Do you ever give yourself a pat on the back in light of how far you’ve come in your natural journey? Truthfully, some may sneer and balk at the idea of a natural femme spending several hours dotting on her tresses, taking the extra care to detangle, twist & style…but this simple act, over time adds up to such a greater accomplishment. Thinking back to when I was younger, growing up with a mother who brushed, combed and greased my hair regularly… I rarely if ever saw a grown woman care for her natural hair. This perhaps wasn’t the norm back in the early 80’s, but it was such a rarity that another person had to convince me it was true.
The dolls I carried around as a child were similar to me in likeness…but to a fault. Thanks to PJ sparkles I understood that in order to be/feel pretty, I had to dress in pink, rock a pink bow cocked to one side and grow long silky black hair.
And I did. Until I dared for something more and sought change where even my own mum felt uncomfortable in exploring. It starts off slow…and progressively, the anticipation grows when you realize that natural hair does not have to be banned from anyone’s life. It does not have to be shammed for what it is, what it can nurture and grow into as we get older. There is in fact life after pigtails and ribbons adorned in perfect symmetry.
And while I sometimes wish these lessons were taught to me at an earlier age…it’s more than fine to explore and learn these lessons today. I’m thankful, grateful and encouraged each day that the natural hair community gets stronger, bolder and thrives! This is not about showing pride per say…but more so acknowledging a job well done. I started from bare bones…no support system. A mother and father who, rather than understand, relegated my decisions to fits of crazy. Close friends nicknamed me Chia Pet, laughed behind my back and often to my face saying…”you’re too old to be wearing your hair that way.”
When you’ve come to hear it all, ironically you don’t care at all…anymore. Perseverance is a strong alliance in this journey and without it I’d be lost. When I mention to other newly naturals that my first Big Chop was over 10 years ago, rarely do I mention the void that existed back then. It’s where I was…how it all started. And yet, often this is how the most inspiring, sustainable journeys begin. From nothing but inspiration & determination we’re able to witness a growing movement so strong, I’m often taken aback at how far we’ve all come in this journey. As a collective, it’s humbling to see how much we’re willing to learn daily, weekly in order to care for our tresses…to help persevere that knowledge for our now future generations.
Of course this is more than just about hair. It’s about respect, and saying I acknowledge all that you do in order to persist in this journey each day. It’s also, more than anything… encouragement, so rather than look at how far you’ve yet to go, instead be thankful and appreciate all that you’ve already accomplished.