Hair that won’t “behave!”

“I can’t play with you my mom says people with nappy hair have lice!” 
My 4-year old self heard when I wanted to play with children with sleek hair.

“I can’t marry you, what would happen to my children’s hair?”
My 19 year old was told when I had a crush on a boy with sleek hair.

“I must comb it out your hair is so stubborn!”
I’m told as a 4-year-old because I was screaming at the harsh way my hair was pulled.

“You can’t be a virgin people with nappy hair are easy”
Was said to me when I refused to sleep with the boy from the neighbourhood.
Naughty hair = Naughty nature.

“My head is burning!” I cried as straightening product was put on my hair at 5 years old.

“Cut it off, shave it off, please mom. I don’t want this hair anymore.” I cried as I turned 6 and took the scissors to one of my plaits so my mom would have no option but to get it shaved.

I went natural and sported the “no hair” look at 6 years old because I hated my hair. 
It was thick, it was unruly, it was hard to maintain and it was a sign of lack.

I lacked beauty because I did not have flowing locks tumbling down my back. 

I developed sores in my head because my hair was pulled so tightly in plaits to tame it that my eyes slanted. 

I used so many hair clips in an effort to tame the “bush” as my hair was referred to. 

I had long, healthy, thick hair until prejudice knocked into it. 

I loved my plaits until it became a source of amusement for adults in the neighbourhood. 

My mom would take us to the hair salon and I recall the hairdressers arguing because none of them wanted to “handle” my hair. They didn’t have enough time. 
It was too thick. 
Too much kink. 

It was always negativity associated with my hair until the day I turned 14 and wanted my hair cut into a bob. (No one explained why it wasn’t a cut for my type of hair)
The laughter and jeering from hairdressers haunt me to this day.

They cut it anyway and I looked as if l sported an Afro. Nothing about that cut said sleek, tidy bob. I cried until my eyes were swollen. I rejected my mom’s comfort. I wanted to die! Nobody would look at me now! I scratched my face so the focus would be on my face, not my hair.

At 15, I stumbled across my first hairdryer and after years of cutting, shaving, growing, colouring and straightening my hair, I finally found peace. 

I poured over videos available at the time to learn how to do my own hair. I ditched the straightening creams and the iron and brown paper I used on my hair to straighten it and I embraced my hair. 

I saw Dianna Ross, Donna Summer, and WOC with “big hairdo’s” and loved that look and so my journey to manage my own hair began. 

I fell in love with my thick, unruly bush of hair and we have had a wonderful relationship since then. Yes, we are still together and it hasn’t been a smooth road but as with every relationship, it has its ups and downs. 

I am my nappy hair and I am fortunate I still have it after the abuse I put it through.