Going Natural and What it Really Means To Me

My fellow CT comrades have shared their opinions and perspectives about their natural experience, but I realized that I had yet to share mine. If you don’t know, I am still transitioning, seven months in and still going. I am just entering the difficult phase of transitioning- the hair shedding, the dryness, the making hairstyles up out of your a$$ phase. Over the course of six years, I’ve tried transitioning twice before this and I hope that the phrase, third time is the charm, is indeed true.

The first time I transitioned was in college. As many college transitioners will tell you, I transitioned because I couldn’t find a decent stylist to do my hair and I was broke. Back then, blogs weren’t as popular as they are now and the YouTube videos weren’t in abundance. The second time was still in college, but due to me getting permanent color, the inevitable damage occurred, so I went down the transition road again. By this time, the natural hair community and more information began to have a presence online and forums like Nappturality and Fotki and sites such as Curly Nikki clued me in a bit on the basic stuff. I held on for a while until an event came around and that creamy crack got the best of me.

Fast forward a few years and with the help and support of all my natural friends, the endless amount of information online, I got this thing in the bag. My transition has been, as expected, met with opposition. I still catch my mother, who insisted that even though she pressed her hair back in the ‘70s she wasn’t “natural,” throwing up side-eyes on the low when I walk pass her time to time. While my grandmother is more understanding surprisingly than my mother, she sometimes ask when I plan to get it straightened again.  

Sometimes I hear others refer to this as a “trend,” thinking that ultimately we all will revert back to relaxers at some point. Truth be told, I never said I am completely giving up the relaxer forever, who knows, one day I might do a Jill Scott and throw it back in. The point is, those in our community shouldn’t look at this with cynicism and skepticism.  There is something autonomous, powerful and sometimes rebellious in embracing something that for centuries has been looked at as unattractive, inferior and unworthy by most cultures, including our own. When I see women walking down the street with the afros, twist-outs and locs, there is apart of me that feels, (without being too cheesy), proud. With that being said, why put us down because we want to know what our natural hair textures feel and look like without being manipulated by Motions and Affirm. Hair in general has always been that common thread for black women when it comes to camaraderie and fellowship. It’s probably the most frequent topic that brings strangers together. Yet, there’s apart of me that feels that with natural hair, there aren’t as many secrets withheld for fear of being less exclusive. I see that women in the natural hair community are more supportive and forthcoming, willing to share their tips, tricks and products to use. I suppose that is because natural hair is like DNA, no one can get an exact copy. No one can go into the beauty supply store and buy my exact hair texture, and to me, that is the beauty of natural hair.

What are your transitioning stories? Are you thinking about going natural? What is holding you back? Also, are there any women reading this who are relaxed? What are your thoughts?

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