It’s been eleven years from when made the decision to go natural. And BOY let me tell you!!! It has been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.
The journey was tough, the grooming methods I used were rough, this was pre Curly Ms. Jessies’ Shea Moisture Solutions and YouTube, but one thing I can say is that I’m STILL KINKY!
Yes all day everyday fro fabulous! I wasn’t always so confident about my hair. I begged my mom for a relaxer after consistently dealing with two older bullies on the school bus, that nicknamed my sister and I nappy head 1 & 2 in elementary school . Saddest part was they were Black too but commentary on my reasons for getting a relaxer is a whole another post for another day. The purpose of this post is to share why I made my return to natural hair and some of the lessons I learned along the way.
Transitional Back Story
After high school I had been flirting with the idea of going natural after years of scalp scabs from relaxed burns, hair shedding and not liking the look of my hair after washing it. Most of the time it was in flux trying to break free from the chemical matrix I put it in every six to eight weeks.
I believe there were some earlier experiences that influenced my decision prior to that which influenced my decision including heavily into Neosoul music; this played a huge part in the shaping of this new hair identity. One conclusion which drew me into beginning an all natural idea of beauty.
My 9th grade Earth Science teacher was natural and somewhat tomboyish (she loved to wear sweat shirts and jeans so baggy MC Hammer would feel like a cast member of Lost or Survivor in them.) I’m the last person to hate on her Pirates of the Caribbean denim selection; (I don’t see why the Gap hasn’t jumped on that!) you can ask anyone close to me I opt for comfort in a heartbeat… I digress. I just remembered how a couple of my classmates were trying to figure out her sexual orientation and why she didn’t have a relaxed in her Lupita Grace Jones cropped do. Me, I really didn’t care how she dressed or whom she slept with, what I admired most was the fact that she was a smart Black woman comfortable in her skin.
I remembered that class being incredibly hard (especially after it married with math) but I enjoyed it and learned so much until she had to go on maternity leave in the middle of the school year and we got this horrible sub for the remainder of the spring semester. That was the end of my scientific interests. Sad, I know.
Needless to say, I though she looked pretty with her hair in a TWA. Plus, I had India telling my skin was beautiful, Jill showing naturalists could be sexy, and Lauryn schooling me on how to save some money on my beauty regimen by keeping it real.
So when I decided to do that big chop in Dec. of ’02’ in the birthplace of the quick weave, I had plenty of motivation. Plus a guy I liked told me not to cut my hair because men like women to look “soft” and in a in a fit of feminist rage that too fueled my rebellion to get it all snipped off allow my ebony protein to drift toward the white linoleum salon flooring.
That for me the beginning of the side way comments from White co-workers and Black creamy crack addicts. Not to mention one relaxed diva who challenged my young sensibilities by telling me I wouldn’t last very long being natural as she had unsuccessfully tried, crashed and burned. The journey also included criticism from my mother, temptations to compare my length, texture and color to other women and that nagging temptation the dark and lovely diva must have dealt with even after my move to Atlanta.
And since we are on the subject of Atlanta, part of this fabulous journey takes place in the South. Hotlanta as it is affectionately called down in these parts, though the weather that produced the #SnowJam2014 hasn’t supported this appellation lately, has played a huge part in my growth of hair acceptance. I promise, every time one of those tempting thoughts popped up to relax Sheba (my afro) I would get a random compliment whether it be a stranger or friend. Furthermore, when I moved here a year later after my transition I seen so many naturalistas I was quick to turn in my #teamnatural application.
During my process I took part in wearing wigs, which I still enjoy, add-on pony-tail pieces, head bands/head wraps/scarves, braid extensions ( I have a full on love affair with theses thanks to Brandy!), and weave. No prejudice here about rocking bought hair. It’s still mine, because I paid for it. However, I don’t believe I need it. My beauty is more than skin deep and truly knowing this is so freeing! Also, my process in going natural has developed a desire for me to become more holistic in other areas of my life affecting my choice in beauty products and food.
Really this ended up and STILL is my journey towards healthy self-love and acceptance. Don’t compare, you can love what you have going on and still rock fake hair, block the negative comments and self talk. This is a love walk. Whether your hair is naturally bone strait or cloud fluffy there is nothing better than when you, love you for you. naturally.
Until next time…