Terms of Endearment?
Words are very powerful. They can bring joy and they can bring pain. They can offend and they can compliment. There are a few words when used in reference to natural hair, that make me uncomfortable. Two of those words are “nappy” and “manageable.”
The word nappy, makes me feel uncomfortable because I feel that it has a negative connotation. Well, maybe it’s just because the majority of the time I heard it when growing up, was in a negative way. As kids, we used to tease each other all of the time and if someone was “nappy-headed” or had “beady-beads,” it was meant as an insult. Since becoming an adult, and going natural. I have tried to make myself ok with the word, and even used it to reference my hair in a positive way. I felt that I was giving this word power that it did not deserve. I reasoned, that lamb’s wool is nappy, and that’s not a bad thing. But, I don’t particularly like to associate my hair with lamb’s wool. Don’t ask me why, I know it says somewhere in the Bible that Jesus’ hair was like lamb’s wool, so it should be a compliment. Maybe it’s just the analogy that my hair is like an animal’s fur that I have a problem with.
To say that something is manageable, says to me that it was previously unmanageable. When someone says that using a certain product makes their hair manageable or when it is said that we have to learn how to manage our hair, it makes me feel as if our hair at it’s core, is not manageable. Something being not manageable is bad. I don’t consider my hair to be bad in its natural state, so that does not sit well with me. To get a relaxer because it is “easier to manage,” says that it is not manageable without it to me. Then we add to that by saying use this or that to make your natural hair easier to manage. Maybe I’m just being too nit-picky, but I prefer terms relating to how to care for your hair as opposed to how to manage your hair.
I guess I feel like for so long, natural hair has had all kinds of stigmas and negative connotations associated with it, and I just want it to be hair. No statements, no premises, no anything. It’s just the hair on my head.
Does anyone else feel this way?