Triple threat: Brains, beauty and brawn

I was catching up on my Mommy blogs and trying to sift through the various thoughts in my head when it finally hit me: Gabby Douglas is the PERFECT topic for the tresses part of Tresses N Treasures. There’s so much to address here AND it ties into another topic that I have been wanting to address. I know I’m tardy to the party on this and my apologies. Hopefully none of y’all rely on me to be your number one news source 🙂 (If so, then I REALLY gotta step my game up!)
First, congrats to Gabby! I was (and still am) a pretty awesome, accomplished and good daughter/person/young lady. However, in all my accomplished greatness, at 16 I hadn’t done anything anywhere near Olympic greatness. What she did is just amazingly history making. I’m not gonna front. I didn’t watch or follow the Olympics, but I still read in awe and admire her. And I want one of those Wheaties boxes!

Apparently, her clips and edges were horrid?
Seconds after she won her gold medal, the Internet spiraled outta control talking about how horrible her hair was, mainly from black women. First off, there is absolutely nothing wrong with this girl’s hair. And if there was, so THE F what??!!?? She’s in a SPORTS competition, not a BEAUTY pageant. And she just made WORLD history, BLACK history, AMERICAN history. She can look however she pleases. This is such a problem with our society, black people. We have bought into a certain image of beauty and we berate anyone that does not fit into that mold. 

In 2010
Until 18 months ago, I had long, beautiful, shoulder-length hair. I could layer it, color it, flip it, pull it in a ponytail. Some days, I could even get away with merely finger combing it, and no one would say anything. It was long and it was permed. I was golden. When I cut it all off, that was a different story. I can count on one hand the number of positive responses I got. Everyone else was appalled. How dare I cut off my hair!!! It was as if I had committed some cardinal sin. I admit, initially I was a little insecure because the first reactions hadn’t been favorable. But the more I looked in the mirror, the more I realized that this was what I wanted, the more I loved it. The more I dared someone to say something.

My big chop in Feb ’11
Now that I’ve started the progress to locing my hair, many of my family and friends have come around. I get more and more compliments from people, mainly other women that have started a natural journey of their own or a few that haven’t but still like my hair on me. I noticed that naturalistas, men and white people tend to be my biggest hair fans. (True story: My best friend braids and twists her own hair. She’s currently rocking two-strand twists past her butt and when she’s out and about, white men flock to her like she’s some rare jewel straight off the mothership and she gets so many positive, albeit funny, comments about her hair.) Sadly, I still have certain family and friends that still greet me with the typical, “What is that in your head?” Well, concerned citizen, that happens to be my hair and it’s as beautiful and healthy as it’s ever been. AND it’s not going anywhere until I see fit. Even sadder is that that question typically comes from females that wear permed hair or weaves. Now, I have nothing against how other people choose to wear their hair. Locs and natural isn’t for everyone, but it is for me. It’s something that I’ve wanted since high school, but was too scared of the reaction I’d get from other people to take that leap. It’s amazing to me, how we can be a race that is so diverse and talented and yet get blinded by outwardly appearance. Afraid to admit that some people are comfortable in their own skin hair, we quickly try to justify their hair decision. “How old are you?…Oh yeah, it’s something about that age that makes our girls want to do that?” “Why do you girls always run off to college and cut off all your hair?” (This was actually said to me by a “family member” when I went natural the first time. What she said was actually so much worse and insulting to my intelligence and independence.)

How I’m rocking these days
The outpouring of negativity towards Gabby isn’t anything new. It’s something that almost every black female has experienced at some point in their life, almost always from us. It’s sad that so many other races can wear their hair naturally without being told it’s ugly, unprofessional or inappropriate, but we’re almost always told that. (For the record, I interviewed and was selected for both of my post-graduate professional jobs with natural hair. I’m just sayin’). I’m hoping that I can go against that cycle with Temi. I want her to know that she’s perfect just the way she is. Everyone goes on and on about how beautiful her hair is. Some have even made comments that she has that “good” hair. Yes, she has good hair because it’s her hair. And when she gets older, she can wear it however she wants – colored, short, long, loc’d, twisted, permed, curly, straight. All I ask is that she does so in a healthy manner. Natural or permed, you have to put in the work to take care of your hair. But at the end of the day, it’s her hair to express herself however she chooses. And as her mother, I will be her number one supporter. 

My first big chop in ’07