This week, we are especially here for everyone considering the return to natural. I’m always an email away- email@example.com :o) but for the next several days, this is the focus of the ‘Going Back To Natural’ series. Yesterday, we looked at what hair is and how relaxers work. If you missed it, you could go catch up here.
A journey of a thousand miles begins with a step and on this particular journey, I believe the first step has to be taken in your mind, truly saying “YES” in your heart, deciding to start. What are your fears about going natural? Today, I’m going to share some of mine and how I got over them. This is a long post because it was a long journey, please bear with me.
I’ll be ugly.
What is ugly? I personally do not like the word “ugly”. If you call someone ugly, I’d love to see you create an exquisite wonderfully made human being!!
Despite how I feel about the word “ugly”, I haven’t always felt comfortable (and this is putting it mildly) with my body and my features. I rejected the word outwardly, but it didn’t stop me from feeling like it inside.
After many days of mental tossing and turning, I finally came to the point where I told myself that if I wanted to put a bag over my face after the big chop, then I was never really cool with my face anyway; and that my face was forever going to be my face so I’d better get used to it.
I accepted that I would look different than I was used to and that different was good. Weaves can be glamorous but my beauty is not in the weave and neither is yours.
And if the boys don’t like natural hair?
This one is like the twin of the first one. I didn’t want to admit this at all because I didn’t want to feel shallow and also because I knew that the only beholder where any measure of my own beauty should matter was me. Don’t roll your eyes. It’s true. Decide on your own standard of beauty and let everything follow.
I may have cut my hair earlier if the person I liked at the time didn’t say (without really saying) that I would look weird. At that point, I knew better but I was still really seeing my beauty through his eyes. I finally did my BC when I was ready because I was ready. For me. We aren’t together now, and he isn’t still a fan of the ‘fro. But now, who cares?
Going natural forced me to come to terms with the way I see myself. My insecurities were not formed the day I started thinking about transitioning. I’ve had them since like Age 10. I struggled with them throughout secondary school and though I made great progress, thinking about going natural brought back all the old familiar feelings and it took me a long time but I faced them again. With my fro now, everything is all here. Everything that I like and that I don’t like about my face is out here for anyone to see, but it’s okay. They’re all mine and I am grateful. I still have my insecurities, I admit- but I’m on my merry way towards 100% coolness with myself.
So. If thoughts of going natural are giving you a headache, don’t feel bad, or shallow. It’s a process. See it as an invitation to ascend to a higher level of self-love and self-acceptance. Take your time. When you’re ready, you’ll be ready and best believe you’re your natural hair will continue to bring the boys to the yard. Even more sef. 😉
I Don’t Have The Natural Hair Face or Shape of Head.
This is another way of saying Natural Hair Is Not For Everyone.
Your Natural hair is you, boo. It is what you are, what you were and relaxer cannot penetrate your DNA to change that. It is how you were born. There is no such thing as ONE face or ONE shape of head for natural Afro hair. Take this from someone who knows.
Knowing that I didn’t have Amber Rose’s head, I probably read all the articles I could about the right cut for your shape of face.
First, I had to find out what my shape of face was. Of course, I did the measuring thing- measured the dimensions of my forehead, the space between my eyes, etc- I eliminated Round, Diamond and Heart Shapes- for a long time, I was stuck on whether my face was Oblong or oval or square faced. Finally, I concluded that my face was Oblong. Did that solve the problem? NO. These articles were written by women not of African origin, with hair different than I hoped to have. These articles would only make sense if I were to decide what style to cut my weave in. They were definitely NOT written in contemplation of your kinky crown.
So what about the afro then? As a proud owner of one for over a year now, who has looked at like a thousand different photos for inspiration and also seen many team members in the flesh, I can tell you this- it fits us all. Small head, big head. It does, and it’s true. There is NO Natural hair face or shape of head. Or should I say ALL our faces and shapes are natural hair faces and shapes!
And when you feel this way, remember that this fear is not really about your kinky-curly hair. It’s a greater fear of short hair. Except you want to keep it at a short length, your hair will grow long and you’ll be happy stretching and styling in amazing ways you didn’t previously think possible.
Honestly, I am yet to see anyone that doesn’t look better with her kinky hair.
I’ll look like a boy.
This one crossed my mind, but it wasn’t something I dwelt on. Our hair we are told is our feminine crown and glory. To this I say, your hair isn’t what makes you a woman. And long hair doesn’t make a man any less of a man.
Ever heard the term Androgynous? Have fun exploring Androgynous looks/fashion and to get you feeling all flowery and feminine again, have fun exploring your features, playing with makeup (new lipstick anyone?) and switching up your accessories. You’ll be fine. 🙂
I’ll look like a child.
Ah. This was a big one for me. Embrace it though- sweet 16 innit? Again, makeup and accessories can make a big difference.
My Hair Is Too Stubborn.
This one flew right out of the window pretty quickly. Having no natural women in my life to look at, I found plenty on the internet going steady with hair similar looking to mine. I was determined to be like them, to learn what they knew.
My hair is as kinky as kinky could possibly be. It took years of applying relaxers for my hair to finally start yielding like it was supposed to. That’s the kind of stubborn I’m talking about. One time, in my (then) new yielding stage, I sat in the chair for extra time though I knew my hair was burning because I saw that it hadn’t relaxed and I just needed it to. When I couldn’t take it any longer, and my hairdresser was actually getting worried, I had it washed off and the hair was just there like laughing at me. No show.
So when people feel my hair now and they’re like “oh, it’s so soft, my own hair can’t be like this, it’s too stubborn”, I’d love to sit with them and explain how stubborn my own hair really is. I know, you feel your hair is the most stubborn hair on the planet and you can drag your mother to the stand to witness, but I can objectively tell you that I am (or should I say I was?) also a main guy in this department.
No hair is too stubborn for love and gentle care. With time, consistency and the right care, your hair will respond. Your hair can be soft, your hair can grow, your hair can be a lovely pillow or stick of yummy kinky candy floss.
Natural Hair Is Unprofessional
In the workplace, it is what is in your head that counts or should count. With all hair textures, there are styles considered professional and styles that just aren’t. For instance, Hot Pink hair in any formal establishment is just odd.
BUT your hair isn’t unprofessional SIMPLY BECAUSE it’s kinky. This is how you were made so who is to tell you that your hair just being itself is unprofessional? In essence, you were born unprofessional? Where were you naturally born to work then? See how this doesn’t make any sense? So many rules exist in this world and you just have to sometimes ask yourself why. Who makes these rules?
I haven’t started working yet and I hope it won’t be a problem. Here’s what I do when confronted though, I educate people where necessary, because these attitudes need to change.
For some people, natural is all they’ve known and even if it isn’t, going back comes naturally. If you’re like me, you’re probably beginning to see how or why I consider this a journey. It’s a journey, one of our many life’s journeys, but you can get to your destination- happy healthy woman with your happy healthy natural hair.
So my lovelies. I’ve shared 6 of my fears with you and how I got over them. Care to share yours? YOU KNOW YOU ARE GOING TO GET OVER! 🙂
As always, I love to hear from you! Leave your questions or comments in the comments section- or email me: firstname.lastname@example.org
We press on tomorrow!