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Chapter 3 Peinate el pelo

By <a href="/centrovoices/meet-the-authors/carmen-bardeguez-brown">Carmen Bardeguez–Brown</a>

Chapter 3 Peinate el pelo

El que no tiene Dinga
Tiene Mandinga.
 
“Carmelita ven a peinarte el pelo”
“ Ya voy mami”
Uhhhhh,How I hated when mami used to comb my hair! I have curly hair and for some people they will call it: "pelo Malo".
 
Mami had a routine of using oils to soften the curls. There was always a particular oil for the condition of my unmanageable hair. Mom used to put a little bit of aceite de oliva  if the kinky hair was soft. if we have money she will use  coconut oil.but something was certain I will always need some kind of oil to soften my hair. All of those aromatic smells made me  feel like a salad plate.  like some kind of kitchen condiment.
One thing was certain she will only comb my hair if and only if my hair have been smear with oils. I wonder why she wanted to tame my   lioness mane.
Mami say, that I have
“Un pelo malo pero manejable .  Mom said that I was lucky I didn’t have Dad’s kinky hair. I wonder what he would say about that?
In Puerto Rico there are only two kinds of hair
“pelo malo” or black hair and pelo “bueno” or “white” peoples
Which I don’t understand because in New York, we are all black.
But  then again, what kind of hair is bad?
 
Is not like the hair has done anything to you. In Puerto Rico everyone wants to have “white people's  hair” or “pelo bueno”  Even if their mother is black or in my case is my father. Well, in here we are all equally black. As I was saying  in Guayama you will see everyone goes to the beauty salon to get their hair straighten. But then everybody denies it. Mom already had planned for me to get a “mild relaxer” but then we move  here.Moving here has brought freedom to my hair condition. I do not know  how but I was able  to  convince mom to let me have my long curly, kinky hair, tranquilo.

© Carmen Bardeguez-Brown. Published by permission in Centro Voices on 10 April 2015.