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My Head of Hair is My Religion


My hair is my religion. Not in a blasphemous kind of way. As with most heads of hair on this planet, mine has undergone a series of transformations. If I were to pick out a common trait in my head of hair, a continuous thread that has been with me from infancy to today, I’d have to say thickness. My head of hair has always been thick. Even as a newborn, I had a thick head of hair. Thick and wavy and light brownish. That’s how my hair had its beginnings. By the time I was in elementary school, the wavy went curly, and the light brownish, dark. Fully dominant traits. Thick and curly and brown hair. Nothing extraordinary. In fact, this transformation is almost entirely ordinary, or maybe even completely ordinary. I’m not sure. But by the time I was in eighth grade, people were already commenting on my hair and how it had the potential to become an afro. I did my best to keep my thick brown hair under control. I would comb it in the mornings, and while my hair was still wet, or drying, it could pass for a relaxed head of hair, but by the afternoon, after hours of the elements, my hair showed a severe tendency towards froing. Regular visits to the barber were required to keep my afro under control. Only water could get my hair to fall. Only the weight of water, well, that and some kind of hair jelly. That’s what I like to call mousse, hair jelly. I dappled with the stuff, heck, I even tried hairspray, but these attempts at styling didn’t last long. All I could rationalize doing on a daily basis in terms of hair management was a shower and a comb. Every month I would visit the barber. What became of my hair over the course of the day and month became of my hair. I wasn’t going to fight it. I could wear a hat if I had to, so what? I got to high school eventually, took me awhile but I did eventually get there, and that’s when I lost the drive to visit the barber. Shower and comb were all I could put up with in terms of hair management. I wore a hat everyday. I slept in my hat. I sometimes even bathed in my hat. When it came time for the head dunk and shampoo, I’d use forefinger and thumb to take my hat off, and I’d extend my hat upwards while the rest of my body went downwards, submerged. With my free hand, I’d scrub my thick brown hair until it got wet all the way down to the scalp, which was an itch to find. My head of hair got that dense after there were no more monthly trips to the barber. I had to dig to find my scalp. As a substitute, I made a one-time purchase of hair clippers, the kind that uses guards numbered 1-8. I shaved my head on a three. That means I would leave 3/8 of an inch on my scalp. Then I’d let my hair grow for months, and when I felt the need for a trim, I’d take out the clippers, strap on #3, and buzz away. I didn’t own a comb for years. I’d just shower and let my hair dry, and when it dried unruly, I put the clippers to task. This trend didn’t stop until ooohh not that long ago. This cycle of buzzing and growing. I like the perpetual process of rebirth. Or at least that’s how it feels after letting your hair grow as it pleases for months on end, and then putting the clippers to task. A cycle of growing, dying, and being reborn. My hair is my religion. Not in a blasphemous kind of way. Growth, death, rebirth. But right now is a special time in terms of my hair’s life. The growth part of my perpetual cycle has lasted longer than ever. Maybe not by some people’s standards, but for mine, I’d say eleven months is a long time to not tame my hair. Especially my hair that only falls under the weight of water. It’s fine in the ocean, fine in the shower, but once the elements do their drying, my hair becomes an afro. People are recommending dreads. I’m not so sure about dreads. Uh, not really. I don’t think I have whatever it takes to make something like dreads happen. I have gone back to combing my hair when I get out of the shower. A nice once-over. Then the curls can spring into life and do as they please. It’s a life of its own, my thick head of hair, it’s freedom. I’d even say it’s love, my thick hair doing as it pleases. But the time is near. I can smell it in the air. The time for clippers, for death by #3. Then, rebirth.

November 22, 2009 7:08 pm

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