Having an African American mother and a half Hispanic, half Italian father made it difficult for my sister Dee-Dee and I to relate regarding our physical appearances — especially when it came to our hair. My mom has been straightening her 4C hair for years, and my dad’s hair was fine and straight. Dee-Dee and I somehow ended up right in the middle, with wild 3B curls.
I barely made it past age four before my mother officially gave up on trying to tame my locks. Although my sister is only one year younger and had the exact same hair type as me, my mom chose to book me a hair appointment at the tender age of five. For years she had been going to a stylist by the name of Stallin. At five-years-old, I thought his name was “Styling.” Even though I had no idea what he would be doing to my hair, I felt like I would be in safe hands.
I climbed Stallin’s chair in anticipation of receiving my first relaxer — whatever that was. I had no idea what was going on until he spun that chair around and let me see myself in the mirror. My hair was beautiful. It was straight, silky and I could actually run my fingers through it with ease! I was excited to go home and show my “new” hair off to Dee-Dee.
Sure, she appeared to be happy for me. During playtime, she would brush my hair and help me style it for fun. My ego inflated, and from that point on, I received a relaxer for the next 18 years, while my mom kept Dee-Dee’s hair natural.
I enjoyed it, but sometimes I would wonder what I’d look like if my mother had decided to keep my hair curly, too.
Although I presume it will be challenging, I am ecstatic about letting my natural locks come back to life.
One day, I decided to share my feelings with Dee-Dee. She admitted to me that she felt the same way towards me; she had always wondered what it would be like to have straight hair. She told me she was extremely jealous of the fact that my hair required little maintenance and was easy to style. I told her that I was envious of the fact that her hair had a gorgeous texture, volume and bounce. I suddenly felt deprived of what I could have had naturally as well.
Now that I’m 22, I feel like I still have a chance at revisiting my roots — no pun intended. After years and years of processing, dyeing and solely relying on my relaxers to take care of my hair for me, I feel like there’s going to be a long road ahead of me in this transition phase. Although I presume it will be challenging, I'm ecstatic about letting my natural locks come back to life.
When I first shared the news with my family, Dee-Dee was excited for me. She recently decided to get her first relaxer, so we’ve agreed on giving encouragement and tips throughout this new process for both of us. My mother, however, expressed her feelings of concern. She warned me of the difficulty of maintaining my naturally curly hair, but she's supportive of my decision either way.
I can't wait to get back in touch with the “original” me. After all these years, I can say that I am more than ready to embrace my wild and crazy locks!
I guess the grass — or hair — isn’t always better on the other side, after all.