For many older African American women, no matter what we do, there are seasons that our natural hair simply will not cooperate. I have found, during such times, that singing, or saying the lyrics to certain songs, are what get me through.
My husband has cut my hair completely off 4 times. And each time it grew to a certain point, and began breaking again. At first I was disappointed, and even cried on a few occasions. I recalled James Brown singing; “If you don’t get it, the first time back up and try it again. This gave me the courage to try yet again.
II knew the second time, I had it right, and was singing Shalamar’s “Second time around”. I kept repeating the chorus of, “Not like the first time, not like the first time.” It was all to no avail. And I thought to myself, so much for positive confession.
Surely the third time would be the charm, and I remembered a song by Mel and Tim, and I began singing, “Starting all over again, is gonna be rough on us, but we gonna make it. ” Starting all over again is gonna be hard, but I pray that the Lord will help us make it”.
Growing up I had shoulder length hair, but once I began wearing it in an afro, and later using relaxers the trouble began. In 1997, my hair was once again shoulder length, without my doing anything special. Shortly after that however, stress, that led to a diagnosis of panic and anxiety attacks, caused me to begin pulling my hair, until it was bald in spots,( trichotillomania)
While it was long in the back, I had short and bald spots just below the crown. My husband cut it twice more, but the same thing continued to happen. So now my husband has cut my hair 5 times, and either I twist and pull it until it breaks, or it gets to it’s plateau and stops growing.
In the accompanying photos you see me with a bald head, and my hair as it grew. What you cannot see is the breakage, and locking that took place behind my head. I was so disappointed to have to cut more than 15 months worth of growth, yet again for a 5th time, but I had no choice.
If you find that your natural hair will not cooperate, because it thins, breaks, you pull it out, or perms do not take, please do not despair. Find a song to sing, and start over again. Analyze your steps and maintenance routine, and you will surely find out what you need to do or stop doing.
Our hair changes as we age, and that is a factor we must keep in mind. As we get older, we also no longer have the time and in some cases finances to maintain our hair as we did in our youth. I realized, I was not always keeping my ends clipped, or moisturizing asI knew I should.
Once it was mid length, I found I was trying to force it into a pony tail. This seems to be a trait of black women. I guess a pony tail is validation that our hair has grown. What I do not understand is why we cannot wait until we have more than enough for a pony tail before we try to wear one.
The main point is to accept your unique hair. Do not compare yourself with others. If you have to cut your hair multiple times, just keep going until you get it right. Read blogs, magazines and talk to other women dealing the same issues.