At the time of writing this, I have been natural for almost three years. If we could go back in time and ask me, “Will you ever stop relaxing your hair?” my answer would have been “No way!” I remember running my fingers through my armpit length natural hair thinking, “It’s so smooth and silky.” Then I would go to the natural roots and think, “Eugh! It’s so tough and unmanageable.” Across black hair care forums were photos of women with waist length relaxed hair. This fascinated me after so many years of believing the myth that black women’s hair cannot grow long…but after a while the fascination wore off.
It was then that I started to notice natural women with waist length hair and beyond. Of course I had so many reasons not to join them on their natural journey. My hair was too thick, it grew too slowly, it was unmanageable, my head was too big to have short hair, I wouldn’t be able to comb it, etc.
Until one evening when a pair of scissors called out my name. I snipped a little hair off the front and thought, “No way! My head will look HUGE if I have short hair.” Two days later, I cut it all off. I know, I know…it was not planned. I kept snipping to get a better image of what I’d look like natural, but when I did stop it was too late. Half my hair had gone.
The next day I woke up and my jaw dropped when I looked in the mirror. I’d actually done it! I was holding my relaxed hair in my hands. It didn’t look as amazing as it had before. I held up the hair and the straightness started to look alien to me. I didn’t like that hair anymore.
The reactions from others ranged from ‘Did you cut your hair?” to “It looks nice” to “Oh my God! She f-ing cut her hair off!” My parents were shocked too, but supportive.
The beginning was hard because I had to find products that suited my curly/coily/kinky hair. At times it was dry, but patience and time brought the right products to me. Now I LOVE my hair! When I was younger, I hated my hair. I wanted hair like my biracial friends, and I’d often put a scarf on my head and pretend it was my ‘Indian hair’. Now I take comfort in that my daughter will not go through that as well, and I wish the same for your daughter too. It’ll be hard with so many images in the media promoting straight hair that flows in the wind, but the future is bright.