, here's a listing of my top ten favorite sites. enjoy!
  1. long hair, don't care - "the audacity to grow long hair"
  2. black girl with long hair - "celebrating the dopeness of long hair"
  3. curlynikki - "hair therapy"
  4. be a think and grow chick! - (vlog) i love this sister. she is all about it!
  5. think and grow chick! - the blog
  6. coloured beautiful - the vlog
  7. mahogany curls! - (vlog) i love this sister, too! she's a wonderful teacher.
  8. - "a celebration of beauty, style and fly hair by kinkykurlyqueen" and it is!
  9. natural hair community - a clearinghouse of information about natural hair
  10. afroniquely you! - "you are intended to be: unique, free, beautiful!"
i've got a wall of guitars now, by the way. and silver lame seems to suit me...

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