Family and Hair/Curls

amber-skyamber-sky Posts: 9Registered Users
(I'm a new member, but I'm pretty sure this has been talked about a tons of times.) And sorry if this seems like babble.

I love my grandmother. She's like my best friend...

...and yet she can sometimes prove to be a foe.

For the longest time, my grandmother has always hated the idea of me cutting my hair. She would often say that "A woman's hair is her glory" and has sited that from the Bible, yet I have not seen that anywhere in a Bible (if you can find it, show me please.) I suppose the fact that I had to keep it long made me want to cut it more. Well I finally got it cut (not a lot but...either way it displeased my grandmother.) I hated the style so I ended up just crying about it. But it's growing back now, so I think I won't mess with it's length for a while.

My hair has always been long, in fact in school, I was either known for my artistic interests or my long hair (I do have very close Native American roots, as well as Caucasian.)

Now that I want to go natural (as in no more relaxers) she's made her opinion heard quite often. I washed my hair last Tuesday and I haven't straightened it since (though it is still mostly relaxed. My hair is weird. Once it's wet and it dries, it stays pretty curly.) It has been poofy and sort of thirsty/frizzy and every time I visit her she'll say "When will your mother straighten your hair?" and looks at me in a very strange glare.

I'm getting the feeling that she wants my hair to be bone straight, not only so it can be managed better, but also because she just thinks it's pretty. She told me that if I didn't straighten it, it would break off.

I'm black and so is my family. But my father's side has always looked white, especially my grandmother (I used to think everyone on his side was white until I got older!) Anyway...back to the point. My grandma was born in 1922...so I'm guessing she has ben conditioned to think that black women should slick their hair straight and down (and I remember she used to put a ton of crap on my head to make it slick.)

....I guess my main point is..I love her so much, but I feel bad about what she's been telling me. I feel bad that she doesn't think I look pretty with my hair in it's natural curls. I'm aware that I can do what I please, but it's just not that easy. I value her love and respect and her opinion...but I'm not sure what I should do. I don't think I could try to explain to her why I'm doing this (she thinks my cousin, who is a little on the hippie side, talked the idea into me.) It's bad enough black women are made to think they are unkempt and unsophisticated if they go natural.

Anybody know what I could do...or have a similar experience?

Comments

  • SurlycurlySurlycurly Posts: 156Registered Users
    Amber-sky, unfortunately a lot of older black people still feel that we should keep our hair bone-straight (or as close to that as possible) in order to be pretty. It may have something to do with age (or not, I don't know), but continuing to relax your hair just to please your grandmother or anyone else is only going to make you unhappy.

    I've gone through this myself. I had long, relaxed hair for 23 years, and then one day walked into my hairdresser's salon and told her to cut off all the relaxed hair (it was about bra-strap length at the time). A lot of the women in my family really thought that I had lost my mind, because it was just unheard of to go natural.

    I know it can be difficult to go against someone in your family, particularly when you really love and respect that person. But sometimes, if it's really worth it to you, you just have to stick to your guns. Honestly, there's probably not a whole lot you can say to your grandmother to change her mind, but your happiness is important and no one can decide whether being natural is right for you, but you.
  • hipchickhipchick Posts: 350Registered Users
    Could you nicely tell your grandmother that you like your hair curly and you know how she feels about your hair but you would appreciate it if she doesn't mention it to you anymore because it upsets you?

    It is amazing how our closest family members can say the most hurtful things to us. It seems that they want us to fit in so they push us to conform and then they think we will be happy.

    The other day my mother informed me that most men like straight hair. How is that a helpful thing to say when I have curly hair??? Besides I don't even care what most men think or like as all I need to do is meet one good guy that accepts me for me and vice versa.
  • amber-skyamber-sky Posts: 9Registered Users
    *SurlyCurly, thanks for the reply.

    I see. That was pretty brave of you, unless you knew exactly what you wanted to do.

    I think doing a BC (I believe it's called?) would just be rather scary for me. The shortest I've ever had my hair has been maybe APL (armpit length) and I think something that drastic would just make me go mad. (I partly blame my grandmother for instilling the whole long hair=good thing, but part of me just likes my long hair...maybe my Native American roots are surfacing or something. Lol.)

    I would like to grow out my relaxed hair without cutting, but I'm not sure what to do. (Hopefully I can find the answer around here.)

    Anyway, although it sounds silly, I've always felt that she would stop loving me if I cut my hair. I hope it's not the case with me going natural. Perhaps it is a bit frizzy now, but even when it's not, I don't think she would like it. And yes, I think age definitely plays a factor. She's 80-something and very set in her ways most of the time.

    I have what I think is 3b hair. Because my grandmother has always taken care of it and washed it and everything, I was never taught to take care of it myself. I'm just now learning to shampoo it on my own. :crybaby: I feel embarrassed, but I think it's better if I come out and say this.

    I asked her what I was to do when I got older in order to take care of it, and all she could say was go to a salon. I think it's bad to have to depend on a salon for basic haircare. So, I feel by going natural, it will give me a chance to not only learn to take care of it, but get the chemicals out and to also embrace what's naturally me.

    *hipchick, I think what I first have to do is prove somehow I can take care of it on my own (which won't be easy if you read what I wrote above). It doesn't matter if I ask her nicely. Even if I say it hurts my feelings she'll keep shoveling the same hurtful things at me, because she doesn't know what else to do.

    Just like you mentioned, my grandmother also said that men like long straight hair. I'm sure not every man is like that (and then again it's not like I can't flat iron my hair) but I shouldn't have to get it chemically relaxed. My hair is still long, isn't that enough for her?

    And talk about pushing us to conform. I love her, but when I got older, she told me that she used to make me try to write with my right hand (which is a very terrible thing to do to a child, though she didn't know, so I can't blame her.) I'm still left handed and I draw and write with it, but I can be pretty ambidextrous (though I'm glad that she has changed her outlook on handedness, she now says left-handers are lucky.) Anyway, just an example.
  • amber-skyamber-sky Posts: 9Registered Users
    I feel so horrible right now.

    I confronted my grandmother full out on why she was against me going natural. I hate being upset with anyone especially a family member, but even more so with her.

    And she's mad at me for discussing it with my parents. I don't see why I have to keep this between she and I. Plus all I wanted was some support.

    She's so stubborn. I feel so hurt. I don't even know why I bothered to try and discuss it with her. She won't budge. Not only did she say she liked me better with straight hair but that she felt sorry for me because I wouldn't attract a guy.

    The only thing that I have accepted is that I need to try and do what I think is best (and not always want to talk about things. I guess it's just my nature to want to work my problems out. But I knew she wouldn't approve so maybe it's my fault.) However, she thinks I'm going to ruin my hair if I do this and that it will get bad and break off.

    To be honest, I'm scared that she will be right. I don't know the first thing about taking care of my hair, let alone taking care of it in it's natural state. :crybaby:

    I really need some advice. Maybe I'm just weak or something. I only want what's best for me. I'm 22, I'm trying to make sure I start my life on the right track, but I don't want to lose the love of those around me or be bullied or ridiculed.
  • notyouraveragecurlnotyouraveragecurl Posts: 193Registered Users
    Now...

    I'm NOT suggesting you do the same thing. But I ahd a very similar problem. Not only was my family alway commenting about my hair negatively, but my peers, the guys I dated, and even some of my friends. My hair was a little bit past my waist, damaged, coloured, and working off some serious relaxers I'd been hurling at it for years and years. After one particularly heated debate about my hair, I think I just snapped. LOL

    I looked at myself in the mirror and said "this is NOT me." Because it wasn't. "Fixing" something to be "beautiful" is a form of self-rjection. Changing your look sometimes is just fine. Hell, sometimes I've straightened a handful of times in the last year or so just for a change! But when you start being married to your flat-iron, or when you start beleiving that you are not beautiful because you have this texutre or that texture or that hair length or this skin colour or any variation--that is the worst form of self-hate, I believe, that anyone can inflict.

    The day that I "snapped", I walked into a totally random salon, sat down on the chair and told the woman "take it all off". I was left with only half an inch of hair all around my head.

    And then I promptely cried all the way home.

    I want to say I cried for about three days. Everyone had something to say about it. But when I finally mentally slapped myself and told me to get on with it already and walked outside the house, I realized I was being silly. We as women hold onto our hair because society has made us believe it to be a sign of femininity and beauty. My culture (Brazilian) has taught me that as well.

    That said, I basically told society to go you-know-what itself and walked out the door with my head held high. I got compliments from everyone :)

    And even now, my family has seen that my hair is healthy and they have seen that my self-acceptance of what has been given to me is beautiful, not my hair. Even now, I'm growing out my hair, and it's awkward and funky-looking but i've learned to style it beautifully and I know that in a couple months' time, it's going to look better than before! Still, it's like India.Arie said, "I am not my hair".

    I am willing to bet that you are an absolutely gorgeous girl with curls that are screaming to be let free. Embrace what you have and let go. It will be the most freeing experience that you will possibly ever have. :)

    PS: All the men I have spoken to LOOOOOOVE my hair now better than ever! ;)
    There is a phenomenal amount of beauty in self-acceptance. <3
  • nutterbutterflynutterbutterfly Posts: 137Registered Users
    the verse about long hair being a woman's glory IS in the Bible... 1 Corinthians 11:15, actually. but that's kind of besides the point, I think. The passage is actually talking about coverings, which... I dunno... could be interpreted as symbolic or whatever. Also partially cultural: back then it was a SERIOUS social misstep for a woman to cut her hair short.

    Anyways:
    different people are going to have all different sorts of opinions re:your hair. When I chopped off 8-9 inches (not that much!) one of my friends just about freaked. Beforehand, she was doing EVERYTHING to persuade me not to do it. She has hair definitely below BSL, and she does value length of hair, very much.
    However... another friend of mine saw me after my cut and about shrieked because she loved it short (if shoulder-blade-length is short).

    My friend who loved the length of my hair was so dead set against me cutting it because of something deeper, I think. A lot of women/girls have a connection to a certain stereotype of what is "feminine"- that stereotype being LONG, flowy, smooth, etc. I gave into it myself for a while. But now... I mean... I've realized that femininity and beauty are not about what your hair looks like, exactly, but how you carry it.

    I would suggest that you don't openly defy or antagonize your grandmother (although it doesn't look like you're trying to anyways). Quiet confidence is going to be your key... when she sees you with the gorgeous hair I'm sure you'll have, she might have a change of mind.
    I am a 3a/b with normal-coarse hair that is medium-thick and fairly porous.

    Currently using:
    ~VitaminShampoo (CG :mrgreen: )
    ~L'oreal Vive Pro Nutri Gloss for medium to long hair that's curly/wavy
    ......wow that is a mouthful.
    ~Garnier Fructis curl-shaping spray gel
    *or*
    ~Pantene curl defining mousse
  • amber-skyamber-sky Posts: 9Registered Users
    notyouraveragecurl
    Thanks a lot for sharing that experience with me.
    Yeah, as for doing a BC, I was/am totally frightened..because I don't think I could handle such a thing right now. (Trying to find some other ways of transitioning while I wait for my relaxer to grow out. Gonna take forever!)

    I'll try to remember that. :)

    nutterbutterfly
    Thanks for commenting.
    Yeah. Quite honestly I wouldn't give a care about some stranger talking crap about my hair. But I'm quite close to my grandmother and she's always done my hair for me, so I guess you can kind of see why I'm feeling this despair.

    Thankfully, we're on speaking terms again, but I won't even mention my hair to her. I won't even tell her what I put on it (because she also believes that changing your regimen and products is not so smart either. As if any other product would make my hair break out in purple mushrooms or something silly of that nature.)

    I really didn't mean to start drama. I'm the type of person who likes to talk things out so as to avoid conflict when I know something is wrong or doesn't feel right, but I guess I have to learn that that can't always be used in every case.

    But so far so good. I'm learning that I like my hair curly. There probably will be times I want to wear it straight, but it would be nice to know I won't be altering my texture to achieve that style. I'm sorry that she won't be happy about it and thinks that curly hair doesn't suit me...but I'm 22 and I don't need to be fooling around with my body. This is the time I need to try and get it right and take care of it the best way I can. Going natural is the only way.

    Thanks again.
  • vähän kiharavähän kihara Posts: 16Registered Users
    Could some of your Grandma's attitude be because maybe she felt needed and bonded with you over doing your hair? Maybe she takes it personally that you have decided you want your hair different than she knows how to do it and are trying to do it on your own now.

    Would she be a tiny bit receptive if you asked her to help with some hair task still sometimes?

    Just a thought.
    Don't worry, it only feels kinky the first time....

    2, Fiii
    low porosity

    Modified cg: Freeman
    Papaya & Lime Overboard Shine conditioner and Urtekram rose low poo.

    For styling, Garnier Endurance Invisible Gel, it has a water soluble cone in it.

  • amber-skyamber-sky Posts: 9Registered Users
    vähän kihara
    It's possible. But even if I ask her to do it (which she probably will) I know she may some kind of complaint against how it is while she's doing it. So, if I want her to fix it for me, I will ask. But I know she won't hesitate to tell me that she doesn't like it or that it doesn't look right to her.

    I suppose I'll get over it, or I won't have to comment back to her, but hearing it won't be so nice. ^^;
  • Ryfrie21Ryfrie21 Posts: 40Registered Users
    amber-sky wrote: »
    (I'm a new member, but I'm pretty sure this has been talked about a tons of times.) And sorry if this seems like babble.

    I love my grandmother. She's like my best friend...

    ...and yet she can sometimes prove to be a foe.

    For the longest time, my grandmother has always hated the idea of me cutting my hair. She would often say that "A woman's hair is her glory" and has sited that from the Bible, yet I have not seen that anywhere in a Bible (if you can find it, show me please.) I suppose the fact that I had to keep it long made me want to cut it more. Well I finally got it cut (not a lot but...either way it displeased my grandmother.) I hated the style so I ended up just crying about it. But it's growing back now, so I think I won't mess with it's length for a while.

    My hair has always been long, in fact in school, I was either known for my artistic interests or my long hair (I do have very close Native American roots, as well as Caucasian.)

    Now that I want to go natural (as in no more relaxers) she's made her opinion heard quite often. I washed my hair last Tuesday and I haven't straightened it since (though it is still mostly relaxed. My hair is weird. Once it's wet and it dries, it stays pretty curly.) It has been poofy and sort of thirsty/frizzy and every time I visit her she'll say "When will your mother straighten your hair?" and looks at me in a very strange glare.

    I'm getting the feeling that she wants my hair to be bone straight, not only so it can be managed better, but also because she just thinks it's pretty. She told me that if I didn't straighten it, it would break off.

    I'm black and so is my family. But my father's side has always looked white, especially my grandmother (I used to think everyone on his side was white until I got older!) Anyway...back to the point. My grandma was born in 1922...so I'm guessing she has ben conditioned to think that black women should slick their hair straight and down (and I remember she used to put a ton of crap on my head to make it slick.)

    ....I guess my main point is..I love her so much, but I feel bad about what she's been telling me. I feel bad that she doesn't think I look pretty with my hair in it's natural curls. I'm aware that I can do what I please, but it's just not that easy. I value her love and respect and her opinion...but I'm not sure what I should do. I don't think I could try to explain to her why I'm doing this (she thinks my cousin, who is a little on the hippie side, talked the idea into me.) It's bad enough black women are made to think they are unkempt and unsophisticated if they go natural.

    Anybody know what I could do...or have a similar experience?

    1 Corinthians 11:15 – “But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given her for a covering.”

    lol.
  • bergasaurusbergasaurus Posts: 375Registered Users
    I agree with vähän kihara. Perhaps you could show your grandmother that you need her in other ways. Ask her advice about something. You don't need to like or take her advice, but the fact that you are asking her will probably make her feel good.

    When people get older, they hate hate hate feeling useless, or feeling like they can't do what they've always done. My grandfather had dementia & he was seriously ticked off when my uncle wouldn't let him drive a tractor on the farm any more. It just wasn't safe but he could not deal with not being useful or needed. They had huge fights about it. With my great grandfather, they had to take off & hide the tires, steering wheel, and other parts of the car to get him to stop driving because he'd just put it back together again, hotwire it and drive off and that wasn't safe either. They both had a tendency to get lost.

    Like them, your grandmother is set in her ways. She has many years of experience and she feels she knows best, even if her experience doesn't apply in today's world. IMHO you should do what you want with your hair, but pay (or feign!) attention when she offers advice because she probably craves attention. Don't let her hurt you, just love her and understand that she is what she is and that is not a reflection on you. You will not change her. Don't argue, just thank her for the advice and if pushed say you will seriously consider taking her advice. (you don't have to actually do it!)
    Even though my grandpa had some odd ideas, and he told us the same stories over and over (boring) I will never regret putting up with it because I know it made him happy. That is just part of having an elderly relative.
    No cones since 08/25/09. Occasional low poo.
    Fine, normal to low porosity (still not sure which), ii, 3a/3b curls
    Playing with products: HEBE Mousse, BRHG, AOMM, HESMU. Nothing blows my mind just yet. :D
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

    No one can make you feel inferior without your consent. - Eleanor Roosevelt

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