I’m tired of being my own businessperson. It’s hard being a creative Capricorn. I have an inner struggle that says I’m supposed to love handling my own business but quite frankly, I don’t. I don’t love querying agents, getting rejection letters, getting one word email responses that might be hopeful but then disappear like night goes to day. Capricorns are supposed to love handling business. But I don’t when it comes to my art. I would much rather be on an island, with the laptop, doing my usual prolific spurt, dry spurt, prolific spurt, dry spurt dance.
This must be what it feels like to look for gold.
Back to our regularly scheduled program…
I am not sure when the idea flew past my like some little fly or a natural thing that is tiny but makes it presence known. At some point I looked in the mirror and had this revelation that I was hiding. Under a mass of all this hair that I had always wanted, I knew I was hiding. Let me start from the beginning. One day, after years of braids, I got my hair twisted by Roberta and her wonderful Aveda smelling stuff up in Brooklyn. It was short. I didn’t like how short it was. But I would be alright. I would be loced one day. My hair came in strong. I made sure I washed the first few months with witch hazel so my scalp was clean. I didn’t use beeswax. And then as soon as they were strong and long, I bleached them. I colored them. I went blond. I went copper red. I went black. I went Cruella DeVille with the white stripe in the front. That should have been a sign. Then I got my heart broken something awful and I couldn’t get the smell of Dr. Bonner’s out of my hair and it was too many memories of the affair so I snipped away in my Harlem apartment. And I went straight down to Wodia to get my hair braided (she had the shop right underneath my building and always made time for me). I went crazy. I had blond streaked braids. I had curly braids. I had long braids. I always had braids. I did a weave once and had a panic attack because I couldn’t feel my head.
Then one day, I got annoyed. A braid looked gross to me. It was curling and frizzy and I was thinking, “Why oh why do I sit there for hours and hours every few months for this?” I mean I hated even taking them out! And so I blew my hair dry and colored it. I had a big bronze fro. My boss at the time looked at me like I had lost the plot. I tried pulling it back, gelling it…I didn’t know what I was doing. You see, every since I was very young, I’ve only had the creamy crack on my hair. My mom told me I needed it. I didn’t remember ever seeing my hair sans chemical so I believed her. And now here I was with it non creamy cracked and I had no idea how to do it. What does one do? I couldn’t continue brushing it. My arms were hurting. So I loced it. Again. Same Roberta. Same Aveda. Same Brooklyn. This time in a velvety dark copper color. It was lovely. I was dating a conservative at the time. I worried he would look at me like I had lost my mine. But I was accessory queen so I did my Jackie O Scarves and just forgot about him and his curious glaze. It didn’t stop him from coming around. They got longer and I pixied tailed them. I loved that look. They kept growing. I turned down one other dreadloc guy when he wanted to date because I said we’d look to cliche only to date another ( a friend and that went WAYWARD) and feel cliche. Then I was in the four year relationship with the other dread. At some point I lost myself. I was very comfortable just being the dreadloced one. I stopped twisting them. Sometimes I worried them too small and thinning. They got longer. My life kept changing but they stayed the same. We were growing apart.
I could do a whole thing about India. Arie and I am not my hair and blah blah. I get it, India. It’s true. We are not our hair. But we can’t continue to not be in sync a little. Last week, for my vacation, I took down my dreadlocs. For five hours every day for three days, I snipped, rattail unraveled, spritz, ached, cut fingers, stabbed thumb pads, stretched necks, soaked my shirts in spray water, took baths to warm the chill, picked at the build-up and fluffed out that rogue village of live hair hiding in the cocoon of the old hair. It was light. It was freeing. And I said “Oh shit.” I had no idea what to do.
Being a Capricorn, I’m a nut about research. I researched everything from blow dryers, natural hair products, styles, flat irons, 4a/4b hair (yes, there’s a whole scale I still don’t get that’s about your coil pattern and whatever). None of that meant anything after I washed and pushed on the spongy curls that drank up the water in the shower like my dog after a hike at Runyon. And then the hair did the opposite of the long stretch. It shrank into a ball like those little water bugs. That’s not fun to style. So I’ve been getting to know myself - I mean my hair - all over again. I had to take them down to find out how committed I was, in case you’re wondering why I didn’t just cut them. Plus I’m too self conscious to have short hair. Did it once. Not a good look for me. I sometimes take on insurmountable tasks in order to test myself. I’m crazy like that.
I’ve gotten a variety of comments from this Diana Ross like curly joint I’m rocking. Some good and supportive, some questionable. But isn’t that always on any change you might have? So this is going to be fun and sometimes not so fun. I am going to back to lurking the boards at longhaircareforum.com and the pictorials of all these wonderful industrious women on fotki. Maybe one day I’ll feel all knowledgeable enough to impart some information. But for now, I’m just trying to figure it all out…like most butterflies after they shed their cocoon.