My 10 year old will occasionally wear her hair in a giant afro. I mean giant.
It’s a new day. When I was her age my only desire was to have straight hair like the White girls I grew up with. I couldn’t wait to get a permanent that would straighten my curls and allow me to do the White-girl toss of my hair that looked so glamorous and unattainable.
My 10 year old went through that stage for a hot second until she realized she had fabulous curls that needed to displayed. As soon as she embraced her curls she embraced them more when she started to comb the curls out into a fro that would make Angela Davis jealous.
My husband loves it. The bigger the better. He compliments and encourages her. I do the same.
I’m reminded of my older sister Lissa. In high school she who wore a similar style and was regularly admonished by Father who wanted her to tame it. Big hair in his opinion was unruly and not the way he wanted his daughters to present themselves to the world. My sister (God love her; a rebel with a cause) never gave in to my Father’s requests. In fact I thinks he might have gone further with the volume of her mane just to bug him. (She also told him to f*** off once when he caught her on the phone listening to her boyfriend read her porn. But that’s another story.)
I wear my hair naturally curly. A few years ago I had the revelation that all the products I used to try and control my curls were actually standing in the way of the hair I desired so I stopped using product all together. A photographer from a photo shoot a few years ago encouraged me to take some shots with my hair brushed out and wild. He captured my essence in a way that surprised and empowered me.
But there are times when my daughter comes downstairs in the morning and her hair is so big I want to tell her to reign it in. I want to protect her from what people might think or say. I want to protect myself from what people might think or say about me as her mother.
Conditioning is conditioning and I grew up in a culture where the ideal hair was straight and blonde. Even though I am past that there are still remnants of it and I know it is my job not to impose that on my daughter. So when she comes downstairs and her hair is too big in my opinion I don’t say a word. I take a deep cleansing breath and let her be.
She loves her hair. It’s her crowning glory. For a 10 year old biracial girl in 2018 her confidence is a crowning achievement and my goal as her mother is stay the hell out of her way.