Over the years I’ve been asked so many inquisitive questions about my hair and natural way of living. People want to know when it all started, why it all started, and how I keep it going. For too long I’ve thought that with all of these naturals sprouting up my story isn’t needed, but I realize that there’s only one me that someone can identify with and that me, is the only one who can tell my story appropriately. Let be start by saying this…
For years African-American women have had complexes about their hair. At young ages we began relaxing (or “perming” — a culturally misused synonymic) our hair to make it more manageable or presentable (whatever that means) to our counterparts. Straight was deemed as better. Hang time a bonus. I began thinking about my hair and realizing that I knew nothing about its natural state. I was the girl constantly relaxing my hair and making appointments to relax everybody elses smh.
While studying Business at SDSU (Woot! Woot!), I took an Africana Studies course to fulfill a prerequisite and quickly fell in love with the subject. Every day I went to class I felt like I was learning something new about me, and low-key upset with the timing (but it’s all good). You can imagine how easy it was for that 1 course to turn into 2, 3, 4, 5…and before I knew it, I was minoring in Africana Studies. I developed a strong sense of pride for my heritage, but more importantly, a strong understanding and appreciation for all who have gone before me. I was disturbed with an overflow of facts. I was a free-spirit learning the depth of my people’s bondage; my bondage. I was disturbed that they couldn’t freely be themselves in allll fashions and realized the area of hair was still one lingering. I wanted to express my freedom and love me, inside and out. I wanted to know how Nu’s hair looked. I wanted to know if Nu needed that creamy crack (aka relaxer). I wanted to show other races who has been in their presence all along, and who’s not leaving. And so, in 2005, I decided to “go natural”. I didn’t big chop, I just transitioned, straightened, rocked braids, etc…and the struggle was reaaaaal! 😉
I battled the doubts, the dandruff, the tangles, the breakage all by my lonesome. Then 4 years later, there were others like me, learning their hair and calling it naturally beautiful. I was excited for us all. But shoot, it’s about time y’all showed up! haha
Most naturals you meet will tell you that once you become serious about your “natural hair journey”, as many will call it, the journey at some point no longer becomes about hair, but about your health. That same energy is transferred throughout all parts of your life. If you can stay up late and twist, invest in products to maintain, then maybe you can stay up late and work out that issue with your spouse too. But I’m just saying!
So yea, that’s pretty much it. Today, I still can’t braid, I still don’t know it all, and I’m still learning as I go, but I’m free, and enjoying every minute of it, naturally…me.