In 1999, I had had enough.
My hair was breaking off. It was getting shorter and shorter. I decided that I wanted to begin pressing my hair and leave the straightening cream alone.
My hairdresser seemed to become very frightened at the idea of me changing my hairdo. I don’t know if it was the potential earnings loss for him or his reputation. He calling card was the “Wrap.” He told me that my hair would fall out and I should just continue getting perms. Since my hair was already falling out with the perms I decided to make the transition on my own.
Going natural was a solitary journey. It wasn’t one that I began because of some new political awareness. I didn’t change my lifestyle. Despite this people began to assume that I was a vegetarian and wanted to talk about Black issues all of the time.
I discovered that I have very odd hair that will not nap properly. It just coils. I pay good money to get it twisted and it will unravel. My high school students used to pull on my hair to watch it snap back. Like “Boing.” Kinda irritating.
I hate wearing afro puffs because they give me headaches yet they are the nappy equivalent to a lazy pony-tail.
People also assumed that I was locking my hair which is absurd. I didn’t want to do anything to my hair that was permanent ever again.
I have received funny looks, stares, comments and nasty remarks from friends, co-workers and family.
I was being defiant against generations of lye conditioning.
It as if I had stopped attending religious services and I people wanted to bring me into the lye. I didn’t care.
After years of this abuse I began to find the entire debate very funny. I once remarked to a “Diversity Trainer” that I had nappy hair and she lectured me on why I should not refer to my hair as nappy…. I was demeaning myself. Whateva! I had already embraced the nappy. I wanted to shout it everywhere that I went.
In 2004 I wanted a vanity license plate. In Ohio there are words that cannot be used on license plates that are of a sensitive certain tone. True story.. Years ago, I used to regularly see a car that read " Biiyach." It disappeared one day . I later heard about the screening process for vanity plates and that police officers could cite you for having offensive plates. When I checked for kinky and nappy they were both rejected. I can't imagine why....
But IBFRZY was not. That is how I came up with my nickname an OHIO DMV approved phrase. I didn’t get the plate because of the cost and I believe that it is no longer approved. Ha ha….
That’s my story