Little girl with the press and curl age eight I got a Jheri curl thirteen, and I got a relaxer I was a source of so much laughter At fifteen when it all broke off Eighteen and I went all natural…
India Arie lyrics always sweeps me into this confidence that hits my soul and ignites the pride I hold for my culture.
These particular lyrics above come close to being very reminiscing of me growing up. Crown and glory were not words I would have used to describe my hair. Listening to the lyrics makes me think more in-depth about the black girl’s hair experience throughout her youth.
Why Do We Not Talk To Our Girls?
I read an article that spoke on mothers that became very uncomfortable talking about puberty with their daughters. They didn’t know how to bring up menstrual cycles, let alone, sex. I found that they came up with many reasons, that still echos throughout our community.
- No one taught them so they didn’t feel the importance of passing down education.
- They weren’t comfortable talking about it.
- The mother didn’t know how or when to bring it up.
It seemed the importance of having the conversation did not matter. Nor did instilling confidence in their child by educating them on the changes their body would partake in. This ill-prepared them for their future.
What Does This Have To Do With Her Crown and Glory?
Although the article had me pondering on the importance of the birds and the bees talk, I wondered about my childhood. How different I would have looked at my crown that sits on the top of my head. If only I could have had a mother-daughter dialogue about the ups and downs with it.
Almost identical to India Arie’s lyrics above I had gotten a Jheri Curl at a very young age. I can’t remember the details of when I first became a Jheri Curl member or why my mother chose this style. Still, there were plenty of questions. Was it easier for my mom to maintain? Did she not know exactly what to do with my crown because of the thickness? Could it be she lacked the tools herself to even understand how to properly take care of the natural hair? Lastly, was the only other way she knew to tame my hair was through chemicals?
The smell from the spray I remember hating. Oily spray drenched my curls and left a big wet spot on the bus windows as I leaned on it on the way to school.
Though my hair was past my shoulders I envied the other girls in my classes. Their moms had allowed their daughter to get a perm. I remember around first grade begging my mom to let me get a relaxer and I’ll never forget the warning of Alright it’s going to break off. The warning didn’t bring me pause. I didn’t believe it or I didn’t care. All I knew was I didn’t want my shoulders to have little wet spots anymore.
Finally, she put chemicals in my hair. I was in love with my permed hair, even though for years we could not find the right box perm that could handle my thick crown I kept. To me, anything was better than my natural state. It didn’t matter how many burnt scabs it left in my head because of the length of time I needed to get the straightness I was looking for.
For years and years, I’d been through a battle with my hair. I chopped it, shaved it, hid it with weave styles, and covered it under wigs. It was so damaged and I never asked why. I blamed myself for not having the passion to take care of my hair, I didn’t understand what it needed from me but I knew what I needed from it. To be beautiful.
I’ve been blessed in giving birth to two boys, so the birds and the bees talk I will proudly hand to their daddy. I do still think of the what-ifs if we had had a baby girl. There’s no one for me to give the crown and glory talk to, but I’m hoping you do. I press the importance of having the hair talk with your girls. There’s no reason not to. This talk shouldn’t make you uncomfortable, and there’s no wrong timing.
How would you start it off you ask?
Easy, let your daughter know the story of your crown, share with her the importance of taking care of her whole body not excluding her hair, and never feel the need to conform from her natural state because it doesn’t fit with everything around her. Learn, listen, and laugh together as you teach them to love their crown and glory.
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