I've lived on this earth quite a few years now and I am happily becoming really comfortable in my own skin. There were the years of learning to navigate through life with self-doubt, low self-esteem, and a feeling of inferiority however, these days I'm navigating with a whole new look on life. Perhaps, it comes with age or perhaps, it simply comes with life experience and those, I both have. Whatever it is from, I am very grateful for the person that it has molded me to be. There was a great hurdle that for a lengthy period of time, caused me to withdraw: my hair.
My hair. Hmmm. Where do I start? Let's just say I absolutely adore my hair now. I love the feeling of it wrapping around my fingers, the way my coils bounce as water falls down the strands, and the tomboy look I get from it. It is filled with mystery, just like I. For many years, I'd straighten my hair by the use of hot combs and relaxers. It was the norm. You either got used to it or wore braids or dreadlocks for the rest of your life. I chose to alternate all the styles, as many have done. However, there was always such a dissatisfaction with doing so. I'd constantly tell myself that there's gotta be another way and that I shouldn't have to place so much energy on my hair.
It felt quite embarrassing to reveal if I were wearing artificial hair or to explain how my hair isn't naturally straight because inevitably, many questions would follow. What is your hair really like? Why don't you wear your real hair? Can you wash the artificial hair? It's truly a daunting task to stand there amongst people overhearing you, essentially, rejecting your own natural hair. I can tell you a million times that I love my African hair but, am I not rejecting it if I never even wear my natural hair? I rejected my hair because I, as many others, didn't know how to care for it. I had never known that my hair was naturally coily. Due to all the chemical treatments and straightening, my hair consisted of curls, waves, and straightness...within one strand. I'm talking three textures within one strand!
This all affected my psychological state, I'm sure of it. I began to succumb to an identity crisis, although I didn't realize it at the time. I obsessed over the fact that my non-black friends could wear their hair in it's natural state and everyone still loved them. Why couldn't my hair be expectable? Who invented "the norm" anyways? I should be able to be loved while wearing an afro, if I chose. I felt unequal, inferior because I couldn't be my true self. Naturally me.
Then life hit. Marriage and then kids. I still hadn't solved my insecurities. Furthermore, they were indeed heightened due to my desire to be the best role model for my kids. I knew for my own soul, I needed to make a change.
I've been wearing my hair in its natural state for a while now and I'm acclimating to it. I transitioned for five years with dreads and am now going on four years with my naturally coily hair, that I had just realized after combing out my dreads. I have my days where I feel I look too different and have a subtle urge to straighten my hair. I give into it a couple times a year but I actually, run back to my natural hair. Nothing beats the daily feel of water running through my hair, the sweet aroma that follows it, and the freedom it gives my curls, which drips down onto me.
In choosing my curls, I chose me.
If you enjoyed this post, please support me in purchasing my book entitled, Lost in Tangles; Accepting Natural Hair, where I go into more depth of choosing whether or not to wear your hair naturally. Please also purchase my music on iTunes or Amazon. You can also choose to donate, instead. Either way, I am truly thankful.