Going natural never even crossed my mind. All the women I knew had relaxers or wore their hair straight, so when I say it never entered my mind to wear my hair in its natural state, I sincerely meant it.
Until my sister opened my oblivious eyes to this world of natural hair, I had no idea that there were hundreds of thousands of Black women throwing out the perm and wearing their natural hair! She told me to look on YouTube and once I seen all these African American women with long, curly, kinky hair; like the hair I never allowed to grow from my scalp for more than three months or so before I would get a perm slapped on it. Hair similar to that, was freely growing out of these ladies’ scalps and being showcased to the world, and to me, for the first time. Some were just getting started with a small afro, while others were years into the natural hair journey. There were women with hair reaching passed shoulder length, passed bra strap length and beyond waist length! I could not believe my eyes or my mind! It was unusual for me to see Black women with hair that long and it be real! Not only real but afro textured; natural! I was excited and anxious, but also upset!
You mean to tell me that the reason my hair never reached passed my shoulders was because of a RELAXER? You mean I was in the endless cycle of “perming, roots growing out, trimming ends?” No wonder my hair was same length all those years! I never gave it a chance! Every time it grew, I damaged it with a perm and then cut the damaged ends. How silly of me to believe that one day my hair would grow down my back if I continued this cycle. But I did, faithfully, for years and years because nobody told me otherwise.
“You should go natural.” That’s what my sister said to me. I thought about it, considered it and once I decided to do it, it changed everything. It didn’t take much convincing for me. I had already gone about 6 months without a perm, which was longer than usual (only because I found a really good flat iron), so I decided then that I would do it. I was not getting another relaxer put into my hair.
During the transition period, I got a semi chop, cutting a lot of my relaxed hair off, but not all. My plan was to go a year without perming before I cut the straight, relaxed ends off. I didn’t quite make it that long. After several months, I was still using heat and I had just flat ironed my hair for what would be the last time while having relaxed ends, and…
It rained! My hair was a mess! Puffy roots and straight ends, I can’t even think of a character to compared myself with. I knew one thing; I was done! I went home and asked my mom to cut the rest of my relaxed hair off. She looked at me, eyes big, and I am sure she understood why just by looking at my countenance. So later that day, we got to work and that was June, 2010. I had my last perm December, 2009. It is now August 2013 and I am proud to say that I have been natural ever since and don’t plan to ever return to the bondage of a perm. No longer am I afraid when it rains, no more of the “perm, grow, trim” cycle, no more do I feel like I need a perm for my hair to be beautiful, or for ME to be beautiful or presentable. I find beauty in my natural hair. It’s funny because I always prided myself in being 100% real, so much that I made a keychain in high school to describe me as being such. I wore my real nails, no make up, real lashes, and real hair, but even though it was my real hair, it wasn’t 100% real because it was chemically processed to be straight. But I struggled through the transition period, passed the TWA (teenie weenie afro) stage and now have some length to work with. So now when I wear my key chain, I truly am 100% real and it feels great! I’m confident and free. I am NATURAL!
Written by TheLaydi1
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