I have my Mother’s hair. Kinky, coarse, resilient to straighteners. My mother’s hair can not be held down by pins, headbands, or snapbacks. No chemical solutions can separate her tightly woven coils. My mother’s hair found its way to my scalp. And it grew wildly, bridging the space between my self-loathing definition of beauty and acceptance of what grew naturally. A journey that begun with burn marks from my abusive love affair with creamy crack. A journey punctuated with nights of no sleep because my scalp was traumatised by hair yanked out from its roots, because tangled kinky coily hair does not a beautiful girl make. A journey littered with silent tears from braids that were too sore, too tight; silent tears because beauty pains required the sacrifice of comfort, of sanity.
My hair is personal. History made my hair political; my natural hair makes a statement I never agreed to. Because stereotypes about my hair carry weight. Because stereotypes about the hair that grows naturally from my scalp decide if I’m employable, respectable, worthy of success. I have my Mother’s hair. The world tells me that if I insist on keeping it, I must alter it to a more respectable state. The world reminds me daily that my mother’s hair is ugly. The world tells me daily to hate it. How can I love something I’ve never been told is lovable?
I have my Mother’s hair and it is a beauty to behold. Like me, it is stubborn, defiant, demanding of care and respect. My hair forces me to slow down, it teaches me to be patient, there no shortcuts to detangling its knots. My hair grows straight, on edge, defying gravity. My hair shrinks when wet, a magic trick exclusive to people that look like me. My hair is playful, whether long or short, in chunky braids or resting under a weave, my hair is capable of whatever hairstyle matches my mood. My hair defines beauty in its itself. I have my mother’s hair. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.