Thursday, August 11, 2011
Life Begins At Curly!
The first snip hit my stomach like a Walker Texas Ranger kick to the guts of all the bad dudes in Texas. Granted, it WAS accidentally on purpose, however I don't think I was as ready as I thought I would be. But being the valiant soldier that I am, I kept it moving.
Snip, snip, snip. Each cut sounding like an old rusty zipper, struggling to come to a inconclusive close.
Uh, where was that liberating feeling, the passion of renewal so strong, I wouldn't be able to contain myself from cutting a mean rug in the middle of a traffic congested street like in the movie "Footloose?" Why had I heard so many natural cuties proclaiming the awesomeness of their transformations from the mountaintops, while I all I was left with was a feeling of "What did I just do?" And a sour stomach to boot. With each long, anemic strand hitting my towel protected lap, came the same chalkboard-piercing inquiry in my mind: WHAT DID I JUST DO?
I couldn't help it. When I was a mere child, I was totally enamored of my own version of the Linus blanket. Only, my version of the "blanket" was affixed to the top of my head. Yep, I used to take sheets, pillowcases - whatever frilly, flowy fabric I could crown my head with, and run like the wind with it trailing behind me. You couldn't tell me I wasn't hawt with my adolescent manufactured cotton tracks. Shoot, I was "Smizing" before Tyra made it popular with my baby swag. And for some reason, I keep seeing the source of my hair exhibitionism as...Cher. I was a Cher fan for real. And before I discovered Whitney Houston wanted to dance with somebody with that cute little 'do & headbow she was rocking, I was really thinking I could have Cher's coif. Maybe it was when Penny impersonated the legend on "Good Times" that reeled me in. Because Penny was the bomb & a darn good actress. Yet, I digress.
In my self contained little universe it was a blast to have hair that was straight like Cher's to fling around, or tightly sponge-rolled into glamorous curls like Lucille Ball - whom I adore(d) dearly. I opted for the Lucy 'do all the way through high school - set nightly and doused with Lottabody. But every once in awhile, I wanted to borrow Chaka Kahn's massive mane, or rock Diana Ross' unbelievable coif. Alas, sporting an ever present press-n-curl, my strands were too fine & too thin to resemble even an accidental chunk of those ladies' dreamy tresses. The funny thing was, my mom had the biggest ponypuff anyone had seen! The more she fought it, the bigger it swelled. Talk about the everyday hair idol - it was my mom for sure! I wanted some bounce in my life...it don't mean a thing if it ain't got that swing!
Somewhere along my hair-volution, my vision blurred. I couldn't see my strands for what they were; I had no idea I was running from my very own dream! I'd played heat n run for years & didn't know whether my mane resembled Tia's or Tamara's! (As it turns out, neither sister is my hair twin). I knew one thing - I was ready to come off The Comb! First Mom was raking & yanking through my scalp, then my older sister grudgingly hooked up my kitchen ( I still have a scar on the inside of my right elbow as evidence of said hair torture, should she choose to deny it) and finally, I was frying my own wig. Somewhere in the middle came & went my Jheri Curl, quickly vanishing after taking full advantage of my delicate tresses. And then there was....THE PERM. I loved tossing my straight, soft, flowy, SEE THROUGH tresses around. My hair grew long, but was so THIN. I abhorred most updo's because you could tell how thin it was. (Except with my bob. It was super cute. For real. I adored it, actually. But ponies? Uuugghhhh.) Every Saturday - I hope you heard the emphasis on E'RY - I could be seen at 4:45 in the morning, making sure I was on time to have my curls meticulously beaten into submission by 5 am. I didn't have time to sit up at the shop all day, so I elected to sit up all morning instead. At least I loved my 'do. I had no choice, seeing how I got the same style - every week.
My 20's came & went faster than Fox TV cancels a show! (Can you tell I'm still bitter that my beloved Jack Bauer/"24" is off the air?). But I was always looking. Admiring. Ok, maybe a bit of side drool, too. My favorite actress was Cree Summer - two guesses why? 30 caught up with me before I could even acknowledge its invitation. Wasn't sure I wanted to attend that party, but it was inevitable. The further I slipped into middle age (is THAT what I am?) the more I'd forgotten what my natural mane ever even resembled. As my tresses raced down my back, they thinned and resided in their ever present home: rubber bands & scrunchies. Mmm, hmmm.
Then I met her. The most beautiful thing I'd ever seen! Heartbreakingly, she lived on someone else's head. "Girlfriends" hit the air, & I was all about the Tracee Ellis Ross hair! Good, googly-goo, why couldn't I have that in my life?! And I mean, I started admiring every natural lady I saw everywhere. Wondering how I could be a part of their secret alliance. Why was I cursed with this straight hair? Uuumm, yeah. I assumed I had straight hair.
Somewhere past 35 & The Rest Of Your Life, I stumbled across You Tube videos of "how to's" on natural hair. What a novel idea! I must have been Spirit-led to Curly Nikki, which opened a haven of natural sites for me to explore while I floundered between deciding to surrender my kinks to the creamy stuff or pardon them to fly free like the wind! By the time I made a conscious decision to divorce the perms, I was 6 months post. It was certainly easier on the budget, but what would my curly husband think? What about co-workers? Friends? The audiences I dance in front of? ME? Would I love Me? Or kick Me to the curb? How could I do this at almost 40? Absurd! Ridonkulous! Crazy! WHO DOES THAT? But me, I'm kinda...quirky. Maybe just maybe this could work.
Snip! Couldn't distinguish between excitement, fear or the Taco Bell I'd earlier gluttoned on. But the feeling was there.
"I just turned 37 two weeks ago. I'm too old to be changing."
"I mean, I did all the research...it SHOULD be alright. Shouldn't it?"
"Oh gosh. It's really gone."
Was stunned. Dry. Frizzy. Short. Inconceivably unrecognizable from my former self. Different. Kinda, I don't know. Something else.
So here I am, 5 months post BC afterlife. Who knew I'd be loving it! I don't think I've ever been this comfortable in my own skin, let alone rocking a crown piece with dare I say, PERSONALITY?! I'm amazed that these coils are leasing out a spot on my very own noggin! I spent so much time fighting the very thing that would eventually define my personal, quirky, eclectic style. Getting to know my curls is only half the battle. Getting to love them is a hole 'notha story!
For me, life will not begin at 40....it began at curly!