By: La Truly
Seems like everyone is on this “curly girly,” “happy to be nappy,” “creamy crack is wack” wave, right? And when I say everybody, I do mean EVERYBODY. Celebrities who we were so SURE were relaxing their tresses are coming out of the woodwork, shedding what were actually weaves and wigs, letting their Natural kinks and curls out. Your bestie since middle school who for years, faithfully visited the beautician’s chair has suddenly BIG CHOPPED leaving you intrigued or confused or even possibly annoyed. You start wondering and researching. Am I missing out on some big secret? What is this hair movement really all about? If I wanted to start (not saying that I do) how would I start?
Relax. There are different strokes for different folks. There is no one big reason why people go Natural. The truth is that everyone decides to go Natural for very different reasons at very different stages in their lives. Even though on the surface it may seem like there’s one big army of fro-wearers seeking to take over the world for their sulfate-free cause. Just pause for a moment. Really ask yourself WHY going Natural would benefit you. If any of the following answers comes up I would strongly urge you to reconsider:
1. Everyone else is doing it.
People think this feeling goes away once you reach adulthood (Whenever that is. Somebody let me know). But the truth is sometimes it only gets worse. Instead of Tamagotchis and pogs (I’m pretty sure I just dated myself) now you want the Louboutins and Vegas vacations like everyone else. The lifestyles that look so good on others, often become our craving. Other people can sometimes make us feel as though we’re inadequate, like our life is just not as full as theirs if we’re not doing what they’re doing, going where they’re going. WRONG. ALL WRONG. If that is your reasoning behind going Natural, then give it not another thought. You’ll kick yourself six months in when the new growth REALLY starts to appear and looks nothing like your relaxed ends. There will be nothing to motivate you to keep pressing forward. Wanting to be like everyone else who is Natural will not be enough motivation to keep holding on. Trust me, the girl who transitioned three separate times. Everything really ain’t for everybody and succumbing to peer pressure ain’t EEM the business.
2. Someone else told you it’s the healthiest way to care for your hair.
Now while I do agree that ridding MY hair of any chemicals has been one of the best/healthiest decisions I’ve made for my hair during my adult life — I DO KNOW quite a few young women of color who have BEAUTIFUL PROCESSED HAIR. Yeah, I said it because it’s true. Some of the thickest, healthiest hair I’ve seen has been on the heads of friends who enjoy their relaxers. YOU have to find what works best for YOUR hair. Relaxers aren’t the devil. They’re only destructive if you don’t take care of your chemically-treated hair properly. Do your research, touch your own hair, get to know what it feels like, what it responds to. What feels, looks and IS healthy to you?
3. You want to look exactly like your hair role model.
You won’t. You will not. That I can promise you. When I first started my Natural hair journey you couldn’t tell me that within one year my hair wasn’t going to look exactly like Tracee Ellis Ross’s. I can LOL at that now but it was heart-breaking when I first realized that that was a dream that would never come true. Everyone’s hair is different. Get used to it. If you don’t think you can learn to love your hair EXACTLY HOW IT GROWS OUT OF YOUR SCALP… Then, going Natural will only vex and frustrate you unless you learn to find the beauty in it.
4. You want to be different.
That’s lame. So many people are going Natural now that it’s becoming the norm. So, pick something else to set you apart because if that’s your one and only reason, you’re thinking of yourself in terms of everyone else and not WHAT WORKS FOR YOU (we keep coming back to that theme, huh?) You’ll soon lose the patience it takes to maintain your mane if ‘being different from everyone else’ is all you’re clinging to. You want to be different? Rock a buzz cut.
5. You want to solidify your ‘Blackness.’
Don’t EVER let anyone back you into this sad little corner. The potency of your heritage doesn’t lie in physical characteristics. The kinkier your hair, the more Black you are? GET OUT OF HERE. YOU define WHO you are. Nothing and no one else does. The incredible thing about being a woman of color, whether Black, Latina, whatever – is that there is such a wide range of colors, shapes, sizes, hair textures, eye colors, features… Rocking a ‘fro won’t make you any more Black just like bleaching your skin won’t make you Caucasian.
It’s not up to everyone else’s opinions or research. It’s about what you want for yourself. Do your own research. Try things out on your own. Experiment. At the end of the day you’re the one who has to live with yourself. So you love you whether you’re Natural, relaxed, ‘fro’d out, or bald. The hair doesn’t make you. YOU do.
La Truly is a late-blooming Aries whose writing is powered by a lifetime of anecdotal proof that awkward can transform to awesome and fear can cast its crown before courage. Armed with the ability to purposefully poke fun at herself, La seeks to encourage thought, discussion and change through her writing. Check her out on her blog: www.hersoulinc.com and Twitter: @AshleyLaTruly.