Anywho. My mother began relaxing my hair when I was four years old. We popped in that Just For Me rap tape, faithfully, per my request, every six weeks. Despite old pictures of a head full of thick curly hair, I never questioned this process. For to me, getting a relaxer was normal. Around the age of 8, my sisters and I began going to a hair dresser every other week. If I didn’t know anything about my hair before, I definitely wasn’t going to learn. We stayed with the same hair dresser for about 10 years; taking all of her words for life for our hair. That is until my hair went from being thick to thin. My hair was growing, but it wasn’t getting thicker, I could see right through the strands of my hair. During that episode, I wore nothing but a roller set. Crazy, I know lol! After my freshman year at UNC, I wanted to cut my hair; do something different. However, my hair dresser did not want to cut it (we constantly struggled with her doing what I asked her to do- but that’s a different story for a different day). So I left and went to a different shop! This lady cut my hair exactly how I wanted it. She relaxed it and added color. I don’t know what kind of miracle grow she used, but my hair all of sudden started to thicken up and each time that I went back I had to keep getting it cut because it was growing so fast! Shortly after, I was talking to some of my friends who were natural. Their hair was beautiful and healthy. I loved the look, almost as much as I loved my hair cut that I was rocking. I began to do research, A LOT of research; asking hair dressers, looking online, reading magazines on it, not to mention watching countless youtube videos. That being said, I made up (well it wasn’t that simple) my mind to stop getting relaxers on March 14, 2009 (the date of my last one). After that, I went back and forth during the summer with my mom and friends (boy did I get on their nerves!) Needless to say, I made it through and I BC’d July 24th, 2009 (felt like my birthday!!) Boy did I get hell for this decision. My mother and my sisters hated it, some of my friends didn’t like it. But I was ready for all of the opposition. I was walking tall and proud with my ½ inch of hair, not caring who said what when or where. The more confident I became, the more people liked it. I was getting random compliments from everyone! Needless to say, now those same ones that hated my hair before, can’t stop looking at it, can’t stop touching it, and my mother even introduced me to a random female who was talking about transitioning. Her words: My daughter did it, and it looks great now. It fits her face. So do it!
I say all of that to say that it is such a process to learn who you are and what works for YOU! It took me 20 years. But now I love myself so much more and I am truly confident as to who I am and how I rock my hair!
-Here’s a clip of the piece I call “What it means to Be a Black Woman” explaining exactly how I feel right now:
To be a woman today, I can embrace the natural texture of my hair, my “more to love” body, and my golden brown skin and not give two cents of attention about the lack luster standard of beauty that society thrust on me like a sack of potatoes at birth.
To be a woman I can speak and think for myself; make my own decisions with only regards to God’s opinion and not man. As a woman, I am an individual; create my own path and follow it. To be a woman today is to be oneself; to be ‘you’.