It was a lovely Sunday afternoon. I was having dinner with my family at Olive Garden, so bread sticks and Salad was on my mind. I was in relatively good spirits. As I was playing with my niece and nephew I asked my mom what she wanted for Mother’s Day. I had asked her on a couple other occasions and turned up with nothing. So I decided to ask one more time. I wanted to get my mom something nice that she would really like because I know she had been feeling down. My mother had just found out a week ago her cancer had come back for the third time. I wanted to make her happy with the best gift. So when I asked her tell me what you really want for Mother’s Day I was completely blind sided by her answer. “I want you to straighten your hair like your sister did. Don’t you want to look nice?”
Ok I kinda knew it was coming. When my sister decided to get her hair pressed for our cousin’s wedding I knew it was going to open the door for criticism. I had expected my mother to say “see your sister looks nice. Don’t you want to look nice for a change.” However she was extremely quiet in regards to my appearance. I took it as a win. I thought maybe we won’t have the why can’t you have straight hair argument for once. Maybe she had decided that my appearance at 33 was my responsibility now. But then she brought it up at dinner. We were having a good time then she said I want your hair to be straight for Mother’s Day that would make me happy.
I was upset, and very hurt, but we had this argument so many time that I was just tired of it. Plus it’s kinda hard to argue with someone that’s sick. No matter how wrong they may be you always come off like a jerk cause you upset the sick person. So I decided to just let it go.
I know it sounds bad. However in my moms mind it was not a hurtful request. I’ve been natural for eight years now and she still will tell me every month or so that I would look nicer with straight hair. I will get a better job if I had straight hair. She use to say no man would date me. Then I met Jon. Then she refused to believed he liked my hair. She would always tell me he was lying. Now I’m married and the comments have gotten less, but they still sneak up out of the blue. I’m always blind sided by the your hair would be prettier straight comment. It always comes when I’m comfortable with my hair, or feeling myself if you will. I’ll spend four hours on my hair and she will ask me why didn’t I do it. Same old song different year. She thinks its messy.
She’s not trying to be mean. I know it seems that way. In her mind she’s trying to help me. This is kinda our relationship. Whenever I get a good idea or game plan she’s usually one of the people that puts the most doubt in my mind. She’s not a risk taker. She likes everything to be safe, simple, and easy. She’s not the type to want to stand out. She thinks blending in is the best way to live a life. She does not see things the way I do so she tries to help me be the person she thinks I should be. She’s trying to help me succeed. It hurts me, but I know now after a trillion fights she gets hurt too. She thinks she’s helping me, and I lash out in anger when all she wants to do is make my life better/easier. Yes a better life can be achieved with straighter hair in her mind. I know that sounds silly but that’s who she is. As long as I’ve been natural that’s been her stance I’ve come to terms with it. I love her for caring for me so much that she’s willing to deal with our arguments just to keep trying to help me. I’m sure she had the same arguments with her mom about her fashion choices. This just how things are supposed to be.
I know natural hair is not everyone’s cup of tea. Relaxed hair is not my thing, but because of the conversations I’ve had with my mom I try not to insult those with relaxers. I come from the belief that it’s your hair. You do you, and I shouldn’t have an opinion on how you chose to present yourself. It’s not my place or business. This philosophy can be hard to live by sometimes. Especially when I see my cousins putting blond Frozen wigs on their kids and silky ponytails on 5 year olds. But I have to keep telling myself that that’s not my kid so that’s not my business. If I was to say anything I would be sticking my nose into someone else’s life and making them live by my standards not their own. If they feel it’s ok then it is. If you think about it my mothers nagging has given me a different perspective on style. She’s inadvertently taught me to respect people’s choices. I know for some of you going natural it can be hard dealing with others critiques. You just have to let it role off your back, grow thicker skin and carry on with your life.
In the Bible Jesus said, “Father, forgive them. They don’t know what they are doing.” The soldiers threw dice to divide Jesus’ clothes between them. (Luke 23:34 ERV)
Most of the people you will come in contact with will never realize that they are being hurtful and using hurtful speech. Even when you tell them multiple times. Arguing with them till the end of time will never results in a resolution. They won’t see things your way. No amount of convincing will sway them because that is their belief their truth. You just need to forgive them and move on. If you keep butting heads with them on the subject and you never back down you will be wasting your precious time on a no resolution topic. Just float on. Sometimes it has nothing to do with you and it has more to do with them.
India.Arie has this song called Get It Together and it has this lyric that says. “The choice is yours
No matter what it is
To choose life is to choose to forgive
You don’t have to try
To hurt him and break his pride Just shake that weight off And you will be ready to fly”
So as I listen to this song after yet another conversation with my mom about her distaste for my hair, college major choices, dreams and ambitions. I’m learning now that if I keep carrying around hurtful things said to me and arguing about the same thing over and over. I will have waisted my precious life energy, and I won’t be livening the happy life that I can achieve. Sometimes you need to shake it off and let it go.