12 January 2007

Hallelujah, I Adore It!

So now that we all know how to find our cervices if we have them, it's time for a little fluff and fun.

I'm devoting this post to hair. I'm all about the hair, and it's a good thing, because I have a considerable amount. At last measure, my hair was just beginning to creep past my butt.

I was born with a head full of jet black hair. By the time I was about 3 or 4 my hair was about waist length if you pulled the curls straight. My hair is extremely curly, and as a kid, it was impossible for me to take care of it myself, so my mom did my hair every day until I was about 11, when i got my first serious hair cut. I went from waist length to just below my shoulders. I loved it! I was liberated! I was like everyone else.

I got nothing but really negative messages from many of the elder women in my family, like my grandmother. You'd have thought I'd taken the scissors to her head. Well naturally, that just made me want to cut it shorter. By the time I was 14 I had wicked short hair--about 2 or 3 inches in the top, and totally buzzed in the back. At 15, due to an unfortunate accident with a distracted hair-stylist, I had a Duran Duran-inspired mullet. It required excessive amounts of blowdrying, hair gelling, and curling ironing, but I made the most of it. Luckily my hair grows quickly. In eight months the mullet was gone and I had hair past my shoulders. Then I entered the phase of big hair. Make that BIG hair. It was the 80's, what can I say? I had an arsenal of hot rollers, and lots and lots of curly. Plus I was a teenager. It was around this time that I was also introduced to the Black woman's beautiful lie--rather lye: the chemical relaxer. It only really meant that I spent less time with hot rollers every day. I didn't understand what my otherwise lightning fast-growing hair seemed to stop growing. Or why my I let the beautician leave the chemicals so long that my scalp burned.

In college I did the wash and wear thing (still relaxed). All that perming did a little number on my hair and my scalp, so out of necessity I grew my hair longish, only to cut it into cute little bobs every year or so. I even had short little bangs for a time, during my club kid phase.

So I was in a vicious cycle for several years. By the time Primo and I started dating I was trying to grow it long again, which I did. I even tried to grow out the perm, but my hair broke off, and I needed a hair cut to even it out. My hair was about mid back, but I had a patch of short damaged hair in the back. I had considered cutting it really short into a pixie do, but couldn't bring myself to do it.

Then one day Primo, who has some mighty nice hair himself, came home totally bald. We didn't match any more. So a week later I cut my hair to about an inch or so. It was the shortest I ever had it, and barring illness, that will be the last time I ever have short hair.

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I started growing dreadlocks about eighteen months after I did that last big chop. I had sworn off all perms, I was getting married, I spent the summer reading about Rastafari. It was time for a change. I'm not about being cool. It just seemed like the natural thing to do. I won't get into my reasons for doing it otherwise. It's been almost 9 years since I put a brush or comb to my head, and while I occasionally trim the undreaded sides and the kitchen, I haven't had a haircut in almost 10 years. I wish I could give a deeper reason as to why I have long hair, or dreads, but like tattoos, I like to keep the skin deep stuff skin deep. I do it because at some point it seemed like a good idea, and creature of habit that I am, I'm sticking with a good thing.

So that's my hair. But I'm into all hair, particularly natural, unpermed hair on African Americans, facial hair on men, and extremely long hair on everyone. Intentional extreme length either way is a subtle act of rebellion against standards of beauty that require excessive amounts of valuable time, money, and pain (in the case of relaxing or perming), as is being nappy, or dreadlocked if you're black. People--and I'm talking about total strangers off the street--ask me if my hair is real or all mine, how long I've been growing it, when I'll cut it, etc. And apparently, there are certain people who shouldn't have long hair: men, women over 30, children, women under 30, boys. I used to frequent the Long Hair Community, and people heard all of these and more. Long hair, nappy hair, and dreadlocks offend people. Another reason to love them. If you're offended by a grooming regimen, you deserve to be offended. God blesses the freaks.

The Long Hair Community
Other Hair Sightings. Just a small sample. I have friends with beautiful hair, but I don't carry a camera with me.

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