It’s my hair, Mom!

I want a weave but my mom is still scarred from having to take out my last one.

It’s your hair, says our elder. You have the right to choose how to wear it.

Dear EWC

Hi! I really need some help with this issue. The long and short of it is that I’m black, and I really want to put my hair in either a wig or a weave, and continue being blonde. I can sense that my mother doesn’t really like that. The first (and last) time I had a weave it wasn’t put in correctly, which I truthfully didn’t care about. It was for my senior prom and I was truly glowing with my weave in. I suspect the real reason I can’t talk about wanting a weave is because when we took it out (because the wrongness bothered my mother immensely) I basically had a complete mental breakdown. And I understand why my mother doesn’t want me to get anything like that again.

But in the quarantine, there is nothing to do. It’s been two years and I can’t find a natural hairstyle that I like (or even something that works for me). I’ve been driven to tears multiple times, and I don’t want to damage my hair anymore. I can’t keep living with my hair in a state of limbo. For unknown reasons, my hair is completely tied with how I see myself. It is the first thing people notice, the only thing about my looks I can control, and it looks nothing like my mother’s hair. I can see her side, because my mental thing must’ve been super scary, but I hate my hair. My hair is normally in protective styles for the year, with some breaks, but this is the first time in like six years I’ve had to deal with it for an extended period of time. My question is, how do I get her to see my side? I can’t lay everything down (I’ve tried) because my mom firmly believes that I haven’t found the right style. I’m 20. I have been trying to find the right style but with the way my hair is, that’s not going to happen. I just want to feel pretty. Can you please help?

Folk replies

Feeling pretty is something that’s very important to all of us. Our sense of how we look affects our confidence in ourselves and how we act. And for women generally, not just for you personally, feeling pretty has a lot to do with how we feel about how our hair looks. Some people may think this is shallow, but for better or worse, that’s just the way it is. When we are children, our moms get to decide on how our hair should be fixed. But when we grow up, this is something we get to decide for ourselves. You are now 20 years old, and you’ve tried finding a natural style for yourself that works for your hair, but you haven’t been able to. For this reason, you’ve decided that you really want to try a weave again. The problem is that your mom does not want you to do this. In my opinion though, since this is your head and your hair that we are talking about, the choice should be yours, not hers. So, unless you expect her to pay for your weave or a wig, you are an adult and do not need her permission.

That said though, your mother’s concerns are valid. She loves you and doesn’t want a repeat of what happened last time. As I understand it though, what happened last time only happened because you loved your weave (even though it wasn’t put in correctly), and your mom took it out. To avoid history repeating itself, this time you need to find someone who will do your weave right. But this isn’t always easy. It’s hard to find someone who can do your weave right, knows your hair, and is affordable. So, before you do anything, talk to people you trust to find someone who does weave well, knows your type of hair, and knows what kinds of precautions to take. Once you are sure you have found the right person, respectfully let your mom know that after giving it a lot of thought and taking her opinion into consideration that you have decided to have your weave done. Let her know that you would appreciate her approval. Then regardless of whether she approves or not, go and have it done.

Of course, this advice will only work if you are paying for your weave yourself. If this is not the case, you will probably have to wait until you can pay for your weave yourself before you can have it done.

In my opinion, as an adult, you have the right to choose for yourself how to wear your own hair. Your mother is certainly entitled to her own opinion of how you should wear your hair — but, in the end, it is your hair and your decision. So, if this is something that is really important to your identity and sense of self, I think you should go ahead with it with or without your mom’s approval. She may not be happy with your decision, but once it’s done, she will have no real choice but to accept it.

I hope this helps. I am always here if you’d like to talk more about this. Please try to write back if you can to let me know what you decide to do and how things work out for you. I will be thinking of you.

Letter #: 457307
Category: Family

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