Tuesday, June 9, 2009

...I'm going au natural...


Or maybe not, I still haven't completely decided.


And for the record, I'm talking about my hair, so I guess I really meant, "all natural" but now that I have your attention...

There are a lot of reasons to go either way, but my reasons for leaning towards the kinky curly side of life are quite simple. There’s no political agenda. I’m not trying to make a statement. I don’t need to break the so-called bonds of self hatred that manifested itself in getting my hair relaxed. I’m not trying to get over a bad break up. I’m not having a midlife crisis.

I am however considering a career change that would require less salon dependency. I’ve noticed some horrible unacceptable changes to the condition of my hair including a color lift from an astonishing jet black to a copper rust color and a few other indescribable effects that make my hair look interesting but not like, well, my hair.

And finally, after about five years of unsuccessful stylists hopping with unsatisfactory results, it has occurred to me that I am perfectly capable of screwing up my own hair – and for free, or at least for cheap.

In the beginning, there was Jackie. Love of my life, my hair’s soulmate, best hair care expert stylist ever. Her work inspired the envy of women, the adoration of men and the happiness of me. After years and years of a beautiful relationship, she up and left me. No call, no letter, no nothing. The others in the salon didn’t even know what happened. She just gave her two-week notice, and never came back, tossing my hair mercilessly back onto the market where I have been used and abused in a freak show of hair horrors.

Send in the clowns, homey!

First was the uber young gum popper who couldn’t make a simple hairstyle to save her life. She gave me ever hoochie hair do known to man, and a few not yet discovered. I don’t exactly have the sort of job where I can show up to work with my hair shaped like a fruit bowl. By the time I wised up and left her, my hair was broken off in too many places to count and the hair that was left looked and felt as hard and brittle as overcooked bacon.

The “angry stylist” that hated her job and took it out on my hair. She treated me like that little tree in Joan Crawford’s backyard in the movie Mommie Dearest. (Christina! Bring me the ax!) That was my only visit to her.

Next, meet Obsessive-compulsive stylist. She helped my hair grow back nice and healthy after the angry ax lady. Then she gave me a cute haircut. Then she grew it back. Then she cut it again- this time in some dramatic style I didn’t ask for. But she grew it back. Then tried some other haircut on me. No matter what I asked for or which pictures I brought in, she would always say, “Oh sure, I can do that” and then do whatever she wanted to do anyway. More growth, more cutting, growth, cutting, growth…. You get the idea. I remember her saying once that I had “such nice hair” that was “fun to style and play in” I don’t know how I didn’t catch that comment when she first said it but this lady was using me like a model doll head for her own amusement. She definitely had a gift for keeping my hair as long and healthy as I liked it. But then she had some strange tick that made her cut it off every time it started to get long. I hung in there with her for over a year. I left her with my hair just past my shoulders and half way healthy.

After Obsessive stylist was Opposite stylist. She was a little like Obsessive, with all the crazy cutting, except she wasn’t very good at the growth part. In fact the longer I stayed with her, the shorter and thinner my hair started becoming. I have always had a head full of extremely thick hair so if you manage to thin my hair out you are seriously into some voodoo mess. I always left there looking and feeling worse than when I went in. She somehow managed to turn my hair into the exact opposite of everything I ever wanted it to be. She lasted about 3 or 4 months.

Finally there was Not-so-Smart stylist, or we can call this one Straw for short since he broke the camel’s back as far as the hair thing goes. When I first went to Straw I was about 4 or 5 months after my last relaxer. It didn’t look too bad since I tend to bun my hair a lot anyway. Straw was insistent that he give me a relaxer because I had too much hair for a press and curl. Then he cut off several inches because of “breakage” After a nearly two months of visits, he told me that I needed a touch up and I needed to have the ends clipped because “whoever did [my] last perm just messed it all up” He apparently didn’t realize that he had done my last perm.


I accept responsibilty as an Enabler in this situation. I knew something was wrong right away, but I kept going back. The first clue actually came on my first visit when I asked him what was my hair type (as in 4a,b or c, or using the L.O.I.S. system) and he said, “It’s not bad. It’s nice”   Dang, man, is "nice" an actual hair type?


At nearly every appointment he would say something that sent all the red flags flying but I ignored them trying to give him more credit than he deserved.


Straw’s grand finale came when I asked him not to use a certain product line because I had a very severe allergic reaction to it when I used it before. I kept having a milder reaction to something whenever I would go there and it turned out he was using some of the products. “Oh, you meant the whole product line?” he asked.


And that was last clown out of the tiny car.


The excuses and explanations stylists have offered me for my hair problems vary from “Maybe it’s your hormones,” to “ well, you know your hair changes every 7 years so maybe it’s just going through a bad phase”   But my problems started right after Jackie’s departure so that would implicate the stylist wouldn’t it?


But they have a point. My hair is on my head and it’s my responsibility to take care of it beyond trusting a stylist to do the right thing. I’ve always felt the dumbest thing a person could ever do is rely on another person for anything, so I’m relying on myself from here on out for my hair care.


So, despite my trepidation, II think I'm ready to grow out the chemicals and re-learn how to care for my own hair in its natural state like I did many years ago before I sat spellbound before my TV in awe of Janet Jackson’s hair in the Pleasure Principle video.




Darn you, Ms. Jackson!

And of all the reasons why transitioning would be good idea (no salon dependency, reduced cost, still some versatility, respecting my God given texture), perhaps the greatest reason of all is having the chance to get to know some part of my old self again. There’s not a single pre-perm picture of me where my hair doesn’t look great and I’m not smiling.



I take that back, there are a lot of pictures of me not smiling for one reason or another. But my hair always looks fabulous!




Song stuck in my head right now: 4Hero Featuring Jill Scott - Another Day

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