Back in April - after a few salon mishaps and a general MUST DO SOMETHING NEW with my hair feeling - I decided to "go natural". You can see the photos before and now - it is quite a transformation! The transformation is not only on the top of my head. I assert tonight that it is much deeper than that... read on.
For black women - you hair is your crown. It is a generalization that is pretty on target. (take a look at the black women in your life or just black women you see at work or on the street or on TV over the next few days - you will see what I mean, if you don't already know)
As a professional black woman - the decision to go natural came only after I'd recently changed jobs so the "fear" of my natural hair (kinky tight little curls on their way to a beautiful full afro) would not hinder my confidence. It also must be noted that my entire life - I've treated my hair - either straightened it or had some kind of chemical in it to control it and make it look "presentable."
I spent many weeks online looking to others who been on the journey before... my favorite was TraceMa - who made a rap about "going nappy" and I highly recommend it for a good laugh and inspiration to do anything radical in your life http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=53nQ_h542GY
Through this process - I noticed that "going natural" REALLY meant more than just the follicles on my head and I challenge you to do the same. This is NOT a case for "natural hair" but a chat on what "letting go" can truly mean.
Look at these statements about my hair and see how they are parallel to life in general:
My hair was and is a representation of who I am - taking off the "mask" of chemically treating it really altered my view of myself for the better.
When I look in the mirror - I fall in love with the inconsistencies I see in my hair. The funky grays are wild but not like before - now all the hair around the gray is wild too! My new hair has a life of its own. I let go of control over the "outcome" of my hair on a daily basis and I like what is happening.
A bad hair day is really insignificant because I no longer take time to control the "outcome"
In the early days - when people were reacting to my natural hair - there were times when I was very uncomfortable but the longer I am natural - I barely notice reactions anymore. They may still be there but they don't matter to me.
Some people outright told me they liked it and others were very critical (what did you do to your hair? Shock look with "you got a hair cut") - neither comment matters - I am not overly flattered with the validation nor does the criticism shake my resolve to have natural hair
I have tried many "products" to help enhance the curls or nurture the style. It is fun to try them but only my precious care routine really makes the difference.
Ultimately - my natural hair has freed up time and caused me to rely on my instincts- a picked out fro today or a headband tomorrow or just curly, curly - no nothing.
Do you see a pattern? All these statements could be applied to a career choice, accepting yourself at your current weight or size or those relationship woes that seem to linger with your loved ones.
I spent many years trying to control my hair and in the end - it really controlled me. Now my hair is just a "part" of my identity - and the place that it once held for me is now reserved for bigger more important issues.
Did I mention that I love my new nappy hair?