1BN Contributor: A Nappy Girl's Prayer


1BN Contributor: A Nappy Girl's Prayer (photo cred: Pink Sherbert Photography via Flickr by CC by 2.0)

Kimberly J. Childs

"Dear God, when I wake up in the morning, please let me wake up with White girl's hair, Amen."

This was the prayer I prayed nearly every night as a child. Not "Dear God, please let me get a bike for Christmas." or "Dear God, please let Derrick sit next to me at lunch." As a child, I was so dissatisfied and miserable with ME, that I bombarded Heaven, with HAIR PRAYERS!

Growing up a Black girl in the 1980’s meant a few things. 1. You were likely taught that “new growth” was the devil, ugly, and you should rebuke it (Or at least greeeze it down). 2. You were VERY likely sitting in front of your Momma or Grandma’s stove on Saturday nights, about to feel the fire from that hot comb. 3. When the fear of that evil hot comb became too much to bear, you were begging for a perm.

At 11 years old, I was pleading with my mother for a perm.The TCB-Bone Straight relaxer in particular. Why? The lady in the commercial looked so happy and worry free. It HAD to be because of her hair!  In that box, was the answer to my prayers. Since God was taking his sweet time answering my “White girl hair”  prayer, it was time to take matters into my own hands, or put the perm in my mother’s!  I wanted my hair to lay down when it got wet!  I wanted the boys to like me. After all, the girls who had long, straight hair, got all of the attention.

Kimberly J. Childs with her natural hair

After a campaign of begging, Mom gave in, as most mothers did. She gave me my first relaxer. I immediately became a soldier. Why? Cause my scalp went to WAR with the chemicals! My pain tolerance went up by 129% due to the burning on my scalp! I battled through that pain, made fatalities out of those naps, and marched into happy.That burning scalp went on for 18 more years, every 6 weeks. I’m surprised I still have a scalp and hair to write about! 

What was my epiphany?  It’s not tremendously deep, and it involves an $8.99 drawstring ponytail!  At around 28 years old, I put in a tightly curled, drawstring ponytail. I was “giving my hair a break” by not relaxing for the summer. One day I looked in the mirror, and saw the once evil new growth slicked down with that ponytail. I thought, “Man, I wish all of my hair could curl up like that!” Then, I remembered...duuh.. it can! Somewhere, under all of the TCB, Dark and Lovely, African Pride and Motions, it DOES curl up!!  So, I transitioned for 10 months back in 2008, and cut the last of that dead perm off. That chop made a big difference in my life: my confidence showed up!

Many Black girls prayed “ A Nappy Girls Prayer”, in some way or another.  Maybe not out loud like me, but in their hearts and minds. I’m so glad my prayers have matured these days. A better Derrick is not only sitting next to me at lunch, but sitting next to me for the rest of our lives. Now, HE can buy me that bike for Christmas! The bike I will ride with NO FEAR of  sweatin’ my hair out! 

Have you ever prayed "A Nappy Girl's Prayer"?

Kimberly J. Childs is a freelance writer from Chicago who loves traveling, church activities, and natural hair. Please visit her website to check out more about her. 

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