Listen, I've been a fan of long tresses since I can remember! My beautiful barbies, Beyoncé and my mom had one thing in common beautiful long hair. I couldn't wait..like I literally couldn't... I started wearing 12inch extensions at the tender young age of 10 (go ahead gasp). Don't get it twisted, Edna didn't play so the styles were definitely kid friendly but being the only black girl in my competition class, extensions just made me feel less self conscious about my appearance.
As I got older the extension length increased so I'm sure kids from 5th grade up never knew the truth lol. By 19 I was hiding behind 22" Indian bundles and the inches just increased with time. I started wearing my natural hair more frequently after my pregnancy with Oakley. Darryl wasn't into wigs at the time and sew ins were not in my stay at home mom budget! I was on a Wendy Williams segment in November 2018 and most people barely recognized me because I didn't have any weave LOL (excuse me.. extentenions). But as my finances increased the frequency of styling my natural hair declined.
I can't lie.. besides extensions being so darn easy and maintainable, I just love the "extraness" of it all! I LOVE 28" Malaysian, Brazilian, whatever bundles! It's like Christmas with every new install. But something stopped me dead in my tracks ...(see what I did there).
A couple months back, an instagram video went viral of a little African-American girl getting her hair done and crying because she didn't feel that she was beautiful. When I tell you, I cried like a baby, oh man I cried. I remember feeling just like her around 2nd and 3rd grade. Even though my mom never wore extensions in her hair, it was the 90s and Ms. Edna wasn't rocking anybodies fro. My mom's hair was either beautifully curled or fashioned in a "French roll" updo for the summer months. My hair wasn't as long and I couldn't understand her logic of just giving it time to grow (young and dumb).
Last month, Oakley and I had a similar experience as the little girl! For a while now, Oakley has taken up putting on my wigs and dancing around the room. I didn't think anything of it, just a 2 year old playing dress up. One night while getting ready for bed she was all frowned up and I told her to stop frowning because she was too beautiful to frown. I kept repeating that she was beautiful and Oakley just burst into tears, like hard balling-crying tears. I just held her until she was calm but I felt the lump in my throat appear. I never want her to feel less than or unattractive at any age but especially not at 2. I realized that she doesn't think we look alike, with my "beat face" and 28" Diana Ross hair. So I've made an effort to do my hair and then style hers similar.
Our go to products:
Listen, listen.. I will STILL be taking full advantage of my protective styles however, it is my goal to show her how versatile and beautiful our hair, our skin, our style and overall culture can be. I plan to shove so many affirmations in her ear, that by the time she steps out into this world of opinions, there will be no room for self deprecating thoughts. I realize that I can advocate for representation in dance education, in cartoons, shows etc., but it really starts at home.
I just pray history doesn't repeat itself and she'll listen to her mother.
I'll let you know how it goes...
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