“Don’t let anyone play in your hair.”

“No small braids, your hair will fall out.”

“Don’t wear a ponytail every single day, you’ll get a bald patch.”

“You don’t need to put all that heat on your hair.”

While she may have had my hair’s best interest at heart, my younger self was absolutely not interested in my mother’s sage advice. Why couldn’t she just let me get the 24” micro Yaky braids of my dreams? Quit hating, Mom! All I wanted to do was have a head full of microscopic braids so I could tie a rhinestone bandana around them, what’s the harm in that?

My signature reply, “It’s the style, Mom!” did very little to persuade her. Every creative hair idea I ever had was met with opposition. I was just trying to keep up with Moesha and my mom just wasn’t having it.

I missed out on interlocks, micro braids, and my most desired style, Poetic Justic braids. All were strictly forbidden. The only time I was allowed to get braids of any sort was the time I convinced her that it was part of my school’s Black History celebration. After about a week, they were a mere memory.

High school was met with a few compromises. My dreams of Beyoncé blonde was reduced to a compromise of three chunky face-framing highlights and I was given red extensions to appease my Avril Lavigne dreams.

Mom was all about healthy hair. Only my cousin, a licensed cosmetologist, could apply heat or a relaxer to my hair. I was given a lot of freedom when it came to clothes and wearing makeup, but absolutely no wiggle room on hair. I played by the rules until the day I moved out, otherwise known as “the beginning of the end.”

“Don’t let anyone play in your hair.”

Sorry, Mom. I definitely got a relaxer by a stylist I didn’t even bother to research. Oh, and instead of a touch-up he put it on the length of my strands. My hair looked like straw and I lost about 4 inches. Guess you were right.

“No small braids, your hair will fall out.”

Sorry, Mom. I got micro Sengalese twists and thought it was a bright idea to take them out the night before a huge midterm. It took all night and one twist at my hairline knotted up. I panicked and cut it out at the root. The result? A lovely bald patch in my hairline until I discovered Jamaican Black Castor Oil. Guess you were right.

“Don’t wear a ponytail every single day, you’ll get a bald patch.”

Sorry, Mom. When you’re a lazy college student you do things like that. Between the patch and my destroyed hairline, I was starting to get the picture. Guess you were right.

“You don’t need to put all that heat on your hair.”

My first heat break was when I started considering going natural. The way my hair responded to just being left alone made me seriously consider giving up relaxers and straight styles in favor of healthy hair.  At first my mom was a bit skeptical about the big chop, but now looking at my growth and progress, I’m happy to say she gets it. Guess I was right, right?