I walked into the Barber Shop on 23rd June, in busy Arima and
I said to the puzzled looking
barber, "I want to cut most of my hair off"
The unsuspecting Mario replied, "Yuh know yuh iz ah dougla?"
Incredulously, I reiterated my desire and he proceeds to say, "People in the salon will wanna know why dis gyul with 'nice' hair cutting it off?!"
My uninformed decisions regarding my hair had finally culminated in it refusing to respond to any "treatment" I attempted to administer, which led to sheer frustration and the desire to start anew.
I think it shows that once the damage is done, no amount of pampering will coax that hair into forgiving me.
I began to ponder the series of events that led me to this point.
Earlier in the year I had gone to a "Beauty" salon which I patronise frequently. As I sat in the chair I proceeded to tell the "professional" I want to streak my hair in different shades of blonde, gold, platinum etc."And oh yes "I want it bright".
Why in the Lord's name did I want to give my hair, what a Trini hair expert would call a "good cut arse"? Did I care so much about looking a certain way that I was willing to abuse myself in the name of "beauty"? I thought to myself, when women sit down in the chairs in "beauty" salons, why do we go through such torture?
The relaxers that burn our scalps, braids that pull hairs out of its follicles, weaves that are glued to our skin or hair and my all time favourite...bleaching that strips our hair of colour, elasticity and moisture. Why had I not pondered on the term "stripping the hair" more? Is this really what beauty is ? Was I so afraid of looking "ordinary" that I committed myself to abusing my hair and putting big bucks into the pockets of these so called professionals, who would tell you anything to keep you coming back? As far as this professional was concerned, this super bleaching procedure would only have me coming back weekly for steams and she knew it. Damn asymmetric information! Why is "natural" hair so—daunting to so many of us?
The moment she spinned me around to see the results of her "great" work was the moment I knew I would never ask for this procedure again. I looked at myself, horror struck!!! The only words that I could use to describe the look was "animalistic"...like a tiger ...all striped haphazardly. I was disappointed. I was disappointed that I did not get "The Look" that I saw being worn so beautifully on that other woman. I hastily paid and left the salon trying not to be seen and knowing fully well that I was going to "correct" this unfortunate hairstyle when I got home.
In the comfort of my residence I began to express my displeasure as my family tried their darnedest to convince me that "it's not that bad" and in case you didn't know that phrase is the tactful way of saying "damn!!!! it looks bad but I don't want you to feel worse.": (After a day of hibernation I couldn't take it any more so I did the unthinkable...I bought a box colour and I covered my $300 hairstyle with a dark brown.
That was the day my hair began its revolt! Like David Abdulah the hair decided my leadership left much to be desired and said "I want out!!!!"
For months we would battle silently, no one would know what was really going on. However on the rare occasion I let loose its shackles (Woogies) it would be apparent the relationship we once had no longer existed.
The hair became dry, limp and unresponsive despite my attempts to give it all it desired. I took advice from every Jane, Julie and Jan as to what products could possible restore my hair. Pennywise Cosmetic stores became a haven and a parasite for my pocket and I continued to pour money into the hands of the "professional" to help me win the battle with my hair.
After months on the battlefield, I called a true professional and friend and she did the friendly thing, which was to tell me the truth....I had already lost the battle! Sometimes in relationships of any sort we hold on to things/ persons , when they have already let go of us. My hair had let go of me long time and it was time to finally let it go.
It was those events that brought me to this moment. Time to start anew....from the ROOTS!
In the time of weaves, wigs and extensions I chose to go the less travelled path.
I must accept that for any prosperous relationship I must treat the other party well and commit to treating my hair well.
Peroxide will no longer be my outside man and relaxer is an ex I will never go back.
Those are the vain friends of my past whom I have outgrown!!! I will embrace the blessing of this crown bestowed on me by my creator.
I encourage all to release yourselves from the chemical bonds that enslave and destroy the real you.
Say no to the white man's definition of beauty and yes to redefining beauty.
Cheers to a lesson well learnt!!!
Ms. Kimerlee Ami Soo Ting BSc., MSc.