Ever since I could remember, my mother did my hair. It was our Sunday evening routine. We would come home from church, she would cook dinner, or maybe take a nap and then cook dinner, or maybe start my hair and then cook dinner, but whatever the order, my hair was always on the agenda.
At first, it didn’t really bother me. I had a ton of hair, and I didn’t know what to do with it, so my mom took it upon herself to tackle it for me. It wasn’t until I got to middle school and puberty hit, that I became more ‘hair conscious’ and wanted to start wearing my hair pressed and straight, instead of the usual braided style. When I pitched this idea to my mom she immediately said no.
She said that I was too young to have a straight style, and little girls should keep their hair braided. Little girl? I mean, granted I was 12, but I wasn’t a little girl.
I was quickly approaching 13, and I wanted to try something different. I wasn’t going to take no for an answer, so one Saturday afternoon when my mom was out shopping I decided that I was going to try to straighten my hair, myself.
Call me naive, but in order to straighten my hair, I assumed that the first step was to apply the relaxer. I mean, I’ve seen my mom do it to her hair a million times, so I figured how hard could it be? Apparently seeing someone do something and actually doing it to yourself is a whole different story because I didn’t even get halfway through my head before my head was on fire! I mean it felt like someone had poured hot acid onto my head.
I panicked and immediately ran to the sink to wash the relaxer out, but it wouldn’t stop burning. That was when my mother walked in and without thinking rushed to grab the neutralizing shampoo from under the sink and poured it over my head and washed it and the relaxer out.
Afterward was when she yelled at me and asked me what was I thinking?! She said that I better be thankful all of my hair didn’t fall out, because that what would have happened if you don’t wash relaxer out all the way and especially if you aren’t using neutralizing shampoo.
She then told me that she made me an appointment to the salon for my upcoming 13th birthday to get my hair straight, and if I would have just waited I could have avoided that whole fiasco.
Needless to say, I never tried to relax my own hair again, and even to this day, before I became natural, I never tried. I guess you can say that experience scarred me for life.