Through Burns, Sweat and Tears
July 2005 A summer heat wave was in full effect. Isolated away in my tiny apartment bathroom I began my bi-monthly ritual to relax my new growth. It was a celebratory ritual in a sense because new growth meant longer hair and my destiny for long flowing locks was nearing. My relaxed hair had grown past my neck and had reached mid back – a milestone!
I laid down the essentials: Relaxer kit – check, plastic container – check, wide-toothed comb – check, applicator brush – check, latex gloves – check, towel – check. Oh! Can’t forget the Vaseline – Check! Check! Doing my own relaxer allowed me to save oodles of money and I had managed to get the same salon results at home. thus far.
I stripped down to make the ritual a bit more tolerable. I separated my hair into four sections and began. Halfway through I anticipated, even with flawless application my ritual friend Burn-iecewould appear. Burn-iece’s fiery tingle meant that she was in top form, working her magic. Hang in there girl! Just a few more strokes of my magic and you are good. She’s such a good lye-ar. I made it halfway to the crown of my head, the kinkiest part of my hair and had to stop. Staring at myself in the mirror watching the sweat pour down the sides of my face and down my back, I imagined my scalp bubbling and sizzling like a fried egg and my sweat turning into blood. I had been through this burn countless times before. What gives? Whether I was at a fancy overpriced salon or at home in my tiny weeny bathroom; Burn-iece was always there. However, on this hot July day I just couldn’t stand her anymore. Remembering the scene from Malcolm X when Denzel dunked his head in the toilet I quickly jumped into the shower for some relief. The frigid pellets forced the relaxer from my hair and sliced micro-sized cuts into my wounded scalp. With the relaxer rinsed out I stared back at my half stringy, half frizzy mess and glared at the word mild on the relaxer box.
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