Meet Rae… young, intelligent, driven, and CURLY!
(No. I’m not French. Very Southern fried!)
My name is Raven. I’m 18, and I’ve been au-so-naturale since July 21, 2009. I’ve been thinking about going natural for years(yes, even since I was little and LOVED the girls with the ‘big, wild, curly hair’), but I finally decided to do it right after I got a friend to braid my hair to the back (with extensions) for band camp.
But lets go back in time a bit:
I first started getting perms/relaxers when I was 5 or 6. I didn’t really think much of it then (don’t really remember much from those days); but as I got older, my self esteem just plummeted, especially after 3rd grade when a viscious rumor was started about me (that only lasted for that grade and half of the next, but still! I was a young, impressionable mind with a soft shell!).
The older I got, the more shy and self-esteem-deficient I became. And I always noticed something: I HATED my hair! It just never seemed to do what I wanted. (But who’s does?) It just felt like it wasn’t right. Something was missing and it really got to me. It just seemed so flat and… dead.
I started seeing people on tv or in ads with GA-ORGE-OUS hair. When I started seeing people with curly or (especially) big hair, it was all I could think about. I’d daydream about having hair like that;I’d go to sleep and wake up to it. The more I thought about it, the more I hated my hair because it couldn’t ‘do what theirs did.’ My hair was straight. Black folks hair only came in straight or ‘nappy’, and I was glad I didn’t have nappy hair!
Then (idk if it was on the internet or just on my own), I found out that black hair WAS curly. You don’t know how hard it was for me to take in this revelation (or how happy I was). I HAD to find out how to make my hair be all big and curly. I just knew that if I got my hair where it was meant to be, I’d fix, like, 90-95% of my self-esteem problems! I just knew in my heart of hearts, that my hair was NOT meant to be straight. I hated everything about it (no offense to anyone, I’m talking about on me. I think straight if very cute on some people!).
Then I started getting on the internet. I found out that what I wanted was ‘natural’ hair and because I’d taken the creamy crack, I’d have to ‘transition’ to do it. I was hit by a car in November 2008 and that knocked my perms out for a while. I think I had one after my head healed a little. But for most of the beginning of 2009, I transitioned.. I found your site sometime last year as well, Nikki, as well as some other cool sites, too!
When I was transitioning, I felt the most right with myself than I’ve ever felt in my life! I kept my hair back in a bun all the time.(a small one; my hair has never really grown much past my shoulders.) I was going to cut my hair on October 30 2010 (my bday), or on Christmas of 2010. Then, in July of 09, I was looking for someone to braid my hair because band camp was coming up and I wanted it out of the way. A friend of mine braided it for 10 bucks. O.M.G… It was SO TIGHT!!!!!! When I went in the bathroom to look, I could see my scalp raising (and the little ‘holes’ each hair grew from)!!!! I thought to myself, ‘Aw HELL naw! All my hair is gonna fall out!’ But I told her I liked them.
I couldn’t get out of that house fast enough. Soon as I was in the car good, I had two braids out. My grandma was so disappointed when I got home and was taking them out already. I threw away the extentions, grabbed some hair scissors (despite all the discouragement I got from people that didn’t think I should cut it) and found my LD (line of demarcation) the best I could. The next thing I know, half of the top of my hair it gone! I had a small moment of O-M-G-WHAT-HAVE-I-DONE, but, hey, it had already been done; I had to finish what I started.
I’ve always had a fear of short hair. I could NEVER see myself with any kind of short hair, especially like this! It was THISCLOSE to my head. I had another OMGWHID moment afterward, especially b/c i had done it myself, and it was so uneven(especially at the back). So scarves became my new hair for the two weeks of BC(band camp). After my mom evened it out for me, I shocked the world. You should have seen what the first day back to school was like. My mom was the only one amazed in a good way.
The question I still get to this day is, “Why you cut yo hair?” I cut my hair so I could finally stop hiding and be myself. I’ve spent my whole entire life feeling so uncomfortable in my skin, about my color, weight, height, size, and hair. But I’ve done almost a complete 180 now! I like to be different, and I feel so much more different and like I can have my own style now. I haven’t seen ANYONE here like me that’s natural. That’s not common in Mississippi. I’ve seen two fully natural women in person in my whole life (and that was a few weeks ago and at the end of last year).
I got so much discouragement at first, but now people love my hair! I’m recognized in a crowd because no one else is like me. I’ve accepted what God made me with and I’m working with it (and working it!). Cutting off my relaxed ends has made me accept almost every flaw about myself. They make me unique, like my hair. I’m not just “Raven”; there are a lot of those in the world. I’m “Raven- the tall girl, the thick girl, the girl with the fro.” It may not sound that hot to you. And some time ago, that would have upset me that you didn’t approve. But now, this last paragraph (the discouragement) just motivates me to keep doin’ what I’m doin’!
Thanks for your site Nikki! ILY!
keep up the walking inspiration steez and great luck on your journey. You've got some great energy trapped in that hair!
Loved your story! Your curls are beautiful just like you! Rock on Lil Sis!
All the years on those pics are wrong, everyone. They're really in 2010, not 2009.
Ha! Now YOU'RE the girl with the gaw-jus hair everyone is envying. You are so brave to have done what you did in high school, when peer pressure is at its peak, and especially in a place where you don't see natural hair very often. I live in New York, and I see natural girls all the time and I'm STILL scared to do it, but you found the strength and the courage to be yourself and that in itself is beautiful too. All the best!
Thanks Sharla! =]
You are such a lovely girl with a beautiful smile! I'm inspired by your story. I'm 31 years old and just now starting to realize the limitations I have set for myself in order to imitate a particular aesthetic, not to mention the harm to my self-esteem. I will think of your strength during my transition.
Hey everyone. I'm just now getting to a computer. Omg I didn't think my story would be up this early! Thanks Nik. And thanks for the comments everyone, they actually brought tears to my eyes (but I'm in public, so I'm holding my composure ;D)! ChyeahBella, I actually DO have a blog on blogger, but… It just didn't look like it was worth reading to me…and I don't have my own internet. I just kinda checked out I guess… I stay in Grenada County (in Grenada). Devorah, I get comments about my forehead too (AND I have oily skin, so I have to stay on high alert!) Anonymous#2, I'm not the only Raven here(hehe unfortunately). But I'm still called RaeRae (omg, we spell ours tha same!).
I'm currently having a dry scalp prob right now. It's not serious, but it just bothers me. It's really bad at the front of my scalp and just in little spots throughout my head. If anyone knows what I can do to remedy this (w/o oil. I already use ABUHO to seal and it just doesn't seem to help on my scalp, and it feels oily enough), I'd owe you the world!
If u want to add me on Facebook/Bebo/Tagged, tha last pic is my profile pic.
raven u should make a blog, u have tons of personality and awesome hair. consider making a blog 😀
Gorgeous hair! It always surprises me how well natural hair complements our features, and you're no exception. It just looks right! =)
I tell you your story is so so AWESOME! I can remeber going up I got teased about my skin, weight and forehead! Thank you that I could look pass those mean little people..lol! I commend you for going Natural at such a young age becasue what I have find out on my Natural Walk that it takes a Strong Women to do so becasue you have so much negative pressure from the world. Raven, you have a smile that lights up the world…keep being you and believe it or not there are millions of people being touched by your story……Do you know there are Full Grown women that don't have the guts to do what we are doing!!! I love your spirit Ms. Radiant Raven!!!!
SN: I see the "SIP" is representing 🙂
I love being Natural in Misssissippi
Not sure where u reside in MS, but I live in the Jackson Metro area and there are plenty of naturals here! Come check us out! Love your fro!
Raven, you're beautiful and vivacious and are clearly going to take over the world! You're not the only curly in MS by any means — my whole family is, and we live on the Gulf Coast. Keep holding it down girl!
Raven. You are absolutely beautiful. And I'm so glad that you see it for yourself now. With courage comes confidence shortly after. I loved reading your story. You don't even know how much you've helped women that read you'd story have the courage to embrace their true selves. keep up the walking inspiration steez and great luck on your journey. You've got some great energy trapped in that hair!
LOVED your story! Absolutely B-E-A-U-T-I-F-U-L!
Your story sounds so much like mine 🙂 Thanks for posting!
you are so smart and you look AMAZING! your hair looks great – its so shiny and really healthy looking. good for you!!!
awww, Raven you just put a big smile on my face!!!!
you are cute beyond words! I really like the looks for you and you ARE brave for doing it during high school, when most girls have enough hell to go through….very pretty, chica 🙂
Raven, your spirit jumped off the page. I wish more young people were as self-possessed and confident as you are. Just in case no one in Mississpi tells you this, you are fierce and your 'fro is beautiful.
You are clearly a beautiful person Raven inside and out. Continue to hold your head up high and soon all the naysayers will see that their words mean nothing. It is so inspiring to see someone still in high school go natural. I wish I would've stood up to my mom and started on my journey then. If you ever need inspiration dont hesitate to view my fotki account www.fotki.com/channyboo23
Raven – you are beautiful! Continue to lift yourself up as you discover your inner and outer beauty. I know doing a BC in high school is tough (from personal experience – I did mine in '03 as a senior), so surround yourself with positive ppl and ppl who will support you!
you go girl! This was a very well-written article about your personal transition story and coming into your own! You may only be 18, but this really touched and inspired me as well. I wish I had that kind of courage back when I was in high school. It's so hard to fit in, and I can definitely relate to being teased, so it's amazing that you had the courage to take control of your own self-esteem and make the decisions you did. Thank you very much for sharing with us.
I have SO much respect for young women who go natural in high school. It takes a LOT of guts to do that…I'm old enough to be your mom and I would have NEVER EVER done that at your age. Your hair is gorgeous and YOU are gorgeous! Thanks for sharing your story.
Awww…my name is Raven too…my childhood friends still call me Rae-Rae…and when I was growing up there weren't too many other Ravens around so I was religiously clowned because of my name. You are beautiful!!!!! Your hair is beautiful!!!!
Hi Raven, I am very happy that you are now comfortable and happy with yourself. You sound and look to be a very intelligent, beautiful and bold young lady. Your hair is gorgeous… keep doing what you are doing!
Hey Raven!!! You are so brave to go natural while still in high school. Hey I'm in Mississippi! I live in the Jackson Metro Area!! I love your hair too!!