Posted by: sistermom1 | September 11, 2009

My daughter has a lot of hair

My lovely daughter just had her 10th birthday, and one thing I am learning to manage for/with her is her hair.  Now, I have never been a hair person.  I have worn my hair in many styles over the years — a short afro, cornrowed, twisted, braided —  even a $700 hair weave, which did look pretty fierce, but was difficult to maintain (I am a diva, but did I mention that I am not a hair person)?   I decided that since I have had my hair for over 50 years, and my daughter has soooo much hair (long and thick), one of us had to get a hair cut.  It was me.  Now, my hair is texturized and very short and easy.

So, here we are, finding the best place to get her hair done.  There are many places to get it braided – some with extra hair added – that do a good job while treating her professionally.  The extra hair is beautiful but more costly than I ever want to spend on anything for my daughter’s hair at her age.  I asked my fabulous mom network, and there are many talented hairdressers who work from their homes who can also do it.  Braiding it is necesary because my daughter swims often and has swimming lessons at her school, so a lot of blow drying and straightening is not a healthy choice for her.  And with my current health challenges, it is imperative that it be as easy as possible for her to look like someone cared about her enough to fix her hair!

I am in no way complaining about my daughter’s hair.  Not really…I am very grateful that she will not have the hair challenges that I had growing up.  Most black women know what I am talking about — burns from hot combs, painful perms to straighten what did not come naturally, being “tender-headed” with a stylist who was not as sensitive as you might have needed her to be — the list of challenges goes on for many of us African American women.

My hair has always been a challenge for me, if I am being truthful.  Having long, healthy, soft tresses was always presented as the preferred option to my short, dry, natural hair.  In the African American community, many young women have beeen saddened by the gap between the reality of their current head of hair and the dream head of hair that is often presented as a goal.  When I was growing up, short hair made you “look like a boy” and natural hair was simply not as attractive an option.  Print and TV ads did not do anything to dispel this notion until the late 1970’s, when Black really became “beautiful” on Madison Avenue.

I am not qualified to do an accurate history of African American hair and the challenges it has faced in our culture – there are already some great books out there on this topic.   And Chris Rock’s latest movie, Good Hair is supposed to deal with this topic in a funny, factual way.  I just felt like expressing my frustration about caring for my beautiful daughter’s hair.  Especially since I am unable to stand up independently to wash, blow-dry or braid her hair, I have really had to give up control of her look on a day-to-day basis.  This was hard – and is a recurring theme of life with my MS detour.  Giving up control – or the illusion of control – will be something I write more about later – it’s late and I need to get SOMETHING posted……


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