My natural hair highs and lows!
When I was a little girl, every Sunday was the day I would get my hair done by my mother. This was our tradition until I turned eight. When I was in second grade, I got my first relaxer. I felt elated because all my favorite actresses on tv had straight hair. As the years went by, I had my hair either braided or straightened.
Once I entered high school, I noticed that my hair started breaking off. I will be honest and say I was very lazy when it came to taking care of my hair. I did not know that having a relaxer required such maintenance, and on top of that I was too lazy to wrap my hair at night which also contributed to the breakage. When I was seventeen, I decided to stop relaxing my hair and my natural hair journey began. When I entered college, I mainly kept my hair in braids because I did not know what to do with my hair, but that changed when I met this naturalista at the age of twenty! I was in awe of her hair. It was gorgeous and she always had a new style. we became fast friends and she put me on to different videos and products. I decided to cut the rest of my permed ends off and officially start my natural hair journey!
All through college I experimented with different hairstyles and even decided to dye it! In the beginning it did not look the best, but I eventually got the hang of it. I loved coming up with new hairstyles, and meeting with other naturalistas in my dorm because we could bounce off ideas off one another and recommend new products to each other as well. With my hair I felt confident and pretty, and I loved when others complimented my crown as well. When I turned twenty-one, I decided to straighten my hair to do a length check. I noticed that I received more compliments from people I had seen every day, and it felt like they were seeing my beauty for the first time. I heard various comments that rubbed me the wrong way, but one that stood out to me was when a “friend” looked at me and said, “you know what, Chineze is actually really pretty”, and it stung because what was I before? Many of my friends stated that they liked my natural hair but preferred when it was straightened.
After graduating college, I entered corporate America. I lived and hour from work, and I was sometimes too lazy to style my hair, so I started braiding my hair more and would style it about once a month. After about a year, I started experimenting with wigs which came in handy. During my mid-twenties I have primarily worn my hair in either wigs or braids. When I turned twenty-five, I noticed that I had a bald spot in my hair. I cannot be too shocked because I never let my hair rest. I would braid my hair, then after taking my braids down I would get my hair plaited for my wig. I decided to take a break from wigs and hair braiding to focus on taking care my natural hair. I went back to my stylist and we experimented with many different natural hairstyles. I had my hair in various styles and decided to straighten it three months later. With my natural hair I felt pretty, but when it was straightened, I felt absolutely gorgeous and others seemed to feel the same way. Suddenly the old feelings from college started coming back.
One day, I was deep in my thoughts and had and uncomfortable conversation with myself. I liked my natural hair, but I loved how I felt with my hair straightened and in wigs. I think the reason I feel that way is because I know how people receive me when my hair is straightened versus when it is in its natural state. Growing up I was the mousy kid who was known for being hilarious, but not really for my beauty. I have probably internalized how others perceived me with my straight hair which is why I wear wigs and straighten it now. It is a bit embarrassing to admit because I feel as though I am regressing. I can honestly say I love myself, but I am trying not to become to consumed with how people around me view me with my natural hair. It is a process, but acknowledging my truth is the first step to unlearning.