Complicated. I’m kind of surprised that I could Google one of the most traumatic images of my childhood, but there it is, the very same Johnson’s no more tangles® bottle I grew up stairing at every morning while my grandmother combed out my hair before putting it in two neat braids.
It hurt. At the end of every session, I would be crouched on the floor with her bowed equally awkardly over me, having chased me down there by inches every time I pulled away from her. And the whole time, staring me in the face was this loving young mother with her perfect silky hair and her equally silky haired child, mocking me. Because I had to hold the bottle in my hand so it would be nearby for liberal re-application.
One day I asked my grandmother why our mornings didn’t look like picture on the bottle of Johnson’s no more tangles®. “Because your squirm too much” she said. I had a feeling there were other differences between me and the beautific white child on the cover. To this day I wonder why she needed the stuff since she had hair just like a doll.
But if my hair was a problem with my white grandma, it was a blessing with my Mexican family, and just about everywhere else I went. It really was a shame about me, but my hair was so pretty. Yes, at least I had great hair.
This was such an issue that at age 14, I shaved my head. If hair was all I had to recommend me to a world that otherwise hated me, I’d take it away from them because fuck them. Fuck heteropatriarchy and fuck the male gaze and fuck me for the fact that my only good quality could be obliterated by a dog gooming tool.
What I found was that I really enjoy shaving my head. Part of that I’ve come to recognize as being fairly tied to my non-binary gender identity. Another part of it has to do with the fact that there really is a lot of it and it’s difficult to care for and even physically heavy when I actually grow all of it out.
When I was younger, people told me that I would miss my hair (as if I’d literally just shaved it in the other room) or they asked me if I already missed it. They asked me if I thought I looked pretty in a tone that suggested I should absolutely not think I was pretty at all. They also thougt they were probably bringing up something I’d never throught about when they asked me if I thought boys would like it.
First of all, boys not liking it is kind of the point. Second of all boys still liked it. A lot. Third of all, boys who don’t like my shaved head are really not going to enjoy anything else I have to offer them, and it’s just easier to get that out of the way quickly.
Now that I’m older, people tend to feel like they should maybe leave me alone about it. From time to time people ask me if my husband likes it and depending on how pissed off I am about being asked that question, I either answer honestly or I answer _really _honestly.
Despite our rocky start, at this point in my life I really like my hair. I take care of it and it takes care of me. I enjoy that it’s starting to go grey. Based on my parents grey timeline, I wasn’t expecting grey hairs for a lot longer and I’m happy that they’ve showed up relatively early for someone in my family. I think I earned them.
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