Big Freaky Hair | My Hair Odyssey

I Love Hair!

Creating a unique hairstyle allows you to enhance your individual beauty and establish a personal style. It’s important for a woman to experiment with her hair, to know what styles look best with her hair type and face shape. Trying out various hairstyles is a fun way for a young girl to build confidence and foster self-acceptance.

My Hair Odyessy

Hair So New Ad, PinterestI’ve worn various hairstyles over the years and loved them all, even my high school senior year mullet. I greatly appreciate my mother buying me fashion magazines, and allowing me to experiment with hairstyles and fashion looks during my youth. Those years of experimentation helped me develop a strong sense of style as a teenager. Proving to be more of a challenge were my buck teeth, weak eye (that’s a whole other story) and wild frizzy hair. Just after my third birthday, my mother moved us to Detroit, MI to live with her mother, after a messy and painful divorce. Before then, we lived in Los Angeles, CA where I was born completely bald but had and head full of large curly locks by the age of 2. Yet, any attempt to comb my hair always ended in me kicking, screaming and crying on the floor. By the time we arrived in Detroit, my hair was longer, much thicker and very course. Diane Carol PinterestMy grandmother (Meemoe) used a detangling product called Hair so New and her homemade bacon grease hairdressing, to coax my hair into various braid styles. I was well loved, vigorously sniffed and licked by our neighbor’s dog, as I always smelled scrump-dilli-icious. Over the next couple years, my hair grew pretty long, and once enrolled in kindergarten I enjoyed skipping to school swinging my braids from side to side. Sometimes, I was chased home by mean girls threatening to cut off my long braids, until Meemoe bribed them with candy. The summer of my 8th birthday, my mother remarried and we moved across town, this is where my hair styling odyssey beginsMy mother had her hair coiffured every other week and on occasion took me in for spiral curls. Otherwise, I was made responsible for washing and styling my hair. Yes, mother made it clear she did not do hair, something I never understood and at times deeply hurt my feelings. Meemoe had been my hairstylist for 5 years and I’d never dealt with my own hair. Mad_September_2013Meemoe taught me how to make a ponytail and to braid my doll’s long straight hair, but my first attempts at making a single braid at the back of my head produced a lumpy, crooked and puffy mess. Although mother dressed me in the latest styles my wild hair and buck teeth gave me an awkward and unkempt appearance. My hairtastrophe and goofy looks evoked laughter, questions and teasing at my new school, making it painfully clear I needed a total make-over. Dealing with this issue was the first time I’d ever considered my self-image or thought about myself in a deeper way. As a 6-year-old my teenaged, live-in cousin Billy Bowles constantly teased me barking, “Hey ugly, you look like Alfred E. Neuman buck teeth and all!” Then he’d mock my teeth, cross his eyes and twist his face while waving a MAD Magazine in my face laughing hysterically. Back then, I was a confident and exuberant child, always clapping back at Billy’s mean-spirited digs. Ultra SheenI decided to take money from his change box making him pay for his nasty behavior. I claimed a pretty hefty fee for Billy’s insults, buying lots of chips, candy and soda pop for me and my gang until Meemoe shamed and switched me for stealing (tapped my legs with a licking switch from a bush). I took it like a champ because I’d got Billy back for being an asshole. Yet the pressure, expectations, and teasing about my hair and looks upset me to the point of withdrawal. I finally broke down sobbing about mother ignoring my hair, my inability to neatly style it and feeling ugly. Shortly thereafter, she gave me a big bag of various hair care and styling products, including a large bottle of Hair so New. These things helped tame my frizz, but hair products could never replace parental concern, assistance or advice. I felt rejected, believing my mother didn’t like me for some reason. The responsibility was overwhelming and it became “a thing” for me to subdue my hair on a daily basis. For almost a year, every weekday morning I wet my head with Hair so New and yanked out the kinks. I’d make a side part then brush it back. I’d struggle to place and bind a neat a ponytail at the back of my head. I then rung it out, combed it applying Ultra Sheen Conditioner and Hairdressing. My vigorous attempts at making straight parts and perfect braids often failed as my little hands had no real strength or precision, so wearing neat pigtails was impossible. When tired or rushing, which was often, I’d side part and brush my wet hair flat, spray it with Afro Sheen then blot with a towel. Without fail, the end result was always a shrunken and mostly kinky puff of gravity defying hair. Danskins KidsAfter a few weeks at my new school, I made friends with a Jewish girl who wore a pixie cut with a ducktail at the nape of her neck. She was typically well put together in color-coordinated Danskin outfits and that oh-so-cute no-fuss hairdo. I decided this was the look for me and the solution to my woes. So, I begged my mother to make me a pixie girl too, but she flatly refused to chop my long kinky, curly locks. From there we discussed, debated and argued about it for months. I had a multitude of whining and crying fits over the maintenance and styling of my hair and I even cut bangs in a moment of anger. Also, to get back at my mother for this torture, I began ignoring my hair on weekends, unless directed to deal with it or taken to the hair salon. Just before the start of 4th grade, my hair resembled a Brillo pad, heartbroken and defiant I refused to comb it. Hallie Berry Pixie CutDuring a visit to Meemoe’s house, she gasped at the sight of my kinky hair mop lamenting over its extreme state of neglect, complaining that she’d spent 5 years cultivating my long hair. Well, her outburst did the trick and my mother finally relented. I was liberated the day Mr. Tony chopped my locks into the cutest pixie cut ever, with a duck tail to boot! I was teased about my so-called “boy” cut but didn’t care. My greatest concern was getting back to the fun and excitement of being a kid, without all the fuss. In a flash, I transformed into a color coordinated Danskins wearing pixie girl with up-to-date glasses! Finally, my hairtastrophe was solved and a much-needed makeover took me a bit closer to cutie pie status! Feeling oh-so-much-better, I regained my confidence, natural exuberance, and love of life. Black Power FistJust after my 11th birthday, the orthodontist attached a heavy wire on my upper teeth to pull them back until by molars grew in. At 12, I got full braces with headgear and rubber bands, it took about 4 years to straighten my teeth. Sometime between 5th and 6th grade, I was over the pixie-girl look and got a few different versions of the shag and the last one eventually grew into a raggedy Afro. I requested a neat natural and without argument, my mother took me to “Dickies Natural Den” on Fenkel Avenue in Detroit. She asked the barber to cut my hair into a small natural. While giving me the once-over he asked her, “This your daughter?,” she curtly quipped, “YES!.” His question wasn’t so surprising, as my mother was dark skinned and I was high-yellow with three different textures of hair. While fingering my hair he remarked, “I can’t cut no natural in this hair.” James BrownMy mother snapped back, “Would you just cut the natural please!” so he skillfully sculpted a well-shaped natural from my curly, wavy and frizzy mop of hair.  Slowly working my hair into shape he asked, “Where she get this hair from?,” ignoring his question, she again snapped, “Please! Hurry up!” After most of my hair had hit the floor, I walked out of there with the most trans-formative hairstyle I’d ever wear. My super-cool natural epitomized the Black is Beautiful, Say it Loud, I’m Black and I’m Proud phase I’d been going through for a couple years. I was Lil’ Soul Sista #1 wearing dashikis, tiki head and black power bead necklaces shouting Right On-Right On while brandishing my Black Power fist at every opportunity. I thought I was an Afro gangsta chick like Cleopatra Jones, always talkin’ smack and fightin’ boys. French PermEventually, my curly natural grew into an extra-large Angela Davis Afro that flopped. I strategically placed a large cheese cutter Afro pick on one side of my head, after months of tolerating my floppy fro mother marched me over to her hairstylist demanding that he press and curl my hair, Mr. Dwayne strongly asserted, “I’m not pressin’ that hair!” He offered a quick and easy French Perm instead and my mother was delighted. Little did I know, this single act would begin my addiction to that creamy crack, lasting well into adulthood. My first straight hairstyle was the Dorothy Hamill mushroom cut, that I later flipped into the Farrah Fawcett feathered look. The hair relaxer allowed me to become a pre-teen hair styling expert, along with the necessary hair care products and styling implements. Gillette Super Max Hair Dryer SetMy original styling equipment included a Gillette Supermax blow dryer with brush and comb attachments, a Clairol Crazy Curl steam heat curling iron, a Lady Sunbeam portable bonnet hair dryer, and pink plastic clip curlers. Clairol Kindness 20 Hot Roller SetLater, my older sister gifted me a Clairol Kindness 20 hot roller set that came in handy during high school along with makeup, hot-pants, and platform shoes. Those super convenient hot rollers kept me cute well into my 20’s. From 7th grade into my college years, I had a standing bi-weekly hair appointment with Dwayne Love (Circus & The Kut Salons) and later Mary Steinberg-Battle (New Dimensions Salon), allowing me to try a variety of cuts and styles. Dwayne Love gave me variations of the shag, the mushroom, and other Vidal Sassoon type cuts. Fashion Fair Makeup Sample Kit 2Also, Dwayne was the first hairstylist to give me a blunt cut with a bone straight silky flat iron finish. Mary Steinburg-Battle coiffured my long hair into flowing 1940’s deep waves or voluminous curl sets. At 18, I often covered my head with colorful African-style wraps and wore white silk and gauze clothing. One day my mother said, “Why are you wearing that scarf on your head, you look like a slave!” She then directed me to have my hair done, so I got a mullet. After my hair grew out, I had Detroit braiding expert Chi-Chi hook up my extensions. The first was a side-swept corn-row basket weave with long extensions on one side, finished with lots of colorful beads and cowrie shells. When I asked my mother if she liked my braids she exclaimed, “That god-damn Bo Derick!” Clearly, my mother was angry, but that didn’t stop me from sporting several other basket weave and semi-zillion braid styles. Beau DerrickThe most dramatic was an extra-long full zillion with multi-color old fashioned costume jewelry beads and charms. At 20, I rocked a modified Mohawk coiffure (cut, curl set and style). Once my hair grew out, I went semi-natural (I still used relaxer) with a mass of curly locks and deep waves, even adding extra length with a French refined deep wavy weave on the back of my head. From my late 20’s into my 30’s, I experimented with hair color. My first dye job was a graduated multi-color look with blonde highlights. Later, after my hair had grown very long I wore copper weave patterned highlights over chestnut brown color. I even tried being a redhead, a look I was never totally comfortable with. Now, I wear my hair jet black, extra long and bone straight or in a wavy ponytail. Lately, I’ve been threatening to get a blue Mohawk, but for now, a bit of fringe around my face will have to do.

Freaky Hair Photo Source | Trendhunter

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About C. Rae White

I'm a proud 6th generation Detroiter, a creative who loves working with my hands and a fashion fanatic with a thing for shoes, bags and jewelry. I'm a family researcher who loves discovering the details of my ancestors lives. Thanks for stopping by!
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3 Responses to Big Freaky Hair | My Hair Odyssey

  1. Chocolate Matters says:

    Are we talkin’ mohawk like Mr. T, “I pity the fool!” lol. The chick in the last photo reminds of the shrunken head thing from the movie Beetlejuice.

  2. C. Rae says:

    More like Rihanna’s mohawk after it grew out. More of a modern shaggy Mohawk with longer sides. Can you imagine me with a Mr. T Mohawk…tee hee!

  3. Xanthea says:

    Well C. Rae, I’ve not been on in awhile, and as usual, you are as amazing and entertaining as ever! I absolutely LOVE this. (and the paper cuff bracelets as well!) xoxo X 🙂

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