I have been on a natural hair journey for three years now. I was a slave to the creamy crack since 9th grade. Old childhood pictures show a young girl with a head full of hair. By the end of my first year permed, my hair withered to a depressing state. Not only was it difficult for my hair to grow past my shoulders once permed but it was also difficult to keep edges in the front and back from breaking off. No amount of deep conditioning did the trick. Through my college years I went through a myriad of bobs. Long, short, with bangs and without. As years past I wanted to do something different to my hair but could never figure just what would make me feel like ME. I began seeing more Sistas with their hair natural or in locs. The more I saw it the more I wanted to experience my natural beauty. What was stopping me? The same thing that runs through mind of many black women.
- I don’t know what my hair looks like without a perm and that terrifies me!!!
- My family and friends will think I am weird
- My significant other wont find it attractive
- I don’t know how to use a hot comb if I want it straight
- I will end up a hermit in thehouse during the summer months because natural hair and humidity are not friends
- How will it affect my employment because permed hair is deemed more professional?
- Will the attention I get make me even more insecure of the choice made?
I went back and forth playing with the idea to stop perming my hair for two years. I went through the pregnancy of my daughter with no touch up for 11 months. That was my first glimpse of my hair in its natural texture and it looked ok, but of course I gave in. I headed to the local Dominican Salon as fast as I could the Friday before I had to return to work from maternity leave. Fast forward to the following year. I went without a perm for 8 months this time. I kept my hair in ponytails and did the water and grease thing for the new grow needing to be tamed.
I went to the Dominican Salon one day to have my hair washed and blown straight. The stylist was adamant about perming my hair. Although many of these Sisters have similar hair textures as Black women all she wanted to do was perm and roller set my hair. I felt embarrassed, insecure and just plain ole tired of the struggle she and I were having in front of all the freshly permed lovelies in the salon under the dryer. I gave in and got it permed. Two hours later, my hair looked fabulous but I felt like a punk!!!!! I betrayed myself by doing what someone else wanted for ME. That was April of 2008 and that was my LAST perm. 🙂
I transitioned for a year and in April of 2009, I found a Dominican Salon that not only did permed and natural hair BUT the owner’s hair was very close in texture to my own and she proudly wore her curly fros every day. I happily sat in her chair and let her cut out my perm. I was finally FREE. No more burning scalp. No more extra dry scalp. No more scalding heat on my scalp. No more worries about the rain or the humidity. Going natural was such a freeing experience. I slowly began to fall in love with myself all over again. Kinda like the little girls that look in the mirror and play dress up and dance for no one at all. LOLOLOL. Just free and happy.
A journey to the beauty supply store was now like a trip to the toy store. I was eager to learn how to care for my hair in its new state. Hours were spent (and still are) watching YouTube natural hair journeys. Not only are these clips informative but they are oh sooooooo motivating and inspiring. I successfully maintained my own hair for two years but there was something else happening to me. I slowly noticed that I was becoming more and more inspired by loc’d Sistas.
For the first time I could see the true beauty of locs and the versatility one has with styling them. All of a sudden it seemed that there were loc’d Sistas at every turn. Short and curly. Bob styles with funky colors. Long and flowing goddess locs. ALL were beautiful to me and I knew that it was something I would eventually transition into. I needed to build up the courage once again because it’s another drastic change. YouTube again became (and still is) my inspiration from watching all of the loc journey videos. I still had that same questions in my mind though. What will folks say??
- Girl, WHY did you do THAT to your hair?
- You look like a boy!!!
- I don’t like em, they look like worms.
- You can’t wash your hair when you have em right?
- Why do you want to continue being nappy?
- Girl, I thought you were just going through a phase, now I see you’re just crazy.
LOLOL. I was not just scared to take this step, I was SKERD!!!!! LOLOL. BUT, I took the leap in January of 2011. I have not looked back since. I LOVE my locs and I am enjoying every phase. The frizz, the retwisting, the scalp oiling and most importantly, the washing. LOL. I got my hair comb coiled by a professional but since then I care for my own hair and I must say I do a damn good job!!! 🙂
I loaded up at the beauty supply store and now have a hair care arsenal in my bathroom. I wash my locs every two weeks but as the summer month approach I might have to do it every week. There are some that say not to wash them as often as I do until I am completely loc’d. Here is my answer to that. Every one must be comfortable with their own routine. I personally cannot take my hair and scalp being dirty past two weeks. As long as you are moisturizing, oiling your scalp, being gentle and attentive, your locs will be just fine. Trust me. I have no complaints yet and I will be at my three month mark on April 11, 2011.
So, for all of those still sitting on the fence. I hope that this blog post acts as a bit of inspiration for you to overcome your fear. This is of course for YOU. Your appreciation of your natural beauty will peak and then you will notice that all of those fears will mysteriously fade away. I walk outside with my hair uncovered without a second thought. As long as it is clean and well-kept, let em look. I guarantee many more will be admiring your locs than you think. 😉