Fellow readers! I've been natural for more than 2 years! Woot woot!
In fact, I celebrated my nappyversary on July 25th and I'm happy to report that I don't plan on relaxing my hair anytime soon. The naturalness is here to stay! At least a little bit longer. :)
So I wanted to write a post about some of the things I've learned, experienced and thought about during those 2 years. I hope those little bits can help and provide food for thought for some of you...
1) My hair is f***ing manageable.
Ok… so, for the longest time, I (and many other clueless people) thought natural coily/kinky hair needed to be tamed with the help of a "lifesaving" relaxer. Side note: I rebuke the idea that our hair needs to be "tamed" like it's a wild and dangerous animal... buuuut, let's move on.
For me, the problem doesn’t lie with using the said relaxer (and no, now is not the time to talk about the dangers of relaxers ladies). I’ve done it, you’ve probably done it, you might still be doing it, but it doesn’t mean we’re all self-hating people because of it. The real problem for me lies with the reason we mostly cite for using it, i.e. the manageability. I ain't gonna lie to you, taking care of my natural hair takes time and it did take some getting used to at first. But it's not because it's difficult, or hard to manage, or impossible to deal with... it's just because I DIDN'T KNOW how to take care of it. My mom taught me how to braid, but she didn't teach me about my hair and what it needed to thrive. I'm not saying that everyone should have hairstyling skills (I've met ladies who CANNOT twist their hair to save their own life), but at least, we should be knowledgeable about our own set of strands. Because with knowledge comes understanding, and with understanding eventually comes acceptance.
Thinking our hair is unruly is not only false, but also harmful since it basically reinforces the negative stereotypes (already) surrounding it, such as: our hair is "bad", that it needs to be changed and that something is wrong with it.
2) It’s an ever-changing process.
When I finally decided to go natural in 2012, doing the big chop was a no-brainer for me. Because: 1) I had done it before, cried and got over it, 2) transitioning meant taking care of two hair textures and personally...
... and 3) I wanted to experiment on my natural hair right away to master a perfect hair regimen I could ride on for life (or so I thought).
I quickly realized that, as my hair grew, my moisturizing and styling regimens were bound to change. Not drastically, but with longer hair comes…
great responsibilities new issues. And we’re not even going to talk about seasonal changes or workout routines that can add up to the mix. *faints*
But after side-eyeing my mane for like... a thousand times, I found out it wasn’t all that bad. Adopting a flexible attitude towards my hair AND my regimen actually allowed me to discover new techniques and find new ways to enjoy my tresses. So trust me my fellow (new) naturals, when I tell you that tweaking your routine to fit your lifestyle/environment/desires/hair length = winning.
3) If you don’t know what to do with your hair... put a scarf on it. (This one is more of a practical/lifesaving advice guys)
You see, I wish I was the fashionable-kinda-woman, but I got to be real with y’all. I’m not. I’ve always been a tomboy. Not the stylish one though... the other one. The kind who rarely puts on makeup, who’ve lost too many rings to count and who doesn’t like to wear bracelets ‘cause they make too much noise when they cling together (read: I usually don’t accessorize). Basically, I couldn’t be a fashion blogger, let alone a “conventional” beauty blogger (Awesomely Luvvie’s made an hilarious post about this y'all. Go check it out). Even though I love the “idea” of being stylish, I
am too lazy can’t apply it to my everyday life. Let's blame it on my native country Switzerland, which isn’t known for being very fashion-forward. *hum… cough, cough*
But I digress. My point is: I’ve been taking extensive Youtube classes on head-wrapping since going natural, and it has saved me countless times from bad hair days. So if you want to join the party without looking like your fav’ grandma doing her chores, get a head start with the tutorial below:
Easy, breezy, beautiful.
4) It’s not JUST hair.
The main reason I never considered going natural before 2009 was basically the fear of looking ugly with my natural hair. Yes, I said it. I know you’re shaking your head and I’m doing it while writing this too. But I know I ain’t the only one. Other women (and men) have felt - or still feel - the same. And that is truly unfortunate.
Some black people say it’s not a big deal, and I’m willing to believe that for them, wearing their hair relaxed (or natural) is just a preference. But for me, realizing that I couldn’t see my own hair as beautiful was an eye-opener. It was also a very sad moment. *cue the violins*
2nd side note: All kidding aside, I'll probably write an extensive blog post on the subject in due time, because this matter runs deep.
Luckily, we humans have the ability to evolve and change our perspective on things, and so… I questioned mine and… here am I, celebrating the beauty of natural hair through this blog.
For some, it’s about identity, discovering their roots or even political views, and I think it would be wrong to say that the issue of black hair isn’t still contentious. For me, it's about something that goes beyond my skin color, it's about a part of me I used to ignore. It's about realizing that I don't need to "blend in" and that our natural beauty - and natural selves - is worth celebrating. So no, it's definitely not JUST hair.
What about you? What have you learned from your own natural journey?