Sunday, February 28, 2010
Natural is cool enough is a reality that took me 25 years to reach. I always knew it, intuitively, deep down inside, when I sat down next to the stove, lifting my little shoulders up, for fear of being burned when my mother straightened my hair, coming very close to my forehead as she tried to make every strand of my naturally kinky hair straight. I remember how pretty I felt after she would wash my hair and twist it so that it could dry before she called me in for straightening. I recall looking in the mirror and not being certain about the straightened change that had taken place, which had transferred me from my natural appearance to a modified version in terms of my hair. This went on until I was bout 12 when my mother told me it was time for me to get a perm. I didn't know exactly what this meant for me but I knew that my mother's hair had a straight texture and she would say that she was going to the beauty parlor to get a touch up. On the day of my first trip to the beauty parlor, I sat in the chair watching the beautician mix a creamy solution. I felt trepidation. My mother had washed my hair about three days before and put it in neatly parted twists. The beautician took out a twist, and with a fine tooth comb that she had dipped in the creamy solution, she combed the solution through my hair. She did this repeatedly until my hair was completely saturated. I felt a warm sensation on my head and then she said "let me know when it is burning." A few minutes later, I looked at her with fear in my eyes and said "it's burning." "Let it stay on a little longer," my mother said to her. "I want it good and straight." Tears began to surface and finally my mother nodded to the beautician who rushed me over to the sink and quickly started rinsing. The burning sensation ceased and I could feel my hair dangling in the sink. When she finished rinsing, I touched it. It felt different...soft and silky...not like my natural hair texture. The beautician rolled my hair with curlers and put me under the dryer. After what seemed a long time, she brought me back to the orignial chair and took out the rollers. She did not comb out the curls. I looked like a black Shirley Temple! My mother was thrilled but I just stared at the girl in the mirror, who seemed unrecognizable to me. This perming went on until my last year of Junior High/Middle school when I rebelled by refusing to go to the beauty parlor and began to wear a full-blown afro. My mother hated it, but I loved it. I ultimately advanced to braids, reverted back to perms, then braided extensions and ulimately locks which I have now had for over 18 years. It has truly been a journey for me to realize and stand firmly in th fact that for me, Natural Is Cool Enough. I have decided that I am no longer that Black woman who considered perms and weaves because I thought natural was not enough. Natural is Cool Enough. Now that is N.I.C.E.!
Posted by Patti Rose at 7:17 AM