I Did “4C” This Coming

A brief story about 4c hair

When it comes to my hair, I don’t like dealing with it. For most of my life, even now, I prefer letting others deal with my hair in the form of braids, crocheted styles, weaves, hair cuts, presses, etc. Literally any style you can think of.

I’ve shared a snippet of my hair struggle/relationship with my hair before in the form of a poem– Nappy. The irony might arise from how I describe my mother in it.

But it’s true, she did make me hate my hair for a while, yet she’s also one of the main sources I go to for hair help. Despite her constant complaints throughout the process, she manages to create beautiful, long-lasting styles. Protective styles is the name for it in the natural hair community.

Anyways, these hair sessions often left me feeling insecure. This stuff is tough, it’s like combing through wire. Words like that hurt more than the soreness or tightness on my scalp at times. Equally painful was the praise she heaped onto those with looser curls, waves, straighter hair by default, calling it “pretty hair” or good hair.” I knew those words would never describe my thick, coily hair.

Lately, over the past year or so, my mom has had progressive pain in her fingers and wrist joints and difficulty turning her wrists. Despite that, she was still doing my hair…until recently. Recently, as in a month ago.

She still offers to help me with my hair, but it always ends up being 4 or 6 plaits, and I can’t go out with my hair like that. I also don’t like adding pain to her hands dealing with my thick 4C hair, so now it’s time for me to figure out what to do with my own hair.

Until now, the only hairstyles I could do on my own for the past 3 years were twists, plaits, and- the most basic of styles- ponytails. Just a few weeks ago, I learned cornrows and fro hawks. I’m still eagerly learning more styles since, after all, I’ll be living all alone for the first time in less than a month and will have to figure out “work-appropriate” styles from week to week.

So yeah, I may be a late bloomer and am still fully ashamed to admit I’m just learning how to style my own 4C hair rather than looking to others to do so, but here I am. I am shamefully admitting I’m a grown woman who avoided doing her own hair as long as possible.

And I feel bad about it.

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