For the first time in years I began to see health return to my hair as well as volume, that elusive goddess!
It’s happening! It’s really happening! I thought as the hair on my nape began to graze my shoulders. The delusions returned, this time in the form of images of myself as a future Gabrielle Union or even– dare I say–B.
When I moved to Miami, I pushed back the anxiety of losing the only hairstylist who had successfully cared for my relaxed hair, telling myself I would find another, comparable professional.
I was moving to Miami, after all…So, when I rushed to a salon after a four month relaxer stretch, my first paycheck freshly deposited, I imagined myself emerging as Venus with APL hair, having reached a new level of goddess-hood as a certified dame.
I paid no attention to the hurried strokes of the Babyliss Nano Titanium flat iron* that the stylist dragged across my hair as she finished her work, and tipped her a handsome 25%. For one whole week, I was called “a model”, “sexy”, “gorgeous”–everything I had ever dreamed of as my hair swished and swayed and whored itself out to the public, shamelessly.
On my first post-relaxer wash day it was to my horror that I discovered why she hurriedly flat-ironed my hair to perfection. When water touched my hair, I transformed from Cinderella into Sam, the Chinese Crested dog: Clumps of my hair were half-wavy with limp ends, some sections dead straight, other sections like my “kitchen” were still nappy as ever.
Three years of healthy growth, ended in one afternoon. After an hour of tears, I emerged from my bathroom resolute to never let another pair of human hands touch my hair ever again. I closed the door on my fantasies of becoming “B” and began a journey of self-discovery that has tried and tested every part of me, from my self-confidence to my dating life.
It has been two years since my last relaxer, two years since my last pass with a flat-iron*, two years since I said goodbye to my chemical and mechanical heat-fixes forever.
My curls now graze my shoulders, and when stretched, I am a mere 2 inches from BSL. During this journey I almost became a product-junkie, almost resigned myself to spinsterhood, and almost gave up on all my dreams of attaining goddess-hood. #thestrugglecouldnotbemorereal.
But during this journey I have discovered a deeper love of myself, more than skin deep, or hair deep, and redefined my vision of a goddess from B and Iman, to every sister who has walked down this road, without a glance back: Head held high, spirit free, and self-worth emblazoned on every kink and coil.