Relationships are so important but challenging. I feel society creates unwarranted competitiveness amongst women that causes us to sabotage instead of support one another. That’s why I want to share information about those who have helped and continue to help me along my hair journey. These are women whom I love and respect. They are insatiable, brillant, positive and vibrant. Some will be bloggers and vloggers but others will be Curl Friends from around the way, family, friends and classmates. Game recognizes game so it’s only right that I pay my respects. ✊
NaTruReaLEE, my first feature has to be about my mama. After all, she is the first person who cared for my hair and my biggest influence. Her name is Mary.
My mom has always been a trendsetter herself when it comes to her own hair. She wore beautiful afros and natural updos in pictures before I was born. She dyed it the same color red that I love now.
I think she rocked press and curls in my early years. Then she did something drastic. I remember her walking in the kitchen with a fade (very low cut hair style) when I was around four. I was horrified. I’m sure my eyes bugged out as I screamed, “Mama, you look like a boy!” My granddaddy taught me that girls are supposed to have long hair. I thought something was seriously wrong with her. At that tender age, I didn’t know Mary was a rebel.
Mama striking a pose circa 2009
I don’t remember how long she wore that style but it wasn’t too long. The jheri Curl came out. She went from cornrolling (not boxer braids! 😠) people’s hair to hooking up their perms. That was some of the most stanking stuff I’ve ever smelled, but I still wanted one. Mom wouldn’t let me have one. She said I didn’t needed. My grandma even rocked a curl but she said people needed curls to make their hair look like mine. That was confusing. I always combed my curls out so it looked like a big frizzy bush. I didnt know what they were talking about.
Mama finally got rid of the Curl in the 90’s. She traded it for a perm and she wore it in an updo for years. She had a standing weekly appointment at the hairdresser. I loved going with her and getting my hair done too.
I was both shocked and delighted when my mom decided to loc her tresses though. Locs are taboo and lookef at as unkempt and unprofessional. Very few people wore them then, especially in my small, Midwestern hometown. She just chopped and loc”d like it was nothing. Her starter locs were cute but quickly grew waist length in a few short years. She could’ve been a double for Whoopee Goldberg but much easier on the eyes. She looked like a nubian queen.
Unfortunately in, 2007, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She didn’t want her precious locs to fall out from the chemotherapy so she chose to shave her head like she did when I was little. I was once again mortified, this time because she had cancer. I was also proud though. She took control of the situation and this was her way of preparing for battle. She was determined and I continue to admire her bravery. I couldn’t imagine having to shave my head. As I mentioned in previous blogs, that’s what influenced me to start my own natural hair journey.
Before her first chemo treatment
Mama & I circa 1980
Mom lost her eyebrows, lashes, and the rest of her body hair to chemo. Most of it grew back but there were about three different textures on her head. The top was especially thin so she’s worn it short since then.
Mom’s hair started thickening again in 2014 and she was diagnosed with breast cancer again. This time her hair didn’t fall out. She decided to become a walking, talking breast cancer awareness billboard. She dyed her hair pink and rocked it almost a year.
She’s still battling this disease and her hair has been a huge part of this fight. She’s taking a preventative medication that makes her hair very dry and brittle.
It fell out in patches last month after she coiled the back. They weren’t tight coils but her hair wasn’t moisturized and it just broke off overnight. She maintained her composure but I could tell it bothered her. I felt so bad for her. She’s dealing with other side effects from the chemotherapy too. Its not easy at all. She decided to get a hair cut last weekand it did wonders for her spirit. It’s like it gave her strength to keep fighting. Hair is powerful. I love my mom for showing the world how to beat cancer with grace and style. She doesn’t just fight like a girl, she fights like a Curlie Girl.💪💁💓👠👢👑💅👊✊.