Learning to Accept the Kinks: My Mother and I

Hi guys!


This post is dedicated to every girl out there who wants to go natural but is experiencing a lot of resistance from her mother. It’s a little long, but because of the emails I get now and again, from girls who don’t want to fight their mamas over hair, I decided this is something I should share.


A few times in the past, I have mentioned my mom’s opposition to my decision to go natural. I’ve been natural for three years and it finally hit me recently, that not only has my mom come to fully accept my hair, I can say she loves it, like really, she is a fan.


I talked about going natural with almost everyone important to me. Yes, even my dad! I remember calling him one evening when I was experiencing PEAK stress of transitioning, telling him I wanted to cut my hair. He convinced me to calm down- a good decision because I was SO not mentally ready at the time and school must have probably been too stressful for a yung thug that weekend. Having half my wash and set (roller set) revert on me in no time felt like THE worst thing that could happen- a betrayal on top of everything I was dealing withand I was so done. The point is, going natural was a very emotional decision for me. I mean, I talked about it for like two years before I finally took the plunge. 


To everyone else I talked to, it was mostly bants, or to get a feel of how the world would react but talking to my mother was a different story. I told her, and kept updating her at intervals of my decision to transition to natural because I KNEW she would not be happy about it AT ALL. 

 

Flashback Friday. Happily Relaxed :)

Flashback Friday. Happily Relaxed. Don’t look at my arm lol!


Fully aware that it was my head and my hair, I wasn’t asking for permission, no. I was simply trying to condition her because I also knew that to her, my head was some extension of hers. After all she carried the little big head and pushed it out after 9 months. She gave me my first relaxer, in my bathroom (Age 7 or younger) when my kinks became too much for her and the salons to handle. I remember it vaguely, but it’s one of the childhood memories that stick out. Saturday morning, no light. The radio was on, and though she already knew what to do, she let me play the white Just 4 Me instructional cassette with the pink lettering. I can’t remember anything about how I felt about the before & after (I don’t think I gave it any thought, really) but that’s how relaxers became a staple in my life. When I was 16, she discovered the Dark & Lovely Beautiful Beginnings Relaxer for Coarse Hair (orange pack) and it became our relaxer to stock up on. She is all too familiar with the struggle. I inherited her hair (super thick and extremely stubborn, hair that refuses to take. My sister’s hair was/is easier to work with, I believe). Mom in turn got her hair from her mama, who I’ve been told, left in her kinks. My mother simply could not comprehend why I wanted to bring such pain on myself. And, she was also afraid that wearing a fro was only the gateway to dredlocs LOL we shall be revisiting this angle soon. ( ._.)


The day before I chopped, I had taken out my kinky twists. I knew very little about hair care and had even less patience for detangling. So after washing eight months of growth attached to relaxed ends that had been locked in small kinky twists for like 7 weeks, of course it was a deadly day. My hair was a mess and it was either I chopped or I relaxed it, simple. I told her I was cutting my ends off the next day and she flared up. She told me that this thing I was doing, whatever it was, would not be fine, period. I silently cried. Whatever happened to “Monkey no fine but im mama like am?” Guys, I had already made peace with the possibility that natural hair would make me ugly and unattractive, but to hear it from my own mother? It hit a nerve o. Nonetheless, I was at the salon the next day and I let them chop.


In a way, cutting my hair off was some act of self-determination. I am an individual, a distinct person, notwithstanding how you feel about it. I remember telling my sister and she was like yesssss! LOL small victories. 


Wearing a weave to my graduation was one of the compromises I made. I had promised to have my TWA covered up for the sake of the precious precious graduation photos because yes, it was as much her graduation as mine. Fast forward today and the music has changed so much that I’m not sure where or when or how the switch happened. 


1. Last Christmas, I put my hair in marley twists because I was traveling and didn’t want to deal with winter. When I told her this, she genuinely protested: “Won’t you be bored? Can’t you put your hair into those your twists that you do?”

Those twists that I do

Those twists that I do


2. She loves my puff. She thinks it makes me look really pretty and appear taller too.

IMG_5081


3. She doesn’t dig the curly styles (thanks to frizz and my yet amateur technique) but she also happens to love it when I comb out my fro after a curly style fail and part it on one side. Like one day, she endured the ugly twist out at church, with side-comments. I combed it out as plan B and she immediately became my paparazzi, capturing the Afro moment.


Plan B

How Would You Rate This Definition? MeeMee gives it a 7

One of my best braid outs (unseparated) but nope. She doesn’t understand this one lol


4. Back then, I had to contend with frequent “Did you comb this hair? If you cannot comb this hair then…” and I’d just shrug and give her the comb to do her best. After fluffing and patting and seeing the fro was just the fro, she would give up. Election weekend, I attempted a Wash N’ Go and she was actually comfortable with it. We went out to vote together, and went to church together the next day. No complaints. At some point on the voting queue, her friend gave me an earful (standard) and mom was lowkey defending me.


5. When she says ‘naturalista’, it’s not derisive- lol it’s more like we are insiders. She probably has a decent repertoire of hair lingo, as she reads the blog a lot.


6. One time, I told her my boss said my hair was rough and I should go get it done. She said no, he’s still in the old school and that I should have broken it down to him. And explained my hair philosophy.


7. Speaking of hair philosophy, we were talking about Rachel Dolezal one day and at first she didn’t see the problem. She asked how different Rachel Dolezal is from people who bleach their skin or chemically straighten their hair in aspiration to whiteness. Hey, no shade to my relaxed sistas but I was surprised. Once upon a time, she would have dismissed any conversations on the politics/ sociology of hair as silly nonsense. But in a way, she’s getting the angle, my angle. She understands that it’s as much a vanity as it is a firm statement of my purzenality or my politics.


8. She actually listened to me talk about sulfates as detergents in shampoos the other day. I can tell when she’s really listening and when she’s mostly being polite.

Love this from NITC 11 :)

Damp puff. Love this from NITC 11 🙂


9. The night before our Naturals in The City 11 meet-up, I came home really late & tired and so could not bring myself to do Washday. I asked my aunty to help put my hair in cornrows so I could wear my wig and Mom objected,no, don’t do that. It’s not dirty, it looks good to me. Wear it to your thing like that!” And so I did 🙂


10. The morning I straightened my hair, she wanted to know why I was roasting my hair. She wasn’t a fan. I’d have thought that at some point, doing this would make her happy lol but not anymore.

IMG_4625

—-


You know how you read natural stories of how mothers end up going natural after not wanting to let their daughters do it? Nah, I don’t think that’s how this story is going to end. She reads this blog, has been so supportive of The Kink & I and maybe just maybe, one day we’ll see her at one of our meet-ups. But going natural? No, that’s a long stretch. 


My mom is a simple woman. She is also very set in her ways. She has never fixed a weave in my lifetime but she’s diligent in her relaxers every two months or so, with the Wash and sets every other week. She started greying early, so her hair is like 70% grey, a trademark of hers she wears with pride. No-fuss, happily relaxed with her edges intact, she is. She hates hair longer than her shoulder, so she isn’t afraid to cut and trim. And all my senrenren must have put her off anyway- haha!


IMG_0192


So lovelies, the moral lesson of today’s epistle is: if you’re thinking about going natural and your mom isn’t here for that at all, don’t let it stop you. She may eventually end up coming over to your side of the grass (because it’s so awesome! *_* ) but even if she doesn’t, it’s cool. She’s your mom and she loves you regardless of the texture of hair on your head!


Is any of this familiar? How did your mom react to you going natural? How does she feel now? And how did her position affect you? Let’s talk in the comments! 


Love,


AB,


xx

Advertisements

27 thoughts on “Learning to Accept the Kinks: My Mother and I

  1. Your story is inspiring and insightful. My mum still says some stuff about my hair that makes me cringe. I don’t expect her to budge, but we’ll see. As a side note, Your mum looks very familiar? St Raphael’s?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Awww… This is so sweet and inspiring. It’s funny coz the day you first uploaded this article (before I ever saw your post) I was thinking of writing something on the looks my mum gives me when I’m doing my ‘hair business’.
    When I decided to transition, my mum quite simply told me not to. That it would be rough and not fine. She’s straight to the point like that!
    I quite simply told her I’d do it. We resemble like that!
    So she said she’d do my BC for me. She doesn’t like other people touching my hair like that! And then made me wait a year to do it.
    That was a few months ago. Right now, she’s in this Kashimawo (let’s wait and see) phase. She just gives me the side eye, warns me off her groceries and does the ‘up-down clap thing’ Yoruba women do when I do anything especially weird.
    All in all, she let’s me do my thing since it makes me happy. And I try not to do anything too weird so she’s happy. We love each other like that!!!

    P.S My mum is texlaxed with medium length hair and she loooovess her fros. A few weeks ago, she asked why I don’t do fros. I explained about detangling and the hair drying out n all. She said ‘What’s the point of having natural hair if you don’t do fros?’ Lol. Guess who was giving her the side-eye then.
    P.P.S Sorry for the looong comment. I just love this topic.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. My mother doesn’t like my hair.Apparently I spend too much time dc’ing and no time styling. Lol.I’m tired of explaining shrinkage and she hates curly styles because she thinks I look crazy. Loooool.After all the story,I hear from my hairdresser that she was bragging about my hair.lol.I haven’t asked her sef,but when she starts with the talk I just laugh on the inside

    Liked by 1 person

  4. “Monkey no fine but im mama like am” got me laughing. My mum is touchy when it comes to my hair now, she liked it natural then I went home last month for the weekend and her exact words were “Don’t you have money? Do you want me to buy relaxer for you?” Shocked is an understatement of what I felt.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Mumsie didn’t even give more stress,it was my sisters that did being the last of five of them.I understandably have more than one mommy.but now I am the go to source for hair advice,I even get to wash hair sometimes.it is safe to say mama loves my FROs.PS I really harped on the fact that I was more than 18-legal age baby.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Oh my, this post hit somewhere in homeland. i do not stay with my mom but i grew up into the hair thing as my mom is a hairstylist with a salon of hers. My parents were separated early so she didnt really get to take care of my hair but nevertheless, i had really long hair and learnt how to do it myself. when i told her i was gonna go natural, her reaction was more of “what rubbish are you saying?”. i didnt let it get to me but whenever we were together, i would speak of it and she saw how much i loved it. I eventually had my bcand became fully natural. She’s my biggest fan and doesnt miss any of my blogposts. She even likes my idea of starting a natural hair salon and cheers me all the way. Her support now is really encouraging and i’m happy i did what i love. Your Monkey no fine comment was hilarious. Great post as always!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Monkey no fine, purzenality, I was just laughing up and down as I read this day-making post.
    My mum has been natural all my life but stopped wearing it out when the kids came. Weaves, wigs, braids fleeking. There are old pics of her big fros and roller sets.
    She placed a no-relaxer-till-after-secondary-school (preferably for life) law on me and my sis. Her anthem was “it will KILL this your beautiful hair”. We eventually relaxed earlier than planned and she was not pleased.
    She was right sha but I turned it around later and while she was proud of the length, she felt perfection would only be attained with natural hair and kept pushing for it.
    My decision to transition was Christmas for her and she follows my blog closely. I think my transition ended too soon for her though; she loved my length.
    Anyway three of us are natural again now, living nappily ever after…

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Omg! I’m so glad I’m not the only one who hasn’t gotten the hang of curly styles, 90 percent of the time I end up combing it out. I can try a twist out and the next day, it’ll look like locs (it’ll actually start locing 😊😊😊) I’m so done fighting it.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. My mum kept asking me if she could do it. In Igbo, “I don’t think I can do this natural thing oh”. Fast forward to a year later, her natural hair is shoulder length and continuously growing. Turns out, all she needed was a constant picture of inspiration, a hand full of products and a handy stylist.-Me

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I really love this post. Really. I’ve come back to read it twice now. My mum was natural waaay before me, She had locs for 7 years, they were waist length, then she rocked a short cut for 3 years and now she is growing it out. She hasn’t loved all my styles, but she is a naturalista through and through. She won’t wear an afro, but she loves her puffs and will occasionally ask me to style her updo.
    I really enjoyed this post!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Pingback: Thursday Tidbits – SabirahO

  12. Pingback: Hair Update + GIVEAWAY | Natural Hair & Lifestyle

You say?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s