I was raised by my mother, who when natural, has this beautiful thick 3C hair texture that is to die for and was passed on down to my son and nephew. It’s gorgeous. I love watching Maurice’s hair flow in the wind. It’s so soft and shiny. They’re just the perfect little curls that would make anyone jealous. My aunt has it. My grandmother had it. My sister and Ida, who are both mixed have the perfect little corkscrews plopped on top of the head looking like Shirley Temple on beauty meth. I have been surrounded by a myriad of beautiful curls. Curls sent down from heaven. Growing up with my mother, adoptive father, and sister I grew up like most black girls in America every four weeks getting the ever living crap burnt out of your skulls because it was perm time. That, oh so “necessary” time where you willingly subject yourself to the right of passage of literally chemically altering your hair so that it would be bone straight to please the masses.
Then, I became a woman. At 20, nearly 21, I decided to marry my first husband. I was no longer living with my mother, in fact, I had moved about 30 minutes away and I didn’t drive so the monthly burn fest was not exactly feasible. So after years of being jealous of my family’s curls, I took the plunge into NATURAL HAIR (hair hair hair hair hair). I was excited. I told my husband, a 22 year old
demon from the fiery tunnels of Satan’s anus white man who had never been with a natural haired woman and he mustered up enough energy and enthusiasm to say, “Whatever you want. It’s your hair.” That was enough for me. With that lackluster response, I oiled my hair and for weeks let it grow. I was so excited as I desperately tried to keep it from looking completely matted as I transitioned and then finally after 3 months, because I lack patience in pretty much anything especially myself, I went to the salon and shaved off all my relaxed hair. I turned to the mirror to look at my pillowy soft model like curls and there it was. For the first time in my life, I saw something I had never seen before in my 21 years of life.
My biological father.
I have never seen my biological father. I barely know anything about him. I know a name and that’s pretty much it other than how I was conceived but I constantly push that into the deep dark dank crevices of my mind and wish to keep it there. However, after all this time, all this hope, I was shocked. A man I never knew had finally given me something. Not a nose, gross habit that genetically appeared, not an extra toe, but his hair pattern. He gave me his zing bop.
Not one to rock the boat or to cry in public, I paid (and tipped) the woman who took five hours to reveal that my dreams are dead. Instead of the curls I lusted after, I was now the owner of this perpetually dry and tangled tumbleweed. My mother in law thought I looked cool. My
personal demon husband gave a noncommittal shrug. I opened a bottle Captain and cried.
I was determined to make this work. I thought that maybe, just maybe, the curls were there hiding. They must have been angry that I cut them. I lasted seven months and then I begged my mother to burn my scalp again. Oh the sweet smell of burning flesh and wasted time. Then the divorce happened. In a drunken rage, I started dating someone who lived about 6 hours away. After visiting them, I quit my job and moved in with them. I was free of the bonds of my horrible marriage. I was alive. I was a woman. I was going natural again. I…was…pregnant?
That’s right, Ida was a rebound baby and the cutest one you had ever seen! During my pregnancy, my hair grew like crazy. It was lush like a charcoal forest of happiness. It wasn’t the type 3 I wanted but it was amazeballs. Then, once again, life caught up to me. Long story short (a story for another time), we were broke and I had to move over 600 miles back home to live with my mother who promptly told me that if I was going to live with her the fro had to go! CUE THE SCALP INFERNO!
Fast forward two years: Ida is a very big huge personality filled two year old and I’ve remarried. Guess who’s going natural again! Oh yeah, Team Natural. We’re doing this! Wooooooooooooooooo! I’m 6 months in. My twa is fly! Woooooooooooooooo…..why is my hair falling out? What do you mean I’m pregnant? What do you mean I’m fired from my job? I’m too tired to deep condition and pre-poo. MOM!!!! GET THE FLAMETHROWER!
Maurice was born in the spring of 2015 and I was rocking a fresh perm. However, babies tend to take up a lot of time. So I really didn’t have time for the monthly burn. I looked at my curls peeping out quietly begging me for mercy. I was in the mirror looking at my hair. I remembered the pain of the chemicals. I remembered the pain of washing the neutralizing shampoo out of my eyes. My mother coming in because I was in such a rush that I would always end up leaving some perm in my hair because who needs edges? I remembered being in the salon chair at a beauty school and three stylist coming over with oil sheen to stop the burning of my head because my stylist was taking too long to apply it. I looked at my hair. I looked at myself. I saw the pain I had felt for years both physically and emotionally trying so hard to conform to this standard placed upon my hair telling me that the stuff that naturally grows out of my head, something is a part of me was unacceptable, unprofessional, and ugly. I walked out of that bathroom with about an inch of hair left on my head but a newfound understanding of me.
That was thirteen months ago.
It hasn’t been easy. I had a horrible haircut back in February. Last night, I cut off all my damaged ends so I’m looking a hot uneven mess. After a deep condition, I’m pulling out the clippers and I will try again. Having natural hair truly is a journey. It’s all about learning about myself, who I am. No journey is ever easy. The word “journey” has weight to it. It’s not a stroll, walk, or trip. It’s a long hard journey.
My name is Meg. I inherited my biological father’s 4C hair. My edges are a mess. My hair is dry 84% of the time and tangles are my constant companion on this hair journey.
TL;DR My deadbeat dad gave me a fro and I’m learning to deal with it.