Please don't judge me, but be prepared- this story is sad
(at least I think so!)
When my daughter was maybe 2 years old, my mom told me she had something for C's hair and handed me a box much like this one.
I immediately told her "Sorry you wasted your money, because I'm not using this on her hair!"
I have always loved curly hair, and I had seen what relaxers do to hair so I knew better than to use this on C's hair!
My mom said to me "Are you sure you don't want to try it? Look at the girl on the box- her hair looks nice! And it says that it's safe for kids. It would make her hair so much easier to deal with! Just think of how long it is when it's wet, that's how long her hair would be if it was straight! And if you don't like it, you don't have to use it again. You could just see what it does!"
But I already knew exactly what it would do. I knew from first hand experience!
I guess to tell you the whole story, I have to start from the very beginning...
I had never knew any black or biracial people. In fact, I don't think I had even talked to any black people at all until I met my first boyfriend! It wasn't because I didn't like them or anything, but the situation never came up. So needless to say, I knew nothing about kinky/curly hair types or how to properly care for it. To put it nicely, my family strongly disapproved of me being with a black man, but I wasn't going to let them make my decisions. When I got pregnant with my first child, my son Mr. C, everyone (in my family) was telling me how 'nasty' his hair was going to be, among other things. But I figured if it was that bad I could cut his hair. I wasn't too worried about his hair at all.
But then, less than 2 years later, Miss C came along! As soon as everyone knew she was going to be a girl, they were telling me that I better learn to braid because, of course everyone just had it in their minds that obviously 'there's nothing else you can do with the kind of hair she's going to have' and that they felt sorry for me. (and Ms.C)
Mr. C had a sweet little afro at that time. I wish there were hair blogs or any kind of information available to me about hair care (if there was I didn't know about it)
If there was, maybe I could have kept enjoying Mr. C's little afro hair and I wouldn't have made the biggest hair mistake I could possibly make! Mr. and Miss C's father told me not to do it, but I didn't listen. I had to know if a relaxer would work the way it showed on the box because if I couldn't do anything with Miss C's hair, what would she look like? Her hair would be all over the place in this huge afro that everyone thinks looks nasty (everyone but me) and they would reject my biracial children even more than they already do! I figured if the relaxer made hair just straight and smooth like the girl on the box, it can't be such a bad thing! Even if it was, I could just cut Mr. C's hair off and it would grow back the way it was.
I was so wrong!
I decided to go buy a relaxer for my son and I used it on his hair that night.
It didn't seem to bother him having it put in his hair, but then again he never did complain much. He got a broken leg once and I almost didn't even take him to the hospital because he barely even cried! (I wouldn't have taken him but he wouldn't walk on his leg!)
I followed all the directions on the relaxer box and when it was time to rinse it out, I knew right away I made a BIG mistake! Mr. C's hair seemed almost like it was plastered to his head! It was just flat on his scalp, very heavy feeling- not free and flowing like the girl on the box! Mr. C's hair felt like straw and was very fragile. I had ruined Mr. C's hair!
Here is a picture of Mr. C's hair after the relaxer. It doesn't show how bad it was since his hair was wet in the picture, but it laid basically the same way even when it was dry.
I let it go for a few days to see if maybe it would wear off or start to look better at all. I was planning on letting it just grow out until we went to the park to play. Kids were laughing at poor little Mr. C, and one little boy was even following him throwing wood chips at him and calling him a monster! :*(
So I decided to take him home and cut his hair.
Mr. and Miss C's dad was right- the perm never grew out, and it changed Mr. C's hair forever. He never had the sweet, soft little curls he loved to play with so much and he hasn't had long hair since.
The thing that made me feel the worst is Mr. C didn't want his hair cut. He LOVED his hair! My family kept trying to tell me to cut it, but since we both loved his hair, I would tell them "It's his choice- he doesn't want it cut!" Then I would ask Mr. C "Do you want a haircut or do you want an afro?" And he would yell so excitedly "AFRO!" I think he knew what he was saying too. I should have listened to poor Mr. C!
I was so worried about trying to make my children 'acceptable' in my family's eyes that I lost sight of what would be good for Mr. C and for myself. I was just a very young and stupid white mother of biracial children trying to make them something they're not to please everyone else. I wish I could go back and do what we wanted to do and not let other people make my decisions!
I was once told by someone (I think it was my boyfriends cousin) "White people who don't know how to do black people's hair shouldn't have black kids!" I didn't want to be seen as not 'deserving' to have biracial children because I didn't know how to do hair!
The negative comments I got about needing to know how to do hair inspired me to learn, and I was determined enough to teach myself how to do hair. Starting with simple pigtails I worked my way up to cornrows and everything I can do today. So I guess that negativity paid off for me in the long run.
I guess at least one good thing came from the relaxer nightmare too though...
I learned not to ever use it again, and I didn't ruin Miss C's hair the same way!
I can't imagine what her hair would be like now if I would have used a relaxer on her!
I learned my lesson! Relaxers- Just say NO!!!
Have you ever felt pressured to change your/your child's hair? Did you give in?
I have more hair stories to tell, so please keep coming back, and also feel free to send me in your stories and/or photos! :)