Welcome to my very first Curly Gal post!
Ever since my hair journey started, it has become important for me to ensure that my fellow naturalista’s feel confident rocking their natural hair, whether long or short, 3b or 4c, because I struggled to embrace my hair in the beginning of my journey. I was always doubtful of my natural hair and hid behind my long straight tresses for many years. It has been a little over a year since I did the big chop and over this time I have learned to love my hair more than ever before.
I receive emails and direct messages all the time from ladies always asking me about my hair care routine and wanting to know how and when did I go natural. Today I think I’ll tackle my hair journey and don’t worry the posts that follow will go into my hair care routine. I truly hope my story will inspire you to love your hair whether relaxed or natural–long or short.
Well then…Shall we begin?
My hair was first relaxed at the age of 9. My mom, like many other mothers I know, didn’t take the time to learn what products and techniques would help her best manage my hair. But—I got my first relaxer so young, I was never able to discover the beauty of my natural hair. Straight hair was all I knew and even as a young adult when the curiosity of my natural tresses sparked, I had a hard time leaving behind the ‘the creamy crack’ (aka relaxer).
I encountered many failed attempts at transitioning, which believe it or not left me emotionally drained. I constantly studied hair typing charts and would talk myself out of going natural after comparing my hair to others. You see, I had always used my hair as a way of defining who I was (Natasha, the girl with the long, straight hair), so I could not imagine myself as ‘Natasha the girl with SHORT, natural hair.’
Well…after many failed attempts at transitioning I was finally able to go relaxer free for one year, yet I still could not muster up the courage to let go of my long hair. Well, crazily enough I found myself up late one night, hair stalking on some natural hair blogs and I stumbled on a quote saying “a girl who cuts her hair is about to change her life”-Coco Chanel, and right below was a clip of India Arie’s song “I am not my hair” along with the lyrics. I listened to a song that I clearly knew, but never paid attention to and that night I seriously felt like India was singing that song specifically for me. You see, back then I happened to be that girl who hid behind her long, straight hair; one who was too afraid to big chop because of fear of judgment. That night I made the decision to redefine myself, by focusing on inner beauty rather than outer. I put the song on repeat, grabbed my scissors, and that night I just “LET IT ALL GO.”
The Day After My Big Chop
Now, I can’t speak for everyone, but when it came on to going back natural I made a lot of excuses. It seems so trivial to me now when I look back at how fear prolonged my natural hair journey. I would frighten my own self by over thinking what people would say or think if I cut off all my hair. I mean, let’s face it, many of us have been conditioned to believe that our hair is of a lesser quality. I know, I know it’s hard to admit, but many of us still think ‘our’ natural hair is unattractive. Natural hair was something I never considered because, quite frankly, I never had the confidence to rock it–And who could blame me? We live in a society where straighter hair is seen as “more beautiful” than kinky hair that is often labeled with adjectives like “unkempt”, “ugly”, “unprofessional”, and still, even after a year of being fully natural I still get asked ‘when do you plan on relaxing it?’ or ‘you’re hair used to be so long, why don’t you straighten it?’
But to anyone who is scared of going natural, my message is simple; always remember that it is YOUR hair. Regardless of anyone’s opinion, your hair should be representative of you and no one else, because at the end of the day, it is YOU who has to look in the mirror and see yourself. Don’t allow anyone to define your beauty, focus on inner beauty just as equally as you do on outer beauty. Lastly, don’t get caught up trying to determine your exact hair type, try to avoid comparing different curly and kinky haired girls to your own texture; instead focus on having HEALTHY HAIR.
The song, “I AM NOT MY HAIR” opened my eyes, go give it a listen, and hopefully it will have the same effect on you.