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December 9, 2009

For the Transitioners!

Naturally Leslie's back, and this time she's looking out for the transitioning divas!


Well... not just the transitioners. But the reason I say this is because a lot of people either on the fence about transitioning or already in the process still feel very unsure about what their natural hair will be like, look like, feel like, etc. If you have spent many years of your life using chemicals to alter your hair texture, it can be very scary to go from straight to curly, kinky, coily and nappy (all wonderful textures IMO!). It is so easy to go back to a relaxer or perm if you feel unattractive, unaccepted, rejected, or unprofessional.

The key is all about getting to the "root" of the issue. I think understanding the history behind WHY we grew up thinking our hair was bad or unmanageable is key to self acceptance in the natural journey forward. For me personally, I have been natural so long that I honestly cannot remember what my permed hair felt like. I went natural right out of HS so I have always ONLY had jobs with my natural hair. Any serious boyfriend/husband (brief stint with marriage, that's another post) I have had has only known me with natural hair. Even still, there are times when I feel intimidated to be out in public with my fro all huge. It is not easy to be the only person in the room whose hair stands straight up when others' hair lays down flat. I think it takes guts to walk down the street with your halo of fuzzy froliciousness! Natural is a journey and not a destination.

There will always be new things to learn about your hair. In the process, you learn a lot about yourself. You also learn a lot about the people in your life. I guess the bottom line is you have to be prepared to be different, stand out, get looks and stares from strangers. But that's ok. It builds confidence, especially if you are a person who is shy and does not like to be the center of attention. Ok, so on to what I really wanted to share with you. This is an article I read by Djehuty Ma'at-Ra of DHerbs.com. It's pretty cool and addresses African American history, texture, products, hair science, self esteem, consumerism and more. It's long but I thought it was interesting to read, even after 10 years of being natural. I really think it is a positive piece for those interested in reshaping their thinking and that applies to anyone, no matter how long the journey. I DON'T AGREE WITH EVERYTHING HE SAYS but overall I like the main points. So click here to get to the article. Here are some highlights:

"Basically, without being made conscious of the texture of their hair as being some wicked curse stemming from the fictitious Biblical Ham character, or some mark of sin placed on Africans from God Almighty, or a defect on God's part while making the African, Africans/African-Americans would not have the hang-ups on their hair (and other facial characteristics and physical anomalies, e.g. dark skin, broad nose, thick and protruding lips, large posterior or butt) that many of them have today which has led to the exploitation of such sentiment with the creation of a hair care industry that reaps hundreds of millions of dollars that don't see any of that money returning to the communities where most Black women live in the form of beauty school scholarships and inner city beauty pageants."

"African hair is manageable depending upon our diet, how we feel about ourselves (including our hair) or self-image, and our thinking or thoughts. This is something I have discovered through personal experience."
"Black people (and every other race of people, for that matter) - ACCEPT YOUR OWN and BE YOURSELF! God made you perfect just the way you are. All you have to do is just take care of (maintain) what you have."
What do you think? Would this have helped you during your transition?

15 Chime in!:

Anonymous said...

This article is the truth. I bc'd in June & 99% of the people react to my hair negatively, and their simple solution is to throw lava... I mean perm on it. Its been hard since this isn't my 1st attempt at going natural. I've shed plenty of tears over my hair it has kept me from getting jobs, promotions, coworkers make foolish comments because its natural. What is the most hurtful is the fact that most of the negativity comes from people of my race. My last run with creamy crack made my luscious Oprah-like hair shed like a neglected cat I refuse to give in again for fear of spending my future trapped in a wig.

Anonymous said...

As for the first paragraph, this Video is the Truth (the first 5 - 10 minutes may make the video seem uninteresting but keep watching, your view on who you are will change for the better)
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-2762010013788438774#

I think most of black insecurities steem from whites taunting and making us feel less beautiful than what we are. This being said over and over again blinded blacks of their beauty. Whites had/have the means to make themselves beautiful, thus outshining natural beauties (we see this today, do a side by side picture of yourself, one with nice clothes groomed hair and make up and the next not dressed well hair is not groomed properly and no makeup for some there is not much difference for others it's a transformation.) Today, all have the means to make themselves beautiful. But it has come to the extreme, with too much makeup, enhanced and plastic body parts. Love yourself, Love you, Love your difference and what makes you beautiful.

KeetaRay said...

The last paragraph ("Black people (and every other race of people, for that matter) - ACCEPT YOUR OWN and BE YOURSELF! God made you perfect just the way you are. All you have to do is just take care of (maintain) what you have.") sticks out to me the most. I don't understand why "we" can't just be happy in our own skin. :(

I haven't gotten many negative comments - I can count them on one hand, so I guess I am one of the lucky ones. But, to my surprise, a lot of people of OTHER races love my hair more than people of my own race, which is strange to me. It really is all about changing your mindset, and realizing that God didn't make a mistake when He created us. We are "perfect", just as we are.

Anonymous said...

This is the TRUTH! Very well stated!

NappySince10/01/08 said...

I too dont agree with everything. There's nothing fictitious about the Word of God. Im sick of ppl taking Christianity out of African history. We were not all "heathens" before being dragged to the Americas. Nappy is a derogatory word meaning "sh*tty" but I've never seen myself and my blackness as a curse, or anything to be ashamed of. Some of us have taken that word as a sarcastic compliment, and as we've historically done since being in America: took the "bad" and wore it with honor only to inspire in the end... Unfortunately black ppl have made themselves feel inferior... I dont wanna rant and go deeper b/c I'll go all day. I do like that he let's transitioners/inquirers know not to feed into this propaganda that we should look anything unlike how God has intended for us to look... We've been conditioned for too long and many still don't get it. Leslie, I feel intimidated sometimes in believing that I'm intimidating others lol b/c sometimes I know I am. People always think that we're making a political statement when really I just want to be myself. I can honestly say that since the end of 2008 I love the Lord more because He truly never fails. Now it is up to me to re-learn about what I've been given. It's been a year and I still feel like a newbie lol. This is a fun journey though and Im not alone it. That's what makes it so damn cool ;)

Anonymous said...

I too have learned to embrace the hair God has given me. I know natural is not for everyone and I still like straight and silky as well as big and curly. I've been transitioning for a year and a half. I've had long hair for most of my life so I decided not to BC. I washed my hair the other day and it was so tangled I was almost in tears! I kept saying, "I won't go back to the creamy crack, I won't go back to the creamy crack." LOL. Come to find out (thanks to Nikki) I absolutely cannot go more than a few days without washing my hair. I really want to learn to love my hair. It's teaching me to be patient and disciplined. You HAVE to stick to a routine and maintain your natural curls. This is something I never did with a relaxer.

Anonymous said...

A very interesting read!

ME said...

That was a really bad article. It was poorly written and lacked much fact. The author seems to be too concerned about hair, especially for a man...

Hair is just hair. Some have it and some don't. I used to used this site until I noticed that it is not a positive site and it is filled woth alot more option than real fact (like vitamins to make your hair grow...)

NappySince10/01/08 said...

I finally got the patience to read the article and I can now say that I do agree with most of what was written. The intent was a good one. The above exerpt ticked me off a bit and I almost didnt read the whole thing. I still stand firm w/ my 1st comment but wanted to come back so that I dont sound so sour about it when indeed it was an interesting read.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the article. There are so many of us that believe we are somehow cursed when we are really the Blessed. I am a transitioner and I've been so tempted to return to the relaxer because I don't feel attractive. My hair is straight on the ends and nappy at the roots...although I must confess, I really like the nappy hair the most. My husband keeps trying to help me find a sytlist or style which makes me really feel insecure about my hair. Why would he try to help unless he too wanted something more attractive?

Anonymous said...

I am in the beginning of my journey as a natural sister. I am scared but excited also because this is something that I have been wanting to do for a long time. Fear of acceptance crippled me from doing so. I am happy that I am at peace with myself in knowing that I am beautiful in the sight of God and that is all who matters to me. We are created in the image of Him so why should I be worried about any other circumstances? Having said that, I am ready for the transitioning and will take pictures during this beautiful journey back to myself. Thanks for this wonderful site. It is well needed.

Anonymous said...

I wan to say that I am always disappointed to see that as black people, we are still dominated by the hegemony through the way we chose to express our spirituality. It is impossible to delve into analyzing the "root" causes of our hair dilemma without looking at the history of slavery, colonization, consumerism, etc. I have just did the BC and Fotki was a huge inspiring tool that got me over the fear, but in my search of other sisters in my situation, I can't help but notice how we link our hair to God, to how were were created in "His" image. I can't help by reject the form of spirituality that that comes in form of organized religion and that was imposed on our ancestors back hundreds of years ago and that we take without questioning. It implies that before contact with Europeans, were heathens and soul-less savages that needed spiritual healing and enlightenment from our European "civilized" counterparts. I watched some documentaries about early anthropologists and explorers going into Africa and teaching "the Word of God" to "savages". I was appalled. So, for the sisters here worried about their new nappy hair being intimidating, well it is. And it should be. For me, it is political. I don't do it to feel sexy, or look cute. I do it because I reject mass consumption of cosmetics or aesthetics. That is political. Everything is political. Many people fail to see this. Unfortunately. I picked on religion because I am just disappointed at us blacks still regurgitating passed down ideas of spirituality. I am still looking for a debate space that I can relate to. Our ancestors were strong spiritual beings. We need to take pride in that. I also reject the idea of creationism (many keep saying that we were "created" in the image of God), at least, not in the language it is usually discussed. If we are going to be emancipated critical thinkers, yes it may start with hair, we need to break away from whatever beliefs that have been shoved upon us, whatever forms they may come under.

Anonymous said...

I'm a bit late on this one but I attempted to read that article (too much garbage; couldn't finish it). I could see its relevance in the beginning, but the whole you have nappy, unmanagable hair because you're negative was a bit too much for me. So now the texture of your hair is a state of mind? And I was actually kind of offended by the whole putting horse hair in your head and linking that to people's sexual behavior. What part of that article was supposed to be uplifting as positive for a black woman? I get a bit tired of the whole 'black vs white' thing. There is no right or wrong; just be you and be HAPPY. Maybe I'm missing the bigger picture, but I think if we stopped worrying so much about pleasing the world and start doing what truly makes you as an individual happy we'd do just fine.

Dawn said...

The problem I have had with transitioning is reading different forums and blogs and people constantly assuming that people relax their hair because they aren't happy with how they look or ashamed of their natural texture of hair or even worse that their hair isn't healthy. It feels in a way like naturals are looking down on people who choose not to be natural which is the same thing as naturals not wanting to be looked down on because of their hair care choice. While this may be true for some this is not always the case for others. I have always been proud of my hair texture no matter what. I love my curls and I love my straight relaxed hair equally and I think we should be uplifting people regardless because hair is beautiful no matter what texture (relaxed, curly, nappy, w.e.) as long as it's healthy. And I know people with both processed and natural hair that had very healthy, thick, long hair.

curlygirlinastaightworld said...

I don't know, its so difficult for us to just accept each other. Natural and Relaxed people its not a war, its just a way of life. Some people dig it and some cant get with it. I have been looked at crossed eyed because my hair is natural and it wasnt always that way I used to have relaxed hair and when I started going natural family and friends thought I was depressed about something...LOL. But now both my sisters are natural and a few of my cousins are going natural. Its not a right or wrong, Its not a war, its just a different way of life. And I have to admit its a freedom that comes along with having natural hair. A certain confidence. That's just from my personal experience. Also those relaxers did burn the heck out of my scalp, but my relaxed hair was healthy.

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