I’m up early this morning, holding my breath and praying about my daughter’s hair. Why would her follicles warrant something as serious as that? Because, yesterday was a different verse of her favorite song of late, her talking about wanting to straighten her hair. The first time she talked about it I listened but gave her a firm no. The second time, I listened, then looked at the links for the non-chemical straighteners she had passed along. The third time (yesterday) admittedly, I didn’t handle it well at all.
It would be different I think has I not gone through so much hell with my own hair, chemically straightening it for more than three decades before finally, fully embracing it, and myself. When I asked her over and over why she wanted her hair straight, something she couldn’t put into words, other than choking out, “ I just don’t like it.”
This is one of those moments I had to put my foot down. As many of you know, I’m a big believer in natural consequences but I’m also a HUGE believer in natural hair and the thought of her going through what I did for so many years, was just too painful.
I tried to explain to her that her hair is what makes her unique; it’s who she is. And maybe that’s why it was so shocking to me, it felt like, her trying to change something has fundamental and fabulous as her hair, was like rejecting who she is and to an extent, me.
We worked on her hair a bit yesterday, I took time to explain the pros and cons of having curly hair, and that no matter how she wears it there is work involved (because that’s a big part of it too, she doesn’t want to invest the time). By the end of the evening, her hair was washed, freshly twisted and the crisis had been averted. For now.
I fully expect it to rear its ugly head again and for that, I am bracing myself. I’m trying to remember what it was like to be a teenager and want to fit in, after all I was about the age she is now when I got my hair chemically-straightened for the first time. Maybe it’s time for me to back out of it, to stop looking at her hair as though it were my own or wishing it was. Maybe it’s mom who needs to get a grip, to stop digging in so much on this and let her do what she wants with her locks. Or maybe, as is my secret and fervent prayer, she wakes up one morning, thrilled with what God gave her and accepts it, and herself, just the way she is.
What do you think about this? Should I let her do what she wants with her hair, even though it involves chemicals? Should I continue to try to make her see her natural beauty? Have your kids ever wanted to do something this drastic? How did you handle it?
But wait, there’s more!