When I was a baby, I was born with a full head of hair.
My mother told me when I was little I used to itch her from the inside.
By the time I was a toddler, my hair changed in texture and remained very short…. not growing much at all. My father has repeatedly told me — sometimes dead sober, sometimes in drunkeness — that he and my mother thought that I would never grow hair. Indeed, my hair did remain short for a very long time.
By the time we had moved to Barbados, my hair was what can only be described in the Caribbean as being a little ‘picky’.
This was also kind of complicated by the fact that almost from the day after we got there, my mother took us to the beach…. it was like a weekend ritual for us. We’d get home on Friday afternoons — my mother was a teacher — and try to slip in an hour at the beach. Every Saturday morning, or Sunday… every weekend it was the beach.
My hair dried with a lot of sea water and sand and sea weed juice in it. My hair was always split and dry, and seriously bleached by the sun. My mother’s solution was to cut it off.
I remember that I would cry and cry, watching my red gold hair, a colour I loved on my head, float to the ground. I was miserable with the short hair, though I got used to it. It also contributed to a rambunctious tomboyishness that was quite liberating.
Funnily, every time it grew back, it grew a little longer than it had been before, and thicker for it as well.
However, the process would begin again. I also swam on my school’s team in preparatory school, so chlorine added to the mix. I always remember my hair being on the verge of despair as a child.
It rarely had an opportunity to grow to my ears, and turned several shades between orange, to gold to auburn.
By the time I was a teenager I was doing my own damage to my hair with straightening and curling and perms…. I was forced to cut my hair a few times due to the damage.
Everytime it grew back, it came in longer, thicker and fuller than before. I don’t think I really made a connection between the cutting of my hair, and the fact that it actually started to grow. Not until the last time I cut it. Since then, my hair has been so thick, even before the dreads, that I couldn’t believe it. Even before I locksed up, that’s going on something like four years, and now my second set, it was almost to my shoulder.
I am of course, no different from any other woman, over the course of my life, my sense of self has been seriously tied up with my hair.
Most of the time I am terrible to it. I reallly do not not have the patience with it, because some time in my twenties, it decided to become a mane. It has become so thick and so long and so quick to grow that I really just do not have the time to take care of it. Unfortunately, I don’t have the money to really take care of it either.
These days, my father makes his comments about the length and thickness of my hair in amazement… I just think if you prune back something it’ll grow, it will fight to become better, bigger, stronger and more beautiful.