Today is my one month anniversary! Four weeks ago, I stood in front of my bathroom mirror with a pair of scissors and snipped, or chopped most of my hair off. It wasn’t because of a style going horribly wrong, and I didn’t get a wad of gum stuck in it either. I had decided that it was time for me to really embrace my natural hair. Around the world more and more women with afro textured hair are setting aside the relaxers and flat irons and “going natural”.
There are many arguments for and against it, but I felt that as well as being a challenge (I have VERY thick, corse coils) it would also force me to think about my own personal views on beauty.
I’ve always had a bit of a love-hate relationship with my hair. Growing up, I used to dread washing it and then sitting for a couple hours to get cornrows for school. I got my first relaxer at 10 years old. I fiddled with it and styled it daily for school as a teenager. I cut it. I wore weaves. I wore braids. I even dyed some of it blonde (biggest hair mistake of all time!). With all of this I never tried, or even wanted to try dealing with my natural texture.
Then about 2 years ago, I really got into hair care. I decided to relax my hair and officially start my healthy hair journey. I did huge amounts of research online, joined hair care forums and went a bit crazy with hair products. I finally knew what I was doing and my hair was the healthiest it had ever been. I learned about co-washing, deep conditioning, protein treatments (my hair doesn’t like them very often) and the use of oils.
Eventually I came to dislike the fact that after all that effort, on relaxer day, I left the salon with hair that was lovely and healthy…… but so straight it felt like I had no hair on my head! I got to love the feeling of my new growth (something that I was taught to fear/hide/straighten) and how thick it was. Now don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against relaxed hair (I’m not one of those “stay away from the creamy crack” people) but I felt it was time for me to do something different.
There are common arguments against going natural that include:
- When you big chop (cut off relaxed ends) you don’t look feminine or “pretty”
- Natural hair is too hard to care for
- Your hair looks “nappy”
- You don’t have many styling options
- My boyfriend/ husband/ partner prefers long hair
- guys/ girls won’t find me attractive anymore
It’s these things that made me think… So what?! I have insecurities just like the next person, but it was high time I confronted some of them. For ages I had been hiding behind my hair and without it, I had to accept myself and rock my new look with pride.
I’ll be honest and say that the morning after I bog chopped, I had a “what have I done?” moment and shed a few tears because I looked so different (a week before I had super long box braids) and felt I’d lost something. I have good hair days (I love a twist out) and bad ones (scarf/head-wrap to the rescue) and that’s fine. Cutting my hair didn’t kill me and I know, even in a small way, it has made me a little stronger.
The most important thing isn’t so much that may hair grows back quickly (though that would be nice) it’s that I come to love all of me. With or without hair. I hope to have children one day, and if I ever did have a daughter I would want her to remember mummy loving her curly, kinky, coily hair, that way she will too.