Is it Good Genes or Hard Work?

Thursday, March 23, 2017


It's a pattern. I make a post describing all the hard work I put into my hair, and someone says "well, if you didn't have good genes." This is seriously one of the most irritating things ever. For one, it's rude. I just spent ten minutes writing a very descriptive and detailed post about my hair care regimen, or a setback and how I came back from it, and someone really just ignored all of that and deduced it too good genes.

Second, I grew up seeing no one in my family with long hair. No one. And if I saw a black woman with long hair, I was told it was weave. I grew up believing that if you were black with long hair, you were mixed or it was fake. No in between, no compromise.

I also grew up taking care of the hair that I wanted, not the hair that I had. I wanted long, silky hair with soft waves. Like the pretty girls in the magazines that looked nothing like me. I would wash my hair every week, condition, then blow dry it using a round boar bristle brush to make sure the hair laid flat. And finally, run a hot flat iron down my hair. My hair was a little passed my shoulder with lots of split ends and damage.

So, when I finally started seeing black women with long hair, with full hair, with hair that I thought was absolutely beautiful, with everything that I grew up believing, it was a miracle I thought that was something I could accomplish.

Undoing the mental and physical damages of growing up and believing that you are inferior is very hard. When I went natural, I was scared that I wouldn't be able to grow my hair. I wasn't sure if this would be the worst mistake of my life. I had to relearn everything that I thought I knew about black hair care. I had to stop taking care of hair that would never be mine. And I had to look in the mirror and see myself as I am, not as I wanted to be.

Eight years later, I can look in the mirror and pick out every flaw and find nothing but beauty in it. My hair isn't just cosmetic, it's not just good genes, it is the outcome of winning a war that can consume you with self-hatred and bitterness. So, the next time you want to chalk up my hair to genes, remember that you're seeing what it means to love yourself, absolutely and completely.

Got a question or just want to say hi? You can connect with me on my social networks!

6 comments:

  1. Wow. Just came across your photo on facebook and decided to visit you blog. Everything you wrote up there is spot on. I can relate in the sense that sometimes I show someone a photo of a naturalista and the first thing they say is 'abeg, she's mixed'. Sometimes, they even tell me to stop wasting my time with all the fancy regimens, that 'that type of hair is not in your genes and no matter how hard you try, what will grow out of your scalp will still be the same thing'.......sighs...... oh well, it is what it is. You have magnificent hair by the way

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  2. Just as you have recognized, such people are just trying to make themselves feel better. They are convincing themselves that the reason their hair hasn't grown, is they don't have "good genes" like you. When in reality, there is some other problem they are not willing to solve. I don't think you should take it personally at all, they are trying hard to convince themselves.

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  3. Anything of value takes work. Lookit all that hair!

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  4. I've been trying to explain this as well. Mainly to my mom. But genes is always the fall back, even when I can see at least two things they are physically doing to keep them from retaining length. No one wants to take the time to research and change these habits. I've spent numerous hours doing it and it was worth it!

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  5. I have been following your blog for some time and I cannot applaud you enough for articulating this very well. People are so disrespectful some time, yes we are blessed with a full head of hair, but lord knows being natural is not just a decision, it is a lifestyle and a commitment. without the diligence and effort, that good hair would just break off! Keep the good work! Love from the UK!

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