Hair Pride

My hair once looked like these:

Cropped with china bangs

Cropped with china bangs

Faded with auburn color

Faded with auburn color


Baby dreads with color on tips

Baby dreads with color on tips


And these:
Faded Hair Gumby-style

Faded Hair Gumby-style


The Afro

The Afro


When I got grown, I was happy to wear my hair the way I wanted to, and took it to the hilt. When I was a child, I vowed that I would wear my hair the way I wanted to as soon as I could. This heart decision happened at four, when I was standing in my hall mirror watching my natural hair dry; my hairdresser wasn’t available that week so my hair was being done at home. “Oooo, ma, can’t I keep it,” I said as I admired my impending Afro, but my mama declared “Un, un. We gonna press that nappy” head. And press we did. Every two weeks where I also got two ponytails and a bang. Once, when I was five, I convinced my hairdresser to style me three ponytails instead of my regular two and a bang. My mother wasn’t having it. Two ponytails and a bang was how she could manage my hair in between two week appointments so when she arrived to pick me up she had Mrs. Barrow restyle my hair, after putting me in my place for deciding what I would do with my hair, and I wasn’t paying for it, and I was the child and the nerve I had…..

So from a young age I have wanted to wear my hair the way I wanted to wear my hair, and natural was at the top of the list. The pressing comb traumatized me, and I have always thought there was nothing wrong with kinky hair, even when my 5th grade boy nemesis said my hair was hard, and in 7th grade my arch girl rival (who I thought was my friend, BTW) compared her long flowing hair to my cropped mushroom by asking “How long is your hair?” as she stretched a few locks of mine while tousling hers. These incidents set the foundation for me eventually having pride in my hair. I was determined to do what I wanted to do and never let a mama, a Ronald or a Lauren make me feel bad for how I decided to wear my hair. I, like many of us women with hair woes, obsessed over my look, would pout when I didn’t like it and would try a new look just to stand out from my last style and among other women. God challenged me about this hair pride when I began wearing my hair locked 17 years ago. I’ll tell you about that the next time. In the meantime, does my story sound familiar? What are your hair war stories? I invite you to comment and look forward to the dialogue.

Copyright 2009 by Rhonda J. Smith

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One response to “Hair Pride

  1. My hair wars are sort of different, to an extent. I always had long hair. I have fine, thin hair that grows like wildflowers. I didn’t have confidence in my hair. Quite the opposite. Though my hair is fine, I permed (relaxed) it to fit in, and I cut it to make it less obvious that it’s long. I didn’t understand how my hair had anything to do with who I was and so in turn I felt if I walked in a room I should naturally apologize for my long hair, what most people would call “white girl hair.” After I got over the perm pressures about 10 years ago, my hair grew healthier and longer and I would get the same “OMG” and “How long and pretty your hair is” looks and comments. These comments made me feel uncomfortable because the tone wasn’t “You really have nice hair”; they were more like, “I wish I had your hair and you MUST think you’re all that.” So about five years ago for every summer thereafter I would cut my hair to my neck in a bob and that would keep the comments to a minimum except for the initial shock that I even had the nerve to cut off “all that pretty hair.” I never appreciated the hair God gave me because I wasn’t secure in who I was in Him.
    I realized my insecurity had nothing to do with my hair, just how I felt about it and what I was trained to believe growing up: that hair somehow defines me and puts me in a typical stereotype of light skinned/long haired females have no depth and are superficial. That is the complete opposite of who I am, NOW, anyway, because people will have you thinking one thing about yourself so much, YOU start to believe it! But when God showed me I can’t take credit for anything, especially the length or grade of my hair, I seriously I had to get a grip and help other women realize that the outer appearance is not even worth mentioning if our hearts aren’t right before God. The battle continues because women are always looking at the next woman to compare themselves to, and it’s not necessary because our eyes should be on Christ alone and then and only then can we accept who we are and that our physical man, including hair, is just clay.
    We represent Christ so I’m not suggesting we don’t take care of what He has given us. However, I am saying as women of God we should seek first Him and he’ll take care of everything else. He’ll teach us how to carry ourselves in modesty. He’ll teach us how to be sensitive to others who have not had the revelation yet that the inner man is far more valuable than the outer man. He’ll tell us through the Holy Spirit when we’re tripping and going too far or not far enough. He’s a God that is involved! So with that in mind I can walk around with all of my “long pretty hair” and not feel like apologizing but smiling, representing that the old stereotypes are dead to me because my Daddy told me to love what He created in me and every woman I see with locks, press and curl, fade, bob, waist length, shoulder length, long and flowing, tight curls, afros, etc. It doesn’t matter to Him; it’s our heart he’s after!
    Rhonda, keep these things coming. I like it a lot. I never commented before however, I just may continue to do so in the future. God bless you always!

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