It Took Me A Long Time To Believe I Am Beautiful With My Natural Hair
And because of this, I believe it is really important to discuss how women of color have to reprogram their subconscious when embracing their natural kinks. I didn’t even know I was a victim of wanting ONLY straight hair and believing my natural hair should be hidden.
This didn’t even become a reality to me, how abnormal that thinking pattern, was until I started my freshman year in college. I was 18, I didn’t know how to do my hair or how to take care of it. I realize that, of course, there are many races of women who still don’t know anything about healthy hair practices or about their hair in general.
However, I genuinely believe it was different for me because, unlike others, information on proper care for my natural hair was always repressed. Not only was there non-verbal approval for my extensions, I have been told I’d look better if my hair was straightened or if I had a relaxer.
In my “Why I Went Natural” page I talk about the first time I got braid extensions and how people ‘oo-ed’ and ‘ahh-ed’ and its new length and resemblance to longer straighter hair. I was 13 then.
When I was 17 and really ‘flat-iron happy’, I went to the hair salon where I’d regularly get my hair straightened only to see that my hair was breaking and really suffering from heat damage. The hairdresser recommended that I should ‘get a relaxer’ as a solution.
When I was 12 in the sixth grade, I had a classmate that asked me, “Why do you always wear your hair up?” ‘Up’ meaning in clips, hair ties, and puffs. Then she proceeded to tell me that “Your hair would look so pretty, if it was straightened.” At the time those statements made me uncomfortable, but looking back at it now, I’m even more angered that an ideology of ‘straight hair is beautiful’ was being taught amongst kids. I mean, I was only 12 years old and so was she.
Now, there was a time where none of this even hit me as a ‘societal conformity’ or ‘Eurocentrism’ or ‘Western Civilization At Its Best’. In fact, I don’t even necessarily argue that now because, to me, it sounds like I’m blaming somebody. Moreover, I didn’t even piece those ‘hair events’ together until I started seeing other women, like me go, through the same thing.
What made me realize that this was even a ‘thing’ is that they put a name on the frustrations I had.
And it was simply not accepting their natural selves.
Whatever it was, that made me and others grow up to believe my hair is something to be altered, I realized the reality is that that train of thought EXISTS and I bought into it for so many years without realizing.
So when I decide to go natural, I was in a spirit of vengeance to make up for the years of feeling like I couldn’t wear my hair the way it was.
However, I found it hard.
I was self-conscious and I didn’t like how my hair stood up and not ‘down’.
It made me realize that I have been trained to feel very comfortable with my hair being flat and straight. But not in the ‘preference’ kind of way, it was the ‘this is acceptable wear of my hair’ kind of way. I felt the frustration in my head to just go BACK to braid extensions and just forget about my hair altogether.
I had a deep desire to ENJOY my hair but I found it so difficult to feel beautiful, I simply couldn’t understand why.
I found myself to just ‘wanting long hair’ already and I was happy I made these mental struggle posts earlier in my natural hair journey.
But I felt shameful for myself that I didn’t like my hair on my head.
Cause why wouldn’t I like the hair on my head???
I would style my hair and comb it out the same day.
I would take it out but have so much fear about it, I would put a hat over my head.
Until the day of my Bantu Knot Out Post.
I just loved the coils and curls of my hair that day and I was unashamed of the little sprout of curls on top of my head. It was a good feel. A groovy one. Sooo many people complimented my hair that day and I felt like everybody was celebrating the mental liberation I was having. I was at peace, and I wondered if other naturals felt this too.
Anyway, I just wanted to illustrate how wearing natural hair after a lifetime of having it straight or hidden can become a mental struggle that needs to be broken at some point in our natural journeys. I want to show that it’s important to acknowledge that this is a process and it’ll take time.
It did for me.
However, the reward of liking your hair just the way it is is so liberating. It’s relieving and reviving and you will get there. So this is for all my naturals who may ‘not yet comfortable’ with wearing their hair ‘out’
It gets easier. Soon, you won’t even think about it.