Join Date: Feb 2012
My hair and how people have reacted to it over the years
(This is part of an email that I just sent, with a lot of "story" about my hair/life and how people have reacted to it in different places)
I love your story, and totally understand... When I lived in Detroit, my hair was just... not popular. When I was homeless (from 9-12) I wore really shoddy cornrows because that was all Mama knew how to do. My hair was fuzzy, frizzy, and worn looking by the time she was done with it, and I had kids calling me "The Godfather" because of the style, I suppose. The second my Auntie saw me, she made an appointment at her salon to "fix" it, and then started (again) the relaxers. I suddenly, for a day, had people wanting to be my friend. When I moved to GA, I had someone do these beautiful braids on my head. Crazy hair art with braids, because I had so much, it was thick, and strong (despite the relaxers a few year prior. Everyone had pressed/relaxed hair, though, in the school.
Fast forward to here. I haven't had all that much luck with wearing my hair loose, and having even slightly big or poofy hair resulted in comments, "Wow, that's big" or "What happened?" This was in high school. I once tried to do a relaxer again, shortly after that, and it didn't take. I tried a lot, and my hair just seemed to punch it out. I started flat ironing, but even when I tried to wear it down, within the first hour it would get noticeably bigger, where people would make the same comments and make me feel ridiculous. That was probably because the iron was $10 from Walmart. My hair can usually hold heat, and curls wonderfully. The one time, in the 11th grade, that I did nearly a full set of curls on the top of my head, I had people CHECKING ME OUT. Guys who'd never noticed me in this all white school, and girls saying "Why don't you wear your hair like that all the time? It's so pretty!" It was like the solution to pleasing people was curly hair, after all these years of trying to figure out what I had to do to make them happy.
But now that I'm older, I have people asking, why not wear your hair natural? An afro would be so cool, dude! I'm thinking they're thinking that if I turned out like a rapper with a pick and a huge fro, they'd like me more, or have something to play with. I would feel ridiculous. I would look ridiculous because I have problems with how my face looks... with hair framing it vertically. lol!
It's like an ongoing joke though, in the world here, with all my friends. Dude, you should wear your hair in a big fro, all the time! Dude, that'd be so funny! I wish I could have a fro! --- I hate to say it, but white people are crazy.
The other day, the same guy at work that called me out on my hair for being... natural-ish looking (it was tied down in big braids, but not flat or pulled drastically tight) and he said "Dude, what's up with your hair?!" That same guy said just yesterday, or the day prior, that a week ago my hair was huge. It was after I did a curlformers set and it came out bigger than I like, so I tried to pull it back into a ponytail/bun. I thought it was cute, natural, soft, healthy, with the odd twist. I had a flower in it, and I got compliments! But he said, "Seriously, I've never seen your hair that big. It was HUGE!" And made arm motions to his girlfriend and his mom. I responded "I hate huge hair, that wasn't the goal" and... Well I suddenly felt terrible for having a style that I thought looked good, but was apparently HUGE enough to remember.
One of my best friends-ish has been an advocate of mine, never leaving a conversation about my hair without saying how difficult it is to work with, how long and strong it is, and how it's like no other head. (Respectfully, of course) And whenever someone says, "It's just hair" or "It just looks frizzy" she's quick to set them straight on how different it is. My husband knows how crazy it is, his mom, and everyone she talks to (cause she's spent loads of time twisting it with me). I have a lot of support, but I never really know what to do with the other friends, passersby, or just plain ignorant people.
I just end up feeling terrible, reaching for a hat, pulling up a hood, trying to pull it tighter...
I don't what all that's supposed to mean, but I think I'll put it in a separate thread along with this message to you! Thank you so much for sharing your story--I'm definitely getting better with my hair, styles that last longer, detangling tools, and learning how my hair reacts to butters, conditioners, leavins, oils... It's crazy how long I've gone without becoming a product junkie and learning this stuff sooner. It's also amazing how I've stayed natural, with no help, and how the work I've put into keeping my hair DOWN (protective styles, buns, rarely washing) has given me all this natural hair that people are now dedicating their lives to getting.
If you didn't know, I decided late last night to do a henna treatment. I don't really have a big reason, but I'm hoping it'll help with conditioning, and to work on some of the coarseness of my hair. And also, to help with detangling! If the world flips on it's axis and I get some weight on my hair, and it teensy bit of curl loosening, I'll die happy!
~My salvation lies in your love... Alexi Murdoch~