Silencing Your Own Worst Critic

by Chai of Back to Curly

Oddly enough, one of the biggest obstacles I’ve had to face during the early phases of my first BIG CHOP was something far more delicate and difficult to ignore than frequent quips from ignorant family and friends. While those instances are just as important to confront and learn from during the natural hair journey, coming to terms with the changes in my own personal thinking seemed always the biggest hurdle.

During the days after my first BC, I was left feeling helpless and bordering on failure. Standing in front of the mirror with a boar bristle in one hand (incredulous!), and a tub of Aloe gel in the other to slick down and hide the massive growth sprouting from my head was a regular occurrence.

Imagine giving birth to something you’d envisioned for so long, wanted and craved because of all the incredible things you’d heard (not so silly…), only for it to arrive and have nothing to feed and nurture it with, simply because you were not mentally prepared.

The love part, that some of us instantaneously expect doesn’t always happen, and while that’s okay…even normal, being unafraid to wait takes even more strength. The love…the adulation is worth having and worth waiting for if your reasons for going natural were honest, and solely for you.

The most effective way to silence your own worst critic and gain a more firm footing on the image you see before you in the mirror…is to make time for yourself. Don’t rush your thinking about what your hair ‘could’ look like, what it ought to be, instead face the fear. If it is small, stomp it out. If it is large and overbearing, stemming from years of hidden insecurities, claim it before it collapses your wall of confidence and the burden of rebuilding is all you see.
I love this quote from Sociology of Sheena, “the power of contentment lies already in you. You can be your own source.”

Our worst critics…even those found within the confines of our own thinking are our best guides. Abuse them if you have to, but don’t ignore them, nor allow them to manifest into something greater than what you foresee. Be your own source…envision it, until you’re able to claim what’s yours.

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Is It Possible to Fail at Natural Hair?

by Chai of Back to Curly

Recently I attended another wonderfully organized Natural Hair event hosted by Karen of Karen’s Body Beautiful here in Brooklyn, NY and was amazed at the sheer volume of women who came out. I mentioned to a friend who also attended, that the amount of natural women in the room left me a tad overwhelmed, and this was not due to any personal inadequacies, but more so to do with the undeniable warmth and camaraderie that filled the air. If you’ve secured a Natural Hair meetup under your belt already, you may have an inkling as to what I mean.

In a matter of minutes after walking into the event and even before I could grab a drink or a slice of red velvet cake, I was exchanging tips, routines and encouragement with ladies I’d never met before, women I’d only seen for a little over 8 minutes on the Youtube screen and even a chance meeting with the young woman who’d inspired the tail end of this post.

After coming home with a raspy voice and a few hair goodies richer, the thought of some Natural Haired women not having access to this kind of inspiration and motivation led me to question whether some do in fact give up the journey due to insufficient support and encouragement from friends, family and loved ones.

The failures most of us experience along the journey are often learning curves and small setbacks allowing us to reevaluate what it is we’ve done wrong, which direction to head in and what advice we could finally kick to the curb. Ironically, it’s the handful of failures more so than the successes that enable many of us to share and emphasize with others who are on the same journey.

If you’ve found yourself saying “natural hair might not be for me” or feelings of failure have annoyingly crept in, do realize that most successful journey’s whether they’re hair or heart oriented require constant changes in perspective and learning.
How To Stay On Track:
  • Try different methods of caring for your natural hair. If you’ve exhausted all avenues, stayed up until 3 a.m. watching Youtube vids and trolling forum boards searching for the ultimate hair game plan. Stop. Reassess and head for the mirror. Nothing beats hands on experience and learning from the almighty touch. Take it slow, practice and take mental note of what you could do better. i.e. detangling, deep conditioning, nightly routines.
  • Place the ‘look game’ on pause and focus first on hair health. Too often we prioritize on achieving the right ‘look’ while forgetting the health of our our hair is just as important and often contributes to the overall feel, texture of our strands. The right ‘look’ comes after you put the appropriate amount of ‘work’ in.
  • Reach out to fellow naturals, plan to attend a Natural Hair Meetup in your area and challenge yourself to think further outside the box than what you’re normally used to.
  • Build your own pillar of support. Tear down negative walls (even the ones you’ve built) and accept only positive and supportive people into your life. If Negative Nancy happens to be a family member or a close friend, reevaluate your own reasons for going natural and don’t be afraid to reaffirm and stick to those reasons.
  • Challenge Yourself! The start of the new year is apropos for this kind of thing, but change is always on it’s own continuum, and ‘now’ is always the perfect time to start.
If you’ve recently attended a natural hair event in your city, would love to hear your experiences!

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