Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Hair....Simple, Right?

Alyssa (L) Tatiana (R)
Tatiana (L) hair out before braiding /Cousin Alyssa (R) '97

As a white woman I never realized how much I took my hair for granted. Sounds silly doesn't it? Hair, what's the big deal? You get up, you wash it, you brush it, you dry it, you style it, and you go on your merry way.....me yes, Tatiana not so much! When Tat was born 14 years ago I had no idea that hair would be such a big thing...both literally and figuratively. =) Tat was born with a combo of my thick, thick hair and her Dad's curly hair. I had no idea how to do my own daughter's hair! Crazy huh!? Luckily my husband Jamie was brought up in a house full of women, because from the time Tatiana was born (she came out with a full head of hair....a "baby fro" no less) Jamie, along with Tat's Cousins and Aunts have done her hair. They would sit for hours combing and braiding, combing and braiding and then adding cute little barrettes. She would cry because her scalp was so tender and I would have to leave the room so I didn't hear her cry. Jamie and his Sisters all told me she would get used to it. Nuts! As Tat got older she wanted the long braids which Jamie did not know how to do so my business partner's daughter Yanna started doing Tat's hair. This entailed going out and "buying hair" so it could be braided into Tat's real hair. Who knew I would ever "buy" hair! Okay I didn't buy it...Jamie did. Now the fun begins.....8-10 hours of Tat sitting there while Yanna braids in every little braid. Yes 8-10 hours and it hurts while it's getting done! Then for two days after that her scalp is soooo tight from the braids her head hurts! Beauty or insanity?! Okay, now fast forward to present day and we have moved from the braids to wanting straight hair. Time for a perm. Wait, a perm? Don't perms make your hair curly? They did when I was growing up. White people perms, yes.....black people perms....no. Just the opposite....perms make their hair straight. Now Tatiana goes to a salon for black women and gets perms in her hair to keep it straight. This process takes about two hours each time and quite often has a "lovely burning" affect on the skin. Wow! Once again the price of beauty! Now you might ask what about swimming, what about the rain, what about washing........water is the enemy.....if it gets wet, it goes curly! Perm, history! Okay not history but then Tat gets to comb and straighten, comb and straighten. So today when you get ready ask yourself.... hair....simple.....right?


Anonymous said...

OK, sister-friend. Thanks for the 'heads-up' (ha!) about this post. I now have the privilege of raising a beautiful little girl with THICK, CURLY hair from her multi-racial heritage. Fortunately I have a lot of corn-row/braiding experience from high school friends who used to have me work on their hair. Who knew it would be so crucial now. As my daughter screams, "you are a MEAN mommy - that hurts!!!" I know that it is a rite of passage, of sorts, and it is only the beginning. The cultural part of these hairstyles is so important for our daughters and I love being a part of it. The hours in a salon are in our future, I'm sure, as Desi is Tat's mini-me!
Rhea (don't know how to list other than 'anonymous' on this blog..help!)

Amy said...

Oh my gosh that is so funny! It is like deja vu with Desi and Tatiana! I am looking forward to sharing many stories with you and hearing all about more deja vu moments in the future! =) I wish we all lived on the same coast but thank goodness for the blogs so we can "watch" our kids grow and go through these things together!

You should be able to post just like you do on our family site. I have it set up so anyone can post or so you can sign in. Anonymous is fine if it doesn't work. Weird...I will check it again.

Anonymous said...

Oh the joys of mixed hair.....when I was in my relaxer stage the lady who was doing my hair knew I was mixed and said I was being a baby when I told her that my head was burning. 5 minutes later tears were rolling down my eyes and all I could do was worry about my hair falling out. Finally a man from the salon had mercy on me and washed the relaxer out of my head. I left that salon with second and third degree burns and had to go to the hospital and have three spots of my head shaved off. Talk about embarrassment. I didn't go to school for a week and was terrified to go back. And where do you find me every two months? In the salon getting my hair relaxed. Crazy huh? Hair for me was such an emotional thing. Thanks for sharing. Tat is blessed to have you (both) as parents!! :) Nicole

Amy said...

Nicole I still can't believe you had to go through that! So insane! Thank you again for sharing your story. It just shows the difference of what we all go through....to the extreme!!! Hugs and love....Amy