I will never forget the first time I blow-dried my hair. Never ever. I remember thinking that all of my problems were solved. Life had finally changed. No, no, no…This was too much fabulousness for one kid to stomach.
Had I found a crown on the floor, I would have worn it to Homeroom at school. It all started because I had a birthday party and all the girls were into blow-drying their hair, so I did it for the first time in hot as hell Managua, Nicaragua. To my mother’s surprise, it lasted more than two days. You have no idea how many shampoos and conditioners I had gone through after seeing commercials of straight-haired models. WHY HADN’T THEY EXPLAINED THAT YOU HAVE TO BLOW-DRY IT? As I’ve mentioned before, my curly/frizzy hair is not one of my best qualities. Anyway, I think the birthday party was on a Friday. On Sunday, we went to the lake and as I took my first step into the water… I knew… that if I moved any closer, it would be over. If I go in there, it’s over. My new hair is gone.
I’m not going to lie, I stood there for about 10 minutes while my entire family urged me to get in the water, but what can I say, I was about 12-years old and I had seen the light. Mama didn’t raise no fool, so I backed up quietly and sat myself back down. I did not go in the water. Yea, you heard me, I stayed with my already semi-frizzy hair on the sand watching everyone else have fun. It was one of the hottest days of my existence and my family was having a blast, but the fear of things going back to how they used to be terrified me. I had seen an improvement and I wasn’t ready to give it up. Give me a break, I was 12.
So, things got complicated when I got home and realized that I had to take a shower. I wish I could say that I behaved like a rational human being, but I did not. I was a tear away from asking my mother to wizard my hair straight. I don’t know if it was out of the sheer desperation that I felt or if I was borderline delusional from the sun, but I thought she could fix it. She could not and did not as some of you know. It’s possible that this was the first of a series of events that contributed to the Drama Queen award that was presented to me in college:
Despite my antics, my mother made me shower and so, I washed the happiness out of my hair once and for all. It was the first broken heart that I ever had, but by the time I got up for school the next day, I had forgotten (kinda). That is not true actually—I remember staring at my curls and thinking, “oh whatever.”
There are certain things you can work on. I mean, hell, I even get compliments (I swear this has happened more than once) on my hair now. Go figure! It’s not always about the obvious complaint because in the end there is a way to fix it. It’s about something deeper.
The next time you start to jump into an emotional tantrum about something, remember that frizzy-haired girl refusing to run into the water. The hair didn’t do sh*t for me that afternoon. At best, I was walking around with 1/2 afro already anyway, my mother was practically pushing me into the water, but you know what, I fixated. It meant something to me, but in the end, it was never about the hair. Like most 12-year old girls, I was insecure and I fixated on certain points to get through it all. If only my hair or my braces, or…whatever. Now it’s, if only my size, or my boss, or this guy/girl, or this piece—ya! Shut up already! It’s not that!
The next time you feel that frustration, that fixation… go deeper. Cut out the bullsh*t. I focused on the hair because how I was supposed to admit to myself at the age of 12 that I had a bunch of insecurities about myself? We fixate because we’re scared to accept the root of it, but it’s time, my friends. It’s time. I was too young to know better, but you’re not. I’m not. We’re not.
GET IN THE WATER THIS TIME.