Last week, Twitter was buzzing with the trending topic #ChildhoodMemories. As I was reminiscing on moments from my younger years, one reoccurrence I try hard to forget came to mind.
#ChildhoodMemories Getting my hair done as a young girl. The pain, the agony!
Every two weeks, it was time. My once freshly done braids were fuzzy, nappy and ready to be taken out. I tried to keep them up as best as possible in hopes to delay the inevitable. However, the moment always came.
Each time I would have to sit between my mother’s legs for that sole purpose, a feeling of dread would pass throughout my entire body. My mother would try to be gentle with my thick tresses, trying to comb lightly; but the pain never ceased from existing. Even with the use of hair sprays, detanglers and conditioners, the sting from the comb seemed deadly. There was nothing left for me to do but cry. Tears streamed down my cheeks. I screamed, I hollered, and I occasionally jumped away from my mother’s hands. “Momma, it hurts!” She would reply with “I’m Sorry,” only to bring me more pain seconds later.
Getting my hair done was such an emotional experience. It was emotional for me, just as it was emotional for my mother. She hated to see me in pain, and tried to do all that she could to prevent my cries and yelps. As time went on, her sympathy turned into aggravation. My constant outbursts were tiring and prevented her from finishing my hair. By the time my hair was done, I had run out of tears, and my mother had run out of patience. How could we put ourselves through all of that stress?
When I think back on the times my mother did my hair, I think about the future, where the roles will be reversed. One day, my daughter will be sitting between my thighs, and I will be doing her hair. Chances are she will inherit my thick curls and tender headedness, leaving me with the unfortunate task of having to manage it all.
I want to do my daughter’s hair, but I don’t want her to go through the same agony that I went through. Can this situation be avoided, or is this just another inevitable circumstance that black women have to face when it comes to our hair?
Let me know what you think!
– Chelsey Wilkins