I remember the moment I realized you were a gift. A crown of coils and curls. Some places, you’re loose and wavy. Others, tight and kinky. There are parts where you stand straight up, almost like you’re reaching toward the sun. And spots where you’re unruly, refusing to be tamed. I remember the moment I realized, you, my crown and glory, were my special signature. Something unique and special to me.
There were years I didn’t know you. I hid you behind chemicals and flat irons. Not because I didn’t love you then, but simply because I didn’t know. I straightened you down, slicked you back, and tucked you away. From the moment I cut away the damage I’d caused over the years, you immediately came to life. I promised you then, that I would give you everything I had. I would get to know you, find out what you like (grapeseed oil), what you don’t (coconut is a no), and figure out how to take care of the stranger on my head. Imagine my surprise when I let you free, to notice how very much like me you are.
You resist labels. Fighting against any boxes the world would ever try to push you in. You have a mind of your own. You do what you want when you want. I love you for that. You look strong on the outside, but I know how sensitive you are. I’m like that too. You thrive in water and I’m a water sign, so I get it. And you require a lot of love and attention, even if you act like you don’t. Same.
When I was pregnant, you shined. It was truly your moment. And as I was recovering, so were you. Then we had to learn each other all over again, just like I had to learn myself. I lost you for a bit (postpartum hair loss is real). During the same time, I lost a bit of myself too (so is postpartum depression). But you were patient, even when I wasn’t with you. You were growing and changing. Shedding yourself to become something new. And although I had moments of doubt, you came back stronger than ever.
What you taught me then, was the importance of patience, kindness, and compassion. You showed me what it means to show tender, love, and care at the moment when I needed it the most. Because as I was a new again mother, this time to my first daughter, I understood that as her soft curls began to grow, it was my job to take care of them. Just like it’d be my job to show her how to know and love them herself. Through our journey, I was prepared to nurture my daughter’s through her own. Through our experience, I’m able to show her, everything we had to learn together.
It’s been three decades so far, and every year, I recognize your greatness just a little more. In seeing yours, I’ve been able to see my own. Side by side, as I unraveled and discovered myself, you were right there doing the same thing. I love you for being a mirror of my own life. For helping me understand that my sensitivities are my strengths. For pushing me to slow down and take my time. For reminding me to take care of myself, because hair care is self-care for me. But most of all, I love you for giving me permission to be myself.