Making the decision to go natural is one that takes bravery. It is difficult for a black woman to gain a foothold in the realm of social and cultural acceptance to the point that we chemically alter our hair or hide it under wigs and weave to conform to what has been drilled into our heads as the only way we can be beautiful, normal, successful, acceptable within society (This is NOT a post about black women with relaxed hair “trying to look white”).
Going natural is an awakening, a metamorphosis, an epiphany when it finally dawns on us as black women that we don’t have to travel these well-worn roads of globally accepted standards of beauty. A lightbulb comes on and we realize the uniqueness that is natural hair. You may have started out saying, “Well, I’m going natural because my hair was unhealthy relaxed so I’m starting from scratch before I perm again,” or “Oh I’m just doing it because it’s the trend,” or maybe even, “I’m doing it because everyone around me is doing it and I want to fit in,” but after growing your hair out and spending time getting to know it and styling it, you then come to realize natural hair the most unique and versatile of all the hair types. It can be kinky, curly, straight, or wavy; it can mimic any hair type. Natural hair is the business!
I may only be speaking for myself, but going natural instills an urge to do things a little different. It encourages you to be a little more daring. You change as a person and always for the better, even if you don’t see it right away, and I believe that has roots in how important hair is to women. It is a big part of what makes us feel feminine and confident. Think about it. Remember how you felt on a banging hair day? Now, remember how you felt on a terrible hair day? Exactly.
For me, I became more aware of what I eat and how my diet affects the health of my hair. I began eating healthier, more organic, less meat. My style changed. I started being a little more experimental with my wardrobe, trying things I’ve always wanted to wear, but didn’t think I could pull off or clothing outside my comfort zone to go along with my new hair. I began mixing my own organic products, listening to different music, gained a better understanding of diversity. I held my head a little higher, walked with my back a little straighter, I gained a little more confidence and maturity. In short, I learned there was so much more to me than I originally thought. I learned who I really was on the inside and brought it to the surface, resulting in a happier, healthier person. Who would have thought all that would come from a haircut?!
Making the decision to stop perming is the start to an adventure of self-discovery, whether you big chop or transition, whether you intended to or not, the person you become through the process and the process itself is what makes growing out your natural hair a journey.
Has going natural empowered you in any way? What has changed about you since you started your journey?