Back in my relaxer youth, I believed that since my hair wasn’t growing, I couldn’t possibly have any new growth, and my puffy roots were not new, but rather old and reverting. Up was down.
I simultaneously believed if I combed my hair upside down for 500 strokes a day, like a white girl surely would, said permanently -stunted hair would magically reach Rapunzel-level greatness. Up was down.
Contrary to the old saying, that ish is not blissful.
It is damaging. Like my hair piled up in my wastebasket, because I didn’t know it was all breaking off at the point where relaxed ended and texture began. Like when I wasn’t even ten years old and I noticed I couldn’t feel my hair reaching down the back of my neck anymore. And when the only memory I had of my pre-relaxer hair was as a three-year-old posing for my birthday pics in a blue hair bow and a big, lush, perfectly spherical, picked out fro.
Ignorance, my friends, robs you of agency and hope. Because if Black hair didn’t grow, what could I do about it? Nothing. It was all predetermined. I was doomed to have “eaten up” hair for the rest of my life. That hopelessness is what kept me going back every six weeks, desperate for a chemical to “fix” what I could not. And if I missed a treatment? Totally unwearable. Creative styling? What’s that?
I have to laugh looking back, because otherwise it can be a real bummer how little I knew about not only how my own hair worked but also how all those chemicals were altering it. But you and I know better now. We are no longer ignorant. We read and watch each other and educate ourselves, master our regimens and help our hair flourish. We learn and continue to grow.
Ignorance is not bliss, but knowledge most definitely is power.
You still got questions? Hit the comments.