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!