Natural Hair: a journey

Hello Groovy People,

So I wanted to make a post about my hair. Years ago I stated I wanted to go natural. For a few weeks I did. However, it didn’t last because it was really difficult. I had no idea how to braid my own hair and I didn’t want to rely on anyone to help me. After all, in the past I had to rely on others and when they fell through, my hair suffered.

Can I tell you a story?

As a young black girl in the 90s I had my natural hair. It was done up in cornrows by my mom every week. Lush and strong, my hair was one of my strongest attributes. Around the age of twelve I noticed a shift in hairstyles. Girls stopped wearing cornrows and started showing off their chemically straight hair. Boys were now growing their hair out and wearing braids. Perhaps it was an observation that only I noticed, but nonetheless, it bothered me.

It wasn’t until I was in the eight grade when a woman at the store mistook me for a boy. I was a tomboy. Hurt at the misunderstanding, I asked my mom for straight hair. She also had chemically straight hair, although that was not the reason I wanted one too. Growing older I wanted a more feminine and grown up hairstyle. Reluctant, but finally worn down, my mom paid for a stylist to give me straight hair.

I marveled at myself in the mirror. My long straight hair made me look 13 and feel like a lady. When I debuted my new style at school, I basked in the praise from my peers. Feeling confident and assured by others, I was certain this style was a good choice.

Years into my high school days, my hair went through a perpetual hell. Swimming class in 9th grade was terrible for my hair. The chemical mixture that made my hair straight was not well receiving of the chlorine from the pool. As a result of being ignorant of proper hair care, my hair fell out. Damaged, I continued to change up my styles to hide my insecurities. Braids, faux pony tails, weaves, and whatever else I could try. By the time my twenties came along, my hair was not the same as it once was when I was a young child.

As much as I wanted my natural hair back, I felt the strong sense that it would not be accepted. So for years I tried to keep my hair up myself. But something changed.

It was the year 2018, I was substitute teaching in a first grade class. I noticed that many of the black students, girls, wore their natural hair in braids. Perhaps it was nostalgia that hit hard, but I was reminded of my once beautiful full hair. In that moment I had enough. I was tired of chemically straightening my hair, breathing in those nasty fumes, having my mother breath those nasty fumes in an attempt to help me. I was done. So, I put aside my insecurities and started braiding my own hair.

It was not easy, and surely was a mess. However, I continued as my natural growth took over. After months, my hair was growing. It was stronger, fuller, and most importantly, easy to deal with.

I just want to say that regardless of why you go natural, do it for you. Don’t be deterred by the misconception that 4c hair is impossible to comb. If you condition your hair, keep it moisturized throughout the week, and comb it twice or so a week, then it’ll be soft. Yes, 4c hair is soft. It is beautiful, strong, and can be shaped into any style you want.

I want to end this post with a few pictures of my progress. It was not easy at first and it was truly difficult emotionally to go to work with “crazy in progress” hair. However, the end results are so much better. Not to mention, chemical straighteners are just so damaging to your lungs and scalp. My journey is not done, but my transition is complete.

Until then…

2018 just starting my natural hair transition.
2018, June
2019
2019, summer
Cornrows March 2020
March 2020
Progress! Took 2 years and a lot of effort. Keep going, don’t get discouraged.

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