Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Little Breakthroughs (88/90)

I used to cry when I got my hair cut at the salon.

Actually, I’d be my sweet little self in the chair, holding my tears, disappointment and frustration until my Mom picked me up. I’d always ask her to do the talking before she left me sitting there in that chair in the hands of some adult that I was too shy to speak with.

 Tell them not to cut it, I’d remind her naggingly.

Sometimes she would, sometimes she wouldn’t. Sometimes they’d listen, sometimes they wouldn’t.

I’ve always had healthy, strong hair. Which for me meant that I had no qualms about abusing it through excessive heat and color treatments (once I was old enough). But, the heat and chemical damage would always catch up with me.

I’d cringe as I watched my hair fall from my head, to the apron tied loosely around me, to its final resting place on the floor, snipped quickly and carelessly by the stylist.

Still, I’d sit with my book in my hands, pretending that I wasn’t even fully aware of what was happening. I’ve always tried extremely hard not to be difficult, even if it meant I’d have to cry later.  Once the stylist was finished and handed me the mirror I’d glance too quickly to see anything.  Then, I’d smile, give a nod of approval and push the mirror away.

My mom would breeze in and begin laughing and talking with the stylist, the way that she does with just about everyone. I’d grow irritable and anxious as I sat waiting to get in the car to whine and complain and figure out how to work with what had just been done.

I’ve never been one for change when it comes to my appearance.  I’m a minimalist; I find basic pieces and styles that work and add personality with (still very basic) accessories.

And pull it all together with the hair. I allow the hair, more than the clothes, to speak for me.

When my team for my capstone class decided to add a little flair to our professional dress to match our fashion forward retail client, I immediately said, I’ll blow out my hair, but that’s all I got.

And so I finally went through with it for the first time. I blew it out that morning and rocked the big hair and a little bit of attitude. Of course, it was a little uncomfortable, but it was because of the big hair that day that I felt as fashionable as the girls that accessorized our all-black attire with fancy make-up, shoes and other bright jewelry.

In the year that I’ve been natural, I’ve done little by way of maintenance to my hair.  Aside from being busy and a little lazy there’s a lot I’ve still got to learn in terms of caring for natural hair.

Needless to say, I’ve gone without a trim the entire year. My hair has been shedding and knotting like crazy and, as I’ve read on the natural hair blogs, that’s how you know it’s time. Past time, actually.

After a few days of the blow out I decided to give the trim a shot. Myself.

I held small sections between my fore and middle fingers, pulling each one straight and trimming all that I could see through, as I’d inconspicuously watched the stylist do to my relaxed hair for so many years.

It took double the time I thought it would—two hours— and I needed to trim more than I anticipated. I didn’t fret too much about the length because one of the great things about natural hair is that it grows like weeds. It’s already longer than when I cut it last year.

But, I did hold off bringing the curls (and shrinkage) back to life with a fresh wash.

Until tonight, specifically because I knew I was in for a shock. I’ve got so much thick, fluffy hair that it was hard to tell any difference when it was still blown out. But I knew the trim would be apparent after the wash.

And it was. My hair feels much better and was easier to detangle, which was the point.

But, I can’t look in the mirror. Not for long. Still, I’ve decided to skip the whining and complaining and go straight to figuring out what can be done with what I’ve just done. 


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