Four Lessons My Natural Hair Taught Me

....trying out a camo net. Is it working? Lol



Over the years, my wardrobe has changed, my weight has changed, some of my habits have changed, my preferences for certain things has changed, even my circle of friends has changed, give or take a couple of folks....a few times! The one thing that has always remained constant though, is my hair. I have never had a relaxer or a texturizer, and to be honest, only discovered the whole pressing thing since college. My hair has always been a halo of curls, kinks, and fluff that would draw either sighs of contentment or groans of frustration. Nevertheless, no matter what styles I may try to switch up my looks or how many products I may use to tame my hair, I always come back to what I know best: big, fluffy, hair. As you can imagine, over the years, My hair has been the subject of many insults and compliments, questions and stares. Though a lot of the buzz used to bother me when I was younger, I have found that wearing my hair in its natural state has taught me a lot about myself as well as others.

1. Confidence Is Everything: I remember being a freshman in high school and being the only girl in my freshman class who didn't have a relaxer or a press and curl. Granted, there was another young lady who wore her hair in locs, but she had one thing that I lacked: swagger. This girl had swag for DAYS. She didn't wear anything name brand and she wasn't one of the popular kids (none of us were, we were freshmen), but this girl got in as thick as thieves with the Juniors and the Seniors, rather quickly. I would watch her sometimes, and I would study the way she interacted with the other students. She was confident and spoke with conviction on whatever topic she was discussing. She would nip any negative remarks about her hair or clothes in the bud and kept the conversation neutral without even giving any opportunities for arguments. I was intrigued and wanted to be like this girl! I managed to make friends with her and remember one key piece of advice this wise freshman gave me: "Before you leave for school in the morning, take a good hard look at the person staring back at you. She's unique and has the potential to be a spectacular woman someday. Give her a fighting change by treating her with respect and others will do the same. Be proud of who you are and don't be afraid to be yourself." Amazing advice from an amazing woman. By the way, we're still friends and today, she's a model touring all over the world.

2. Work with what you have until you get what you want. I've had long hair, I've had short hair, I've hair days that were awesome and hair days where I'd rather wear a bag over my head than be seen in public. One thing that I learned rather quickly, is that it makes no sense to sit around grumbling about what you don't have. Instead, work with what you DO have. If your hair isn't long enough for that cute updo you saw on YouTube, slap a flower in that bad boy and rock a feminine fro! If your hair would rather float irreverently around your face than be tamed by any serums or potions you try, make your wild hair your own! Nobody has to know that you were trying for something a little more subdued. Play off the big hair as if that's the look you were going for! One of two things will end up happening. You'll either come to love your big irreverent hair, or you'll eventually come across a style that can help you tame it down when you want to. Either way, your hair should never have you so deep in your feelings that you feel less attractive. This lesson doesn't only apply to hair, but life as well. For example: Dead end jobs suck. If you're in one, take it for what it is and look for something else!

3. No two heads of hair are alike. I have a girlfriend who has the most fantastic spiral curls EVER. One evening while were were getting ready to go out, I saw her using this satellite/saucer attachment on her blow dryer. When I asked her what it was, she looked at me as though I was an idiot and replied "it's a diffuser". When I asked her what it was for, she explained that it was for curly hair and helped to evenly distribute the heat and helped her curls look springy. I was sold! After she finished her hair I decided to give this awesome contraption a try. Two words: Hell No. By the time I finished, I looked exactly like a Q-tip. Every curl in the back of my head shrank so close to my scalp, I looked like Grace Jones. Not a bad look, if that's what I was going for! I was mortified! I learned, from that day forward, to stick to the evil that I know of: Air drying.

4. Water is a curly girl's best friend. No, not to swim in, though that's fine too, but to drink! For a few months, I went hard for sodas and juice, only drinking water every few days. My hair was NOT happy. I couldn't figure out what was going on until I caught a glimpse of a Curly Nikki post in which she talked about drinking her weight in ounces of water to help her stay healthy. The more I researched, the more I realized how much I was not only depriving my body, but my skin and hair of the moisture it needed! Water does amazing things for your hair! Who would've "thunk" it?

What has your natural hair taught you about yourself?

37 Weigh in!:
Dani @ OKDani.com said...

Ha! I just read this on your blog and was like "boy she should submit this to curlynikki" and voila!!

xo
Dani

Tonya said...

I would agree with those four!

Anonymous said...

Three words: hilarious, uplifting and informative.
Nice job, Taneica.

---MrsDjRass

Anonymous said...

First off...FUUUUNY! My hair has taught me a lot about confidence. I love the looks that I get from my funky hairstyle. I love that I'm different ( =

Anonymous said...

Funny post! And so true on all points!

My hair has taught me that I am waaaay more flexible than I had ever imagined. Not knowing what your hair is oing to do on any given day can make you crazy if you don't just accept it and actually find the beauty in the fact that it's going to do it's own thang! I love it! It reinforces the idea (in a physical sense) that there are some things in life which we can't totally control and we need to relax and go with the flow. Well, at least up to a point. I don't want to scare the he-- out of anyone with my big, bodacious fro. :)

Jacky said...

Thanks for your lovely points,learnt a lot.Keep up the good work,would love to hear more from you.

Anonymous said...

funny and so true!

Anonymous said...

My hair has taught me not to let anybody tell me what I can and can't do! As it gets bigger and longer, I feel so empowered and liberated. Love this post! ~H

chicfitchef.com

Anonymous said...

I loved this! So empowering, thanks Taneica!

karemel said...

So true! And funny. I've learned that after having relaxed hair for years, it takes time for some natural styles to pan out. Once my hair was completely chemical free, I didn't know what to do with it. The styles I tried didn't work! So I had old school press and curls, damaging my curl pattern. Then I decided I would have to train my hair in natural styles. It was one of the best decisions I ever made. Time and patience panned out.

Anonymous said...

This was a great post! Lots of great information, and it was funny.

Jeannette said...

Very entertaining article by the way lol. My natural hair has taught me hands down, confidence. During my relaxed days, I was secure in myself but once I became natural there was a sense of confidence that I have and it feels real good :).

Anonymous said...

Wonderful post! I needed to read this. I'm going on 13 months of transitioning and styling is getting more and more difficult. But I will learn to "work with what I got until I get what I want." LOL! Thanks!

Jay-Jay said...

This morning I needed this to uplift me. Wonderful post!!!! Now I'm in a better mood. Thanks Taneica!!

Anonymous said...

very uplifting! great article :)

Anonymous said...

Work with what you have until you get what you want.

Well said.

Camille

Sophie said...

Number 1 is THE. TRUTH. x infinity! At first I was like "no! my hair is getting really big and grabbing attention!" I am naturally shy and have classically tried to blend in with the woodwork, but that's hard to do when my hair is so visually interesting! I'm learning to (#2) fake it til I make it when it comes to my confidence. Big hair = automatic (apparent) swag.

Leaux said...

Thanks so much for this post. I am on day 2 of my natural journey. I have worn a hair weave for at least the past decade of my life ::long time considering I'm just 23:: Your post has really given me the reassurance needed to keeping my goal in view (:
God Bless,
Leaux!

Anonymous said...

Loved this article!!! I used to fret so much about my hair when I couldn't achieve the look I was going for...now that I have a better appreciation of my natural hair, i'm able to rock any style with confidence!

Erica said...

Great article. My natural hair has taught me that I had absolutely no business perming my hair in the first place. I think of all of the money and years I wasted on perms and I get ticked off all over again (lol). My natural hair is so happy, wild and curly. No such thing as a bad hair day. If my hair doesn't do what I want it to do, I put a banana clip in it and wear it out in a faux mohawk. Or I slick some flax seed gel on my head and bun it up in a cute protective sytle. Versatility, confidence, and the right hair products are all you need.

Happynappy2009 said...

Great post!

Meli said...

My hair has helped me grow a tougher skin. I'm more confident and can easily refute negative comments about my hair even with family members without arguing. My hair has taught me my own perception of beauty and not what society wants me to look like. I can't wait to have children and be a different kind of role model for beauty. Thanks for this post!

Ms. Rya said...

Wearing natural hair is not for the faint of heart,it has increased my confidence, acceptance and self-esteem. It has taught me to ignore and deflect negative comments and attitudes and embrace my supporters. I realize that such negativity is often a reflection of low self-esteem and insecurity.

Some Black women are SO uncomfortable with their natural hair that they literally cover and hide it. They look at me like I'm crazy but have a a curly fro sewn in. They say "I could never go natural" but don't have any edges because of glue.

I have nothing against women who wear weave or wigs (I wear wigs/sew-ins occassionally). However, it's sad that the popular, outspoken girl with the bangin sew-in turns into a insecure person when she doesn't have that hair. SN: I guess that's a concern of self-esteem, not necessarily hair type/texture or style.

Carlita said...

I just loved the article! When I first did the big chop on 7/30/11, my partner was dead set against it. I had worn perms and jheri curls every since I was 11. I noticed that as soon as I noticed that I had several different cirl patterns in my hair, I fell in love with my hair. When I cut my hair, I was so scared because I hadn't had short hair in so long that I didn't think I would look right. I continued to educate myself about natural hair and today I have learned that natural hair is more versatile and more can be done with it. I have so much confidence since going natural that my partner calls me vain. I love how my hair turns out every single day. When I started my hair was about one inch in length. Now it is about four inches in length. My hair rocks!

maggielopez said...

So happy to read this. Makes me feel much better about myself as I am the only one in my family that has natural hair. My mother thinks I'm going through a phase but it has been well over 10 years that I have been natural. I found a great place to get my hair done ( a bit pricey) but I need to learn to love myself and my curly hair- and not be envious of those with straight hair.

Anonymous said...

LOVING this article - Thanks! I've been going natural since 2008. My hair is dark brown with a bit of red tint to it (depending on the season, the red demands to be noticed). It's about 8 1/2" long and extremely thick. It also loves the summers. I don't go to the salon a lot and only to have my ends clipped, washed and bumped - they are expensive. I'm like, what the hell, I'm not getting a weave or a perm! I've even been to places where the stylist doesn't know what to do with natural hair, seriously. Anyway, I'm loving my hair. I've had someone ask me why I don't wear weave or wear a wig - because it's something I'm not into, that's why! Anyway, I love my natural curls and I'm trying to get a routine down with them. During the day, I normally keep my hair up and when I put it down at night, my hair looks great with curls. I'm trying to reverse the process - wear my hair up at night and then wear it down during the day which takes a lot of discipline, on my part. I'm not much into confinement (somewhat like my hair) and was never a fan of wrapping my hair up at night. By the next morning, the scarf is off and everything *sigh*. My hair likes to be dampened, moisturizeded, lightly blow dried, pinned up for a couple of hours, and then put down. I've learned that although bumping my hair looks 'great' to most people especially those who refrain from wearing their hair natural - being my natural curly self feels so great and so free to my hair and me. Plus, I love the way it looks!

M. P. Hollins said...

I believe that hair is personal, and what ever works with your life I believe a woman should wear on her body and on her scalp. Perms don't work with my scalp but Jheri curls work great. Braid extension don't work with my hair but corn rows do. Flat irons don't work with my hair but press and curls rock. By percentage women with Nappy and Curly hair spend more on hair products and salon visits than women who are wearing straight and wavy hair. Nappy hair shrinks and I want my hair to look the real length that it is. So I have done a whole lot of unhealthy things trying to achieve the look of length. Last year I spent $750 on salon visits, this year I am determined to place the money that I used in the salon in my money market account. For 2012 my resolution is to resist the urge to splurge. Of course, if I know that if I had cash to burn, like a Rock Star or Oprah, then I would be in the salon every week or have the stylist come to my home. So I say wear what you like but keep it healthy and wholesome. It makes no sense to poison your body to achieve the so-called great hair day.

Anonymous said...

My curly hair has taught me that if people don't like you because of one superficial thing, then they're not worth your time. Hair shouldn't be a defining thing in a relationship.

Naturalgirl said...

Wearing my hair natural has taught me that it is really beautiful much more without a relaxer.

Tav said...

Great post! And what a wise friend you had at such a young age! We all need a friend like that!

Smbrath2006 said...

Imagine a world were we all love the skin we're in. Great article.

Accountable to God said...

This was pretty funny! My natural hair has taught me not to be afraid of Plan B or C because other people never know the difference. It's taught me that I am a confident creative leader. Natural hair is powerful.

Anonymous said...

It taught me common sense. In that I learned to finally after years and perming, breakage, feeling inadequate unless my hair was bone straight, etc. etc. to take care of the combination 4a,4c hair that God gave me.

I also learned true freedom. Freedom to wear my hair curly or straight. And, once I started learning how to handle my natural hair (Thanks to the ladies of YouTube) freedom from my hairstylist. Don't get me wrong, he's great and ironically enough talked me into leaving the relaxer. But, paying him $60 bi-monthly to get my hair pressed was still making me dependent on straight hair. But, now that I have learned how to straighten it myself I go to him when I want a really good, professional press.

sunnysallen2 said...

Thanks for the article, I big chopped 12/15/11 and I'm still getting use to the fact that my hair will not do what I want it to do every single day. I am learning to roll with it, forcing me to be confident and trying not to worry about what others think of my short hair. I had always had long relaxed hair since I was young, so i'm trying to embrace my short natural hair. Although I can't wait for it to grow out again, only this time all natural :)

VooDooLove1 said...

I've had sisterlock's for two years now, and my hair has taught me to be more in tune with my self confidence, self awareness, and just the over all love for who I am and the imprint I leave on the world. I've had bad comments and really sincere ones and I've learned that not everyone will understand the deep spiritual connection of having lock's. It's more important for me to always stand my ground and remain strong no matter how many people try and persuade me through there perception of beauty long as I truly believe I am beautiful there's nothing that can break me.

Carole said...

I Love this article! I have been Natural for one year. Lovin my Natural hair Journey,it has taught me to be more in tune with myself. Love it!

Anonymous said...

Love the article!!! Going natural has brought out another level of confidence and has taught me to love ME... all of ME!!!

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