Thoughts from an Unapologetic Creamy Crack Addict

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I have an addiction.

I anticipate my next hit, and feel at ease once the chemical has done its job.

No, it’s not what you think. I’m not doing any harsh drugs, or sweating because I’ve popped mollies.

Ammonium thioglycolate is my drug of choice. Whether you know it by its scientific name or as a conk, relaxer or perm, I feel no remorse for taming my kinks and curls.

Sitting between my mother’s legs as the comb struggled to style my hair was always a struggle. For me to go through a sitting with dry cheeks was an accomplishment. I never wore my hair in those pretty twists with barrettes and clips, because my hair simply did not do what everyone else’s did. My signature style was two puffs.

I can’t forget about the millions of braiding magazines I went through hoping my mother would imitate in my head. And when Alicia Keys came out, she was my idol. I made my mother give those forward braids circa her Fallin’ video and I definitely did the half-braided/half-out thing too.

It began to get all too real once my mother started complaining that her hands were cramping up because my hair was too thick. She couldn’t do it anymore, and the next thing I knew I was sitting in a chair in someone’s salon getting a perm.

The coldness of the relaxer was a new sensation, and I wasn’t sure how to feel about never getting my puffs back. As the beautician washed the perm out of my hair I could feel the strands slapping on my face. My hair had never been this straight before. As she styled it applying heat, I couldn’t contain my smiles. That day a monster was born. The walk home had my hair blowing in the wind. My hair had never blown in the wind, far less moved on its own.

Then, I came to college—a historically black college to be exact. Everyone started doing the big chop and started to turn their noses at the girls who had relaxed hair, or wore weaves. I must have missed the memo where being natural meant you had a greater sense of your “blackness.”

I had no intention on going natural. In my mind I was a believer of “Once you try the creamy crack, you don’t go back.” It wasn’t until a freak accident where I was FORCED to cut the perm out of my hair that I had become a part of #teamnatural.

No one would ever know though. I wore full head weaves the entire time. I didn’t even know what my natural hair texture felt like anymore, and the childhood memories I harbored didn’t make me any more curious to find out.

In between weaves, I grew to be more accepting of my natural hair texture. But due to my tender head, and the tears that still streamed down my face long after childhood I came to the conclusion that I would leave natural hair to people who had the patience.

Am I any less black because I get a perm 4 times a year? No. Does sewing weave in my head mean I want to assimilate to European standards of beauty? Absolutely not.

I choose not to be natural because it’s convenient for me. I shouldn’t have to get my “black card” revoked because of that.


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Kristin Corry is a Print/Online major studying at Howard University.

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