Google Header -->
Skip to main content
Curly Nikki

On the Couch With Imani

By January 27th, 202114 Comments

On the Couch With Imani
Imani writes:

Hi Curly Nikki Community,

Making the commitment to become completely natural was a work-in-progress for me, as I’m sure it is for other naturals. The negative influences that surround women who choose to wear their hair natural are hard to ignore. The media, strangers, and sometimes even our family members tell us that the best way to wear our hair is to coax it into a style that isn’t necessarily natural or healthy. During my initial journey, I wondered if going natural was really the best choice. I feared that I wouldn’t be able to get a job, a boyfriend, or be respected if I left the kinks in my hair.

Luckily, there is a great network of women with natural hair, here on the internet and across the globe that keep me inspired.

I’m convinced, Nikki, that if we keep affirming that our hair is beautiful and wearing it proudly then maybe, in the near future, people will accept natural hair completely.

For a while, I thought that flat and relaxed was the best way to wear my hair. I was relaxed for 12 years and for a very long time I was in deep denial. My hair would break into a million pieces on my shoulders and the bathroom floor when I styled it, yet my mom and I insisted on getting more relaxers from my stylist and putting heat to my new growth. My hair never grew past my shoulders.

Finally, after I graduated high school I made the commitment to stop relaxing. I put my hair in braids to transition and then cut off my relaxed ends in a moment of frustration in December 2009. At first I didn’t know what to do with my TWA and I put it in more braids until the end of the school year. I knew plenty of naturals at school and I knew nothing would happen there. But soon I’d be home for the summer and being from a small southern town, I didn’t know what reactions to expect from people.

This May, I finally started to embrace my hair for what it is. I took out my last set of braids and took it slow, leaving the house in puffs and twistouts to run short errands. Eventually I worked my way up to big events. I even rocked my natural hair in a conservative style in traffic court! I wore my new ‘do to the store, to church, even to attend the American Library Association conference in Washington DC. And guess what!?!? No one chased after me with pitch forks. No one teased me. No one kicked me out of that conference or out of court.

Even my mom, a self professed creamy crack addict, has admitted that my hair has never looked better. My little sister, a life-long natural, now occasionally opts for twistouts instead of always flat ironing her hair.

I recently saw my old stylist and when she saw me she said I should have worn my hair natural all along. I think that was the last bit of approval that I needed. Her praise comforted me and helped build my confidence even more.

Men still flirt with me, my family still loves me, people still respect me, and I can still look professional and have natural hair. I do get the occasional odd look but no one has outright said, “Imani, your hair is wrong.” I don’t think anyone ever will.

I had convinced myself that the universe would implode if I wore my hair in its natural state. That was ignorant of me. I was holding myself back because of my own fears. When I finally embraced my natural self, life became much more fulfilling.


  • IvyGail says:

    First off KUDOS to my little cousin for writing a very empowering essay on this topic. I wish I had forums like Curly Nikki when I was her age and wanted to go natural. I've been natural for 16 years and am still learning about the amazing things that well maintain natural hair can do. Just last week at my job many of the African American women in the office gathered for a lunch to discuss natural hair. It was than that I realized that there were more naturals sitting at that table then perms. The ratio was 10:3. That is not even counting all the African American woman in my office. Which I think the ratio is about 16:10. Naturals outnumbering perms in an office setting….that's proof that it is far more accepted then many people think. Imani thanks for sharing your experience.

  • Anonymous says:

    So true! Sometimes we are our worst critic! So glad you've embraced your natural hair. 🙂 ~KF519

  • Anonymous says:

    Hi Imani, I work in a public library, and have had nothing but positive remarks about my natural hair. I find the library community (staff) to be very open for the most part to diversity. I'm glad your experience has been positive. Continue to do you!

  • Erica says:

    To Anonymous 8:12am, can you send me an message to my email of the address? and I will have it sent out to you.


  • Anonymous says:

    Organic coconut shmp & conditioner and also the royal roots 🙂

    & as for this post. How much new growth is in your 'after' picture??

  • Erica says:

    I guess this might go under the forum section, but I'm not registered to it, but I'm on here all the time. So here goes I have some products that I have have never used and some that I have that I don't really want or need anymore, just curious if anyone would be interested in these.

    V05 Clarifying Conditioner Kiwi Lime Squeeze 100"% full never used
    V05 Revitalizing Conditioner Blackberry Sage Tea 100"% full never used
    Sunsilk HyrdaTlc in the pink bottle Shampoo/Conditioner 100"% full never used
    Organix Coconut Milk Shampoo/Conditioner 95% full used only once
    Royal Roots Detangler Softner Remover 100"% full never used
    GVP Paul Mitchell The Conditioner Leave In 98% full used only once
    ————————————————Tropical Natural Dudu-Osun Black Soap in Package that it came New Never Used

    Let me know if anyone is interested, I got onto that pj bandwagon and really don't need these after all.

  • Sidjaz says:

    Great post, very well written. Congratulations Imani! I share your sentiments when you state
    "if we keep affirming that our hair is beautiful and wearing it proudly then maybe, in the near future, people will accept natural hair completely".

  • ActiveGirl says:

    I love this post! Great story. I can definitely relate.

  • Anonymous says:

    That's excellent Imani! I have been transitioning for 7 months and anticipate the day I decide to BC. I know I will have the same feelings of self-consciousness. Thanks for sharing, I'm sure you're inspiring someone out there to take the natural leap.

  • Kenya says:

    that story was amazing 🙂

  • Anonymous says:

    My aunt is also a librarian who has lived in DC and worn her hair in it's natural state for the last 30 years. I'm glad you have embraced your "natural self" (I'm getting there)! There are so many naturals at my workplace in DC, it is making it easier for me to transition.

  • HeyJocey says:

    I love your story and hair!! I would definitely have to agree with you, after I did my BC and completely embraced my natural hair, it's like life was more fulfilling and definitely more fun. 🙂

  • Quaneasha says:

    Beautiful story and gorgeous hair!!!

  • modest-goddess says:

    I'm also a librarian and I wore my natural hair to conferences in 2008 and 2009. I had no negative reactions.

Leave a Reply