Sunday, March 23, 2008

Afro puff

My hair is natural.  Finally, after about 8 months it is getting where I want it to be.  I love it, I am consistently happy with it and never feel regret or doubt about it.  It's really is odd that I should even think that way, that I should utter that statement, but we live in a world where it is considered bizarre that a black person might want to sport their own natural hair.  People are baffled when you revel in your hair texture, the kinky coils, the tight corkscrew curls.  I spend a lot of time with people from Latin America, Brazil in particular, and they are amazed that I would want an afro.  I have been asked numerous times why I don't straighten my hair, tonight it happened again, after a woman noticed that my hair, when pulled straight, reached to the nape of my neck.  She looked startled, particularly because it looks only about two inches long.  "Why don't you straighten it?"  she asked.  "It would be so pretty and it would blow in the wind."  

I've heard this basic sentiment from all people of color.  Only white people say "Oh my God, I love your hair, it's so beautiful!"  I have my theories about that, of course, but that's another commentary.  It's crazy really that the natural me is considered a "style" and not just me.  It's amazing that the accepted and EXPECTED hairstyle for black women is one that requires the use of harsh chemicals or searing heat to completely alter the hair.  What's even crazier, is that we do it.  I did it forever.  It's considered part of a beauty regimen:  makeup, clothes, manicure, touch up.  Really, it's terrible.  Not that people straighten their hair, but because they feel that they have to.  Black women feel like they don't look neat or taken care of or that their hair is not done if it's not straightened.  Even the ones who aren't self-hating think that.  Some may say it's just easier, but it's not easier at all, it's just that they've accepted that straight hair = attractive and straight hair = female beauty.  Not me, I love my hair.  Maybe even more because I'm lazy.  I know that I may blow my hair straight someday to change up my look temporarily, but it will never again be because 'I have to get my hair done.'  And most importantly, no more chemicals. Ever. 

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