I Was Supposed To Have Good Hair
Ijeoma Oluo

The drama of Black hair is a deep one indeed. There’s the ghosts of ancestors from hundreds and even thousands of years ago in there. So much remorse and fear and pain. I’m glad you embraced your natural hair. Once you figure out what works, natural hair is wonderfully liberating.

I remember when my wife decided to go natural. I had cut out her last weave and we were in the shower together. It was in the middle of the day and light fell diffusely through the frosted panes. The water was warm and so was my bride. The first shampoo didn’t bubble up of course, but the second one did.

Her eye’s were closed as she laid her head back to rinse. After all this time, soap suds on her dark skin is still striking to me. “Do you really think I should go natural?” Of course, sugar. I’m all in. Besides, you have enough pieces and wigs that if you don’t like it, we can fix it. “Well…okay then.”

One of my co-workers told me about the holy sponge technique the day before. I bought a big yellow sponge from Autozone and made one for her. Then I showed her who they worked on YouTube. There were more than a few times she was in a state of near panic when she first started out. Each time, I would calm her down and reiterate how much I loved her and how gorgeous she is.

The picture on my avatar was made about that time. After about a month, she started embracing it. Then she really started to rock it, declaring “I’m Sassy Mrs. Massey!”. Her hair has grown a lot, and she has gotten so many techniques and secrets that work for her; “Twist outs”, SLAP caps, oils, lotions, and potions. Everyone who hugs her tells her how great she smells.

It’s funny that she had to marry a White country boy from East Texas and the grandson of a Klansman in order for her to feel safe enough to finally embrace one of the most difficult aesthetic parts of being a Black woman. But embrace it, she does. We bring out the best in each other. Every day.

It’s just as unfair to expect Black hair to behave like White hair as it would be for White hair to behave Black. It’s all good hair when it’s measured to the appropriate standard.

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