For as long as I can remember I’ve had a tumultuous relationship with my hair, my hair, my sister’s hair even my brothers hair. My mother fought me tooth and nail about perming my hair and you can forget about adding any form of extensions that would give length. Around the time that I turned 14 years old, and they cleared my independence fashionably at least, I began fantasizing of doing two things, 1. cutting my hair short as possible for a cute easy low maintenance style. And 2. getting hair extensions, if possible, down my backflowing waving curling blowing in the wind and whipping my hair as much as possible to the left and then to the right.

Without the finances and the access to buy hair at 14 and get it installed, of course I had to go with the shortcut, as a pair of scissors is and every household and there’s always a friend that wants to play beauty parlor / beauty stylist. After conspiring a plan, a place and time my best friend Beatrice and I set out on making both of our new crops beautified. Mind you this is a time where there was no YouTube or instructional videos, I know no tutorials that would give you a know how to cut or style. This is just 14-year-old black girl magic working. So after about what seemed like 9 hours of struggling agony, we came to a result of matted hair to the left, a few patches on the right, lovely edges and bangs that well let’s say fluffy like a new baby bird.


After our mothers were alerted of our newfound skill set for doing each other’s hair they both immediately shaved off our heads which was absolutely traumatizing and put us on hats to wait for growth. It was an adolescent big shop. My friend Beatrice may have a little Indian in her family because her hair grows fast, and I do mean fast however it took all summer for me to get any length whatsoever.

I supposed my head tattered like a little boy evoked some sympathy in my mother because by fall, I had a little length in my hair, a little more height in my step, and I suppose a little more maturity to allow my mother to be kind enough to suggest we get a hair extension install. “What did she say I know I didn’t hear her correctly” I said in my head with squinted suspicious eyes. “That’s right you’ve been wanting it all this time let’s go ahead and get you an install because I’m sick of looking at your hair like that” she said. And off to the races we went.


Now she’s agreed I’m not thinking some regular old French roll or pigtails, no no no I want the Full Monty down the back past my butt locks for days and even months, cost? I have no clue I’m a kid, but it’s got to look good, got to look sexy. Little did I know that this luxurious sexy adventure was returning to  visit my cousin’s kitchen sink with perm relaxes, hot Combs, dryers, and rollers and just about everything else but what I was looking for. “Where’s the hair” I said…. My mom looking suspicious “what do you mean?”.

“You said I was getting a hair extension install right?” I replied. Her teeth tightly clinched together she began telling a story that always ends with me being disappointed and her having a wonderful idea, “well your cousin Marjorie said that she thinks she can get your hair in decent shape without spending money on hair extensions and doing an install plus a install has to be maintenance regularly, Who’s going to pay for that?” now I normally wouldn’t do this but at 14 years old with puberty combusting in every cell of my body, a traumatizing hair shaving summer, and having to do a perm relaxer on 3 inches a freshly grown hair,

I HIT THE ROOF!!….. “WHAT THE HELL MOM?”, This kind of outburst with an African American mother doesn’t play well even in World War One, but I did at least get her attention and express how upset I was about the change of plan without advising me at all, it was a decent play on I’m not a child anymore, an opportunity to evoke sympathy once again to GET THAT HAIR INSTALL.


All in all cousins Marjorie fix up plan was decent and gave me another month in order to grow more length out by the time I had come up with her good enough guilt trip plan and quite a bit of good behavior I convinced mom to finally get and install, and I even make concessions on the long locks I was willing to get a short 12 to 14 inch install of just straight plain hair.

She came home with the hair, and I was excited, I opened the packs, I felt the tresses in fact I couldn’t stop feeling them, crossed my fingertips this would soon be waiving down my head or at least blowing in the wind a little. I patiently waited for the weekend for install day, jumped in the back seat and headed over there to Marjorie’s happily this time with the bundles in my hand feeling like 1,000,000 bucks.

Suppose that’s when things went left, as what was supposed to be a loving and riveting luxurious experience turned into what felt more like surgery, there was braiding, twisting, tightening in caps, special thread needed to be used, It felt more like a project then a hair salon visit.

Totally confused the entire time thinking this is going to look terrible but what the final result was both sweet and sour. Did I like it? Yes, did I love it? Hell no. Can I live with it? Of course, though there were changes that I would want to make but does it feel like an overhyped movie event I finally went to go see and was terribly disappointed the entire two hours? INDEED, IT DID. Truth be told, I still get that over hyped movie today as a grown woman getting an install. Do I get the occasional smash hit blockbuster? ABSOLUTELY. But it all feels like a struggle of love and hate.

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