Shaking My Nappy Head – Kelly’s Hair: A Commentary
I am sooo over the hair thing. Really, haven’t we been having this conversation long enough? We’ve all but banned the “good hair” discussions (at least the people I know, tired of getting their hair snatched out, have stopped saying it to me) and with the “natural hair” revolution, I was really feeling good about the overall self-image uplift that my curly haired sisters were experiencing. But even as we have supposedly begum to embrace our natural textures, aren’t we still just rating the “goodness” of our curls?
Now, I began wearing my hair natural waaay before it was popular. My family would laugh at my wild hair and my mom would ask “don’t you want to pull your hair back?” Now, don’t let me make you believe that I was fashion forward and ahead of the times. Uh no. Just lazy. And wearing my hair naturally curly was easiest.
After suffering major damage and cutting my hair short, as I discussed in an earlier post, A Life in the Day of Kelly’s Hair, I really began to research how to care for curly hair on many of the popular blogs dedicated to natural hair. I love these sites! I love seeing sisters of all nationalities with different hair types, lengths and textures all embracing their beautiful, natural hair!
On my regular co-wash day (that’s natural hair lingo that I learned on Curly Nikki!) I went through my regular routine that has proven to help me successfully strengthen and re-grow my hair from my short cut: washing with conditioner not shampoo, conditioning, moisturizing, no combing, protective styling.
As my hair dried and I loosened my braids, I spent the next 20 minutes stretching my curls to make them as long and loose as possible. And if you are anything like me, you have that one spot in your head that will never behave. Mine is in the top of my head. No matter what I do, it pretends to be a bird’s nest and there is no way around it. Most days I can coax it into what I consider to be acceptable, but sometimes it just wants to curl up nice and tight.
And it’s often on those days that I reference my curly hair sites where woven throughout healthy hair care advice is often how to “elongate” your curls; how to “manage the frizz” and how to “make your hair grow longer than it’s ever been.” And I began to think: isn’t this more of the same “good hair” thinking just juxtaposed onto a new hairstyle? Don’t we judge the beautiful-ness of our natural hair styles by how loose we can get our curl pattern to appear? How long our curls hang? Come on; be honest. We LOVE Tracey Ellis Ross’ curls but do we LOVE Viola Davis’? And if we love natural hair, shouldn’t we?
It was during this most recent fight with my resident bird’s nest that I asked myself “if you are wearing your hair natural, and that is what it naturally does, what exactly is the conundrum?” Well, my take on it is this: in an effort to escape the very thing that we are attempting to flee, we find ourselves right back in the same place because we really haven’t changed our ideas about what makes our hair beautiful. The fight should not be flat-ironed versus weave versus locks versus kinks verses curls. It should be the REAL ME versus the ALTERED STATE ME. Whatever my hair does or doesn’t do – its beautiful because its mine and its part of what makes me Me.
My curls in the front and kinks in the top are mine and are unlike anyone else’s. My swag doesn’t come from the way I rock my big nappy/curly/frizzy fro, it comes from the way I rock Me! My hair is just a part of being me and it’s just one more way to express who I am and that is a girl who’s comfortable with her Big Nappy UnElongated Hair!