Saturday, September 21, 2013

21 Days: Day 2-Peace with my hair

Another huge positive BJJ has brought into my life? Peace with my hair.

The journey to hair peace is a long one for any Black woman...many don't ever make it. I'm not talking about accepting the color or thinness or weird tendency to frizz...I mean getting to a point where the dead cells your scalp produces aren't something bad...when they aren't something to be covered or combated, beaten down with heat and chemicals and sheer physical force.

It's no short trip. Every now and again, I'll see a hair on the mat and feel a twinge of that old embarrassment I did at my predominately White middle school-a place where my hair was something strange and foreign, something teased and questioned. Even during my time training, I've heard jokes about pubic hair in reference to my shed strands. It's all part of the process.

While I was chemically treating my hair, training BJJ meant I literally had to choose between keeping my hair and training. Black hair is generally fragile, and the commonly practiced forms of straightening make it even more so. Mind you, I didn't go willingly. I was texturizing my hair only once a year, but still, it was breaking terribly. Even with the use of my balaclava, it wasn't growing the way I wanted.

So now my hair grows in its natural texture. My afro is full and fluffy, and flops from length, not damage. It's a good place to be. Every inch grown is a step closer to my previously waist length hair and the irreverently huge 'fro I want, not a reminder of time ticking on the relaxer clock. It's a good place to be. 


avaoaca said...

Finding your blog and this today was serendipitous for me. We just had a ladies-only open mat today, and took a group picture after. I was the only black woman in it, which isn't unusual, but looking at the picture, I could only come up with one other black woman in our city that trains, and I couldn't think of one. And I wonder if the hair consideration - what to do with it, how to keep it on one's head, etc - has a bit to do with it.

My hair is locced up and the length is reaching a point where it's sometimes a liability and gets stuck under me or my partner, or caught in a grip. I lose bits of hair on the mat often. One of my instructors teases that he can tell when I've come through because he'll find pieces of locs for days after

Sorry, tangent. Yes, black hair and bjj: empathy and solidarity. So glad I found your blog. It's great!

Megan said...

Hi Avaoaca!

I think the hair really could be part of the reason (not that women of any race are flocking to the mats), but training and Black hair is just complicated.

Are you really losing pieces of locs??