I’m proud of sistas for embracing their natural textures, and opting to wear their hair natural rather than permed, weaved, or extended versions of their crops. I think natural hairstyles are the cure for black self-hate, and the greatest expression of confidence and beauty. But I just can’t do it.
I wanted to. Twice now, I’ve attempted to grow my hair out. As my natural kinks began to spring, my hair immediately became unmanageable. It isn’t because kinky hair is unmanageable, it is because I never learned to manage my natural hair.
My grandmother permed my hair the summer before I entered the sixth grade. Which means that before I was responsible for combing my own hair, it was straightened. That’s over two decades of relaxed hair.
Liking anything else, doing your own hair requires practice. Taking care of black hair probably requires the most practice. It takes years to properly care for and style your hair, and many of us just didn’t get the necessary practice in.
But if I had a daughter I would do things a lot different. I would never perm her hair. I would encourage her natural texture, and work with her to properly care for it. I wish someone had done that with me.
Update: I originally wrote this last year. I’ve now decided that I will transition. I’m still wearing my hair straight, but I skipped a much-needed touch up the last time I was at the shop. Baby steps!