Good hair, Bad hair, No hair

Good hair, Bad hair, No hairThis is an Open letter from one my readers about what Good hair – Bad Hair-No Hair really mean

A few days ago I read your posting in your page about  – since then I have been thinking about my own experiences as a child, a teenager, a mother and more importantly as a woman and how embrace my beauty.
Good hair back in my native Island (well more like ½ an island) the Dominican Republic is a big enigma.  Good hair is not considered embracing your natural beauty, the gifts the Lord has given you as its precious child, it is about who has the least kinky hair. Our ½ island has more beauty salons than any other country in the world – taking care of our hair and making it look as “good hair” is not only big business but a tremendous cultural trade.  In the DR good hair = straight hair.
I remember when I had the first reaction about my hair and it was “hate” (yes strong word – but true) my hair was kinky, freeze and difficult to deal with in comparison to my little friend “Milty” – She had straight hair and my friends….it was painful. I wanted straight hair so bad.
Every morning when Milty showed up to the Kinder Garden class with straight hair and I had to model my two pony tails – I was not a happy little girl; in fact, I cried and begged my mother to give me straight hair. She granted my wishes  and “voila” at the age of seven – she gave me a birthday gift – she relaxed my hair…..yes SEVEN YEARS OLD.  I have been relaxing my hair since then up to six (6) months ago when I decided…NO MORE.
At the age of seven, that is when the bad hair began……relaxing every six months, blow drying every 4 days…or doing the sets under the dryer, then the curling irons, and since five years ago – the curse of the flat iron. Throughout the years, I have treated myself to what believed were be the best products out there, put me inside a beauty supply store and I am a little girl at a candy store (of course with beautiful hair) Most of the time I bought the most expensive stuff….but the abuse went on and on.
When my daughter was born….guess what??? She had my hair and then another generational battle began. When I brushed her curls, she used to cry so loud that the neighbors one day knocked on my door to see what was going on.  My poor baby…but thank God and did not try any chemicals on her hair – at least I was clear about that.
 Today she is a beautiful teenager who can model her curls or flat iron her hair. Either way she is comfortable.  That reassurance, unfortunately did not come from me – it came from one of her best friends who convinced her of the following fact “ there was a reason why people would stop her at the store, the mall and other places asking her if they could touch her hair”… she finally understood her hair is beautiful and there is no reason to believe there is  BAD HAIR.
I have experienced the terrible disease of cancer very close to my family and friends, but this one hit me hard.  My Mexican sister from another mother – who I love dearly has ovarian cancer and has been fighting the disease for over 8 years now.  During the Holidays, I invited her to dinner for her at my home.  Did I mention she has beautiful curls and she contrary to me…loves her curls and enjoys showing them off.?  That night…she was not modeling one single curl…she had lost all her hair because of the most recent treatment.  But to my surprise, she began talking to me on how she had donated her hair before she began the last session of chemotherapy – I realized how grateful we should be – here is a woman that made the decision to shave her hair and donate it to one of the organizations that makes wigs for children with cancer. That is altruism at its best! I am so proud to be her Dominican sister – as she calls me.
Think about it —GOOD HAIR – BAD HAIR – NO HAIR it is all in perspective.  Embrace and love who you are and the beautiful gifts God and live have given you; take care of your body, after all it is your temple.  The marketing industry machine is so misleading and it molds you to think, act and react to the conditions in live – not all Dominicans look like Zoe Saldana and not all African American women look like Vanessa Williams……LOVE YOUR CURLS
Eldia Santana S.


2 thoughts on “Good hair, Bad hair, No hair

  1. So much beauty in our youth and the struggle to conform to unrealistic standards of beauty is so strong. It’s very encouraging to see more and more young ladies loving and embracing their natural textures. Pa’lante!

  2. Ok, since I found this blog I can’t stop crying!
    Eldia, what an exceptional response. There is no doubt in my mind that God placed me in the path of such strong Dominican women for me to learn and know that I am not alone in my quest for embracing the true me.
    I too had ovarian cancer and know what its like to lose all your hair. I can also say that it is the strength that we receive from our loved ones that help us are a GREAT FRIEND.
    I’ve started my journey back to my natural hair and thanks to this blog and subscribers like you..there is no turning back!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.