The birth of my 1st daughter was the spark that ignited my return to my natural root. It may sound simple but I was in awe at the sight of her silky-soft coils. My hair was first relaxed around the age of
3 years old so I did not know much about black hair in its natural state. As the weeks turned into months and I noticed my little one watching me more intently during make up applications and hair curling/washing etc. It dawned on me that I would be her 1st standard of beauty. Wow! What a huge
responsibility. I realized that soon she would want her hair to flow down her back and blow in the wind just like Mommy’s. For the first time I was forced to deal with MY HAIR ISSUES.
I remember being dropped off at a little yellow hair shop in Jacksonville, North Carolina. The woman seemed nice enough, she smiled at me and helped my toddler sized body into a salon chair. Before long she said in a grandiose voice, ” Whew, this baby’s hair sure is knotty.” I left the shop that day with straight hair and a broken spirit. I now realize I have to do better by my own children than those before me. As the years passed I realized my self-esteem was tied to my hair. If it wasn’t bone straight I didn’t feel pretty.
I asked myself why had I relaxed my hair every 4-6 weeks for the last 26 years. I could only think of lame reasons like: I always had, it would be “knotty” if I didn’t , or I wouldn’t know what to do with it. After
realizing that I had no good reason for altering what God thought was beautiful, I knew I had to begin the inward change of loving, appreciating, and respecting the real me. Once that personal challenge had begun it was easy to move forward with the outward change.
How did your family and friends react to your decision?
Most of my family did not approve of my decision to “go natural”. My oldest sister was the only exception and has recently gone natural as well. Once I had made up my mind to go natural I did not care what anyone had to say. My Dad would touch my afro and say things like, “you’re killing me”. My mother was upset because she feared she would never see my hair straight and long again. As time went on they eventually started to come around. My Dad now showers me with compliment when I wear my blow out style.
My Mom buys holiday cards featuring women with afro’s or naturals and she only buys dolls for my daughter that mirror natural textures. A lot of the same friends that I shared jars of relaxer with in my college dorm days have also decided to let go of the stigma that kinky hair is bad hair and they too have embraced their natural textures.
Describe your cleansing and styling routine.
When I wear my curly wash and go ‘fro I condition my hair daily with Kinky Curly Knot Today conditioner, apply Kinky Curly Curling Custard, give it a light picking, and finish with a head band or decorative hair pins. I wash my hair once a week with Kinky Curly Shampoo.
What have you learned about yourself since opting to go natural?
I feel free to do all the things I didn’t do before because I didn’t want to mess up the hair I had just dropped 120 bills on. Water sports, working out, and playing in the rain with my daughter are a few of the things I love to do. Going natural has simplified my life as I no longer feel enslaved to my hair. The for the first time in my life I see that I truly am not my hair. I guess India Arie was on to something! Life my friends is good!
Are you happy with your natural hair texture?
I love, love, love it!!!
If your daughters want to relax their hair will you allow it? What will you say to guide them in the right direction?
My goal is to build my daughters self-esteem and self-worth. I tell the oldest often that I love her hair and that it is beautiful. I hope both my girls will always wear natural hair. However, if when they are 15 or 16 years of age and they want to relax it I will allow them to find their own way hoping their relaxer phase does not last too long as mine did. LOL.