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Curly Nikki

Natural Hair and Unnecessary Anxiety

By January 27th, 202136 Comments

Natural Hair and Unnecessary Anxiety
Alexandria writes:

My staple hairstyle, the tried and true twist out, requires wearing my hair in twists overnight on restyling days. This wasn’t a problem for me until I moved into a dorm. Being the only natural on my floor, it feels awkward to walk around with chunky twists sprouting from my head, often sticking straight up in defiance of gravity. I love it when my curls sprout out in all directions, but when my twists do? Not so much. Now, I duck and hide when wearing my not-so-stylish twists at night, putting a hat or scarf on to go to the bathroom. As ridiculous as it may seem, it is an issue I have still not overcome.

What aspects of being natural, from styling to socializing, cause you undue stress and anxiety? How do you deal with these issues?

36 Comments

  • Ms. Overproof says:

    Just think of it as the equivalent of a permed or straight haired person rocking curlers. Although more accepted, it can have you looking jsut as crazy, especially if you have really long hair and have to rock the Jumbo rollers. They wear rollers or doubies with the ginormous hairpins and you wear twists and in the morning when you all remove and style everyone looks FAB.

  • Anonymous says:

    Last night my boyfriend treated me to Bone Fish Grill Restaurant and I just finished doing my Henna treatment Friday night into Saturday morning following up with a deep conditioning treatment that I left on for about 5 hours. Once I rinsed my hair with cold water (cold water keeps the moisture in) I then prepared my hair for twists and followed up with Aveda Brillant Damage Control (a Heat Protectant for even UV rays because you can get heat damage even from the sun and flourescent lighting) by the time I was done with setting my hair in twists it was 6pm. We went to dinner at 8pm. I was not trying to undue the two hours I spent twisting my hair ( my curls are chin length but I usually place small to medium sections in twists for a more define pattern for the rest of the week), for the sake of anxiety I knew I was going to intiially feel when I stepped inside the restaurant, who cares right? When we got there, the hostesses one was black with straight hair and the others were asian did have something to say about my hair, but I looked at it like this, I was dining their with my boyfriend who loves my hair with twists, twists outs, and maybe a couple of years from now when I will straighten it every now and then. I decided to not pay any mind to their comments because they shouldn't phase me. And yes, they were definitely keeping close observation to my black boyfriend's interaction with me and of course who paid for the mealwhen we were done. So I could of given them bad looks with the comments and noticeable observation they were giving me and my boyfriend, but I did not because they worked their and we dined their, notice the difference. Instead I enjoyed the night and my man being the gentlemen he is paid for meal. Once they saw all of that they left us alone and I noticed envy come across these immature women's faces. Now I am 27 years old and you saying that you live in a dorm I gather you are either in your late teens or early 20's. I applaud you for doing what others have not decided to do at your age because of society's standards and lack of knowledge. So, some of my not caring probably comes from my age, you should live your life, if you leave your room to go to the bathroom and covering up your hair at night with a scarf escapes your mind and you find yourself in the bathroom thinking OMG! I just left my room without my scarf on my head what do I do? You walk out of the bathroom like you went in the bathroom without a care! Wearing your hair in twists is not something to be embarassed about or to even cover up. I think of my mother who fell into society's standards of beauty and allowed hair dresser's to straighten her hair with relaxers and follow up with braids or weaves and now my mother has lost her on the entire crown of her head and in the middle of her scalp. Now that is every reason to walk around feeling self conscious and to not second guess placing a scarf on your head so that you don't have to deal with public rejection. Compare your issue to my poor mother's… I hope this helps.

  • Kinky Rhonnie says:

    Alexandria,

    I set my hair in twists like a relaxed person would set their hair in rollers so I totally understand. It is a pain having to run out in the middle of a styling session or when my hair hasn't completely dried so I put a satin cap under my newsboy hat or knit beanie and let my twist hang out. In the dorm, try pinning your twists down and using one of those satin wrap caps that all of the other girls wear and you'll fit right in. I see young girls wearing those things all over town and I think "what in the world?". lol.

    http://www.prettywrap.com sells an attractive silk bonnet/scarf combination that I highly recommend as well.

    Don't feel akward, be proud that you have the guts to conform from the norm! Keep your head up and do you!

  • curlygurly says:

    I had this issue with my boyfriend. I couldn't bring myself to wear my twists in front of him so I only did my hair on nights that he didn't stay over. It happened one night he did a surprise visit and it happened to be a hair night and I was embarrassed and decided to wear a scarf over my twists that night. But he was supportive and glad he had come by because of the new found appreciation he had gained for me for letting him finally be able to sEe that intimate side of me. I still usually only do my hair on nights he's not around but I won't be embarrassed to wear my scarf anymore.

  • Andrea says:

    Is it only me that feels inhibited with my night time routine when it comes to my boyfriend? I was with someone for 2.5 years and couldn't bring myself to tie my hair with a scarf on a regular basis. I would only wash and twist my hear when he wasn't around. Stupid me.

  • Anonymous says:

    I did my BC over a year and a half ago and I'm still trying to understand my hair. I work in a predominately white environment and I have a little anxiety every time I try to style my hair differently other than a wash and go… just because I worry about what other people will think. I have decided that this is a growing and learning process for me, and that I won’t let other people’s discomfort with MY hair dictate what I will or will not do…it’s their problem not mine!

  • Anonymous says:

    Well, if you don't like your twists sticking straight up, get some of those cute bohemian wrap things–or really big head bands to put over it. Some re REALLY stylish– animal print, shimmery rhinestones, etc. I have quite a few for days when I wear my twists and they are all over the place. I always get compliments and love my hair accessories. 🙂

  • Kristen says:

    Alexandria, that's an interesting story you have. I have to say to you….DON'T let what other people may think stop you from being you!! If you love your hair, be proud of it. Maybe you will be the one to turn someone else in your dorm/school into a curly girl!! It's odd though, I can't relate. When I was a freshman there MANY other girls who were naturals. I didn't actually go natural unil my sophomore year but there was no real reason behind it. I wwas just tired of my hair a whacked it off one day. I loved it too. I actually BC several times since then too. That was in 1996 or 97.

    But anyway, hold on to what you have been doing. Your curls will make you stand out and be noticed which is a good thing for many people. If people look at you funny, look at THEM funny!!! LOL But stay true to you!! Good luck in your hair journey AND in school!! :o)

  • Anonymous says:

    Please don't let people's stares and comments make you shrink from being you. I was natural in college too. And I co sign with Jeanette and others that everyone has a night routine ie target bag hair deep conditioning, target bag foot moisturizing, pimple care, robot retainers, all while wearing huge thick glasses. Be you and be proud that you are a trendsetter. There are probably many that secretly envying your courage and others that envy your unique curls. Absolutely be You !

  • Samantha says:

    I know this one. I had this anxiety even when I was relaxed because when I lived in a dorm on campus in Cali NONE of my floor mates were even black. My roommate was Asian (god love her- I know I did) and all the other girls were white. So just having to wear a scarf on my head at night was a nerve wrecking experience. Fast forward to earlier this year after my BC last December and after two University transfers. I was so self-conscious about my hair being so short and not knowing how to style it without frying the hell out of it that I wore a scarf on my head everyday for 3 months solid. None of my new friends had ever seen my hair and they always commented on how much they wanted to see it. But I assured them it wasn't anything pretty (which on most days it wasn't -child Frankenstein's monster had a better stylist than me, I was looking rough) But somewhere around the end of the semester I stopped minding so much. I realized that my insecurities only bothered me. My first roommate back in Cali didn't care a lick if I was in our rooms looking a jacked up hot mess. We still were having a grand ole time watching Law & Order together. And i found out my friends at my new school didn't care either. So I say "who cares" especially on a college campus, sweetheart, you can be as much "you" as you want to be and no one will think any less of you because trust me everyone has their little night rituals too. Some even less flattering than a rouge twist here and there.

  • battlekat says:

    With this post I will be telling my age. I had a curl in college and I wore a curl bag to bed every night. It really didn't bother me cause it was normal for me but I did get asked why I wore my shower cap to bed. lol.

  • Carmen says:

    I think wearing the fat night time twists in front of a beau can make me feel…err…odd.?

  • Anonymous says:

    Yeah I had this happening to me when I was living with a friend who was not in support of my going natural. She always had something to say about my hair practices, so I only did my hair at night when she had gone to bed and in the morning she left for work before me so she never say me taking out my braid out and by the time she got home, I would have a scarf on. One day she asked me to meet her at the movies after work, I showed up with a really well defined braid out that I had pined up with a hump in front and the straight ends hidden( I was transitioning at the time) and she was like what is this on your head, there were all these ppl around us in the movie theatre bathroom and by this time, the wind had tousled my hair a bit but believe me my hair was looking good. I just gave a lame excuse like oh I was trying a hair style and it went wrong and it got blown in the wind too. She kinda gave me the look like you have started with your natural hair thing again. Funny thing is I wore that same hair style to walmart and met one of my Caucasian friends there shopping who asked me if that was the real texture of my hair ( you know the wavyness)and before I could answer told me to always wear my hair this way.

  • LBell says:

    Co-signing Anon 3:58…it's a set just like any other set. When people ask you about it explain it that way and treat it like it's no big deal. You've got a lot of more important things to worry about…like getting that degree… 😉

  • mothereartha says:

    i wouldn't worry about it. i remember going to vegas w/ friends back in the earlier part of the decade and while walking back to our hotel i started twisting my hair back up b/c i had the best twist out ever! they were sticking straight up in every direction and we even went through the casino. my girfriends said i was crazy but i was more concerned with how my hair would look in the morning. i don't embarrass easily though.

    and i've found that other races love my hair more than "we" do. my fashion school roomate said she had never seen an african american with long hair (and it wasn't really long) like mine that wasn't a weave. and she loved to touch it. she was amazed when i had it straightened and wanted a blow by blow explanation of why and how i was braiding it at night.

    so embrace your inner diva and confidence. it may seem hard at first but know you are doing what you need to do for you…

  • Anonymous says:

    haha. @ julia, i use to braid and twist my hair at night and my roommate use to get upset that i spent so much time doing my hair. i was like, "ummm i don't do my hair in the morning like u." lol! but i am the only black person on my floor and i always leave my room with braids, twists, or rollers all over my head! i dont pay attention to how ppl react tho. lol

  • Anonymous says:

    I'm a senior in college, and I used to feel the same way; obligated to "do my hair" before I even walked 5 ft down the hallway to the bathroom! I realized that there were gonna be times when my style wasn't ready, wasn't fully dry, or fully to my liking, yet I was still going to have to go to class or work. So I stopped worrying so much about what girls in my dorm might think or say. I'm taking care of my hair! I just bought a little slouch beanie from Forever 21 for $7 and whenever my hair isn't done, I slip that on and I'm out. Saved my life!

  • Anonymous says:

    I remember that. It was awkward at first…then I saw a dorm mate walking around with pimple cream on her face…and someone else with their retainer. Then there was all the hair tossing and hair dryers for hours in the morning.
    Someone did ask me about my twists one day, not in a rude way or anything – just curious. Which is fine. I'd rather you ask than walk around with incorrect assumptions.
    My response was basically – you spend all morning on your hair, I prep mine the night before. Then I can pretty much shake it out and go 🙂

  • NicciLeo says:

    Don't worry about it. In 1999 I was in Basic Military Training for the Air Force and had to take showers with 49 other women. Trust me, no one cared about what someone else was doing. I don't remember anyone's nighttime habits and I'm sure no one remembers mine. Focus on your grades, not your hair. Good luck. Many blessings.

  • Anonymous says:

    i don't wear twists, but i do have anxiety about white balls from product or having a stiff/smashed-on-one-side fro. so, sometimes i randomly fluff my hair or shake my head.

  • Anonymous says:

    LOL i know exactly what you mean! I live in an apartment on campus with three other girls, two white. I am wearing a wig and conrows underneath as a protective style for a couple of months and when I come home the first thing i do is take the damn thing off. However, if i step outside of my room I cover my hair in a knit hat to not have to explain how I went from shoulder-length straight hair to a TWA haha

  • Anonymous says:

    Other curlies and their rules, definitions, and judgments on what being natural is…ugh…it really stresses me out…

    Indigo

  • Jeannette says:

    It's your nighttime routine…which EVERYONE has something they do before they got to sleep. Some have to sleep with retainers, some people put scrunchies in their hair etc, don't worry what your hair looks like while you are preparing for sleep in the dorms. I went to college around majority of White people and I cared less what they felt about my hair as I prepared for sleep. I viewed it as they all know that I am Black and my hair texture is not the same as their's, they should know that I maintain my hair differently. If they didn't know prior to meeting me, then they realized it then. If they had any questions, I was more than happy to answer.

  • Anonymous says:

    Lol. You're just going to bed. I have walked around the dorm with plastic target bags on my head for deep conditioning purposes and only my friends laugh at me about it. Do you! Don't worry bout everybody else.

  • Brown Babe says:

    LOL – I think that's a common problem, and not just for naturals. I know what when I'm all twisted up and have to run out to the store on a whim or end up having unexpected company, I throw on a headband and pin my twists up to fake a style and that usually works for me. I would also never leave my house in rollers or in an uncovered head scarf – even before I was natural *shrug* – I don't see anything wrong with that!

  • Anonymous says:

    Well I'm not in a dorm room, but I do work around multi cultures. I always receive compliments when my hair was relaxed, however when I went natural, all the compliments stopped. Now all I hear is when are you going to straighten your hair? Why did you do that? However I don't care how they feel. The freedom I felt when I BIG CHOPPED, can not be measured. If you have a bad hair day, just shrug it off, and tell yourself, your hair is just doing it's own thing today.

  • Anonymous says:

    I could see how you would be embarassed but look at it this way…If you are doing it to have a certain style in the morning think of it as rollers…If you would walk in the hallway with rollers in your hair why not twist? 🙂

  • Rhayne says:

    I found this cute twist hairstyle on www.keepitkinky.blogspot.com and though I wouldn't my hair like this because I'm to tenderheaded, thought I would share this with you.

    http://keepitkinky.blogspot.com/2010/12/twist-and-curves-style.html

  • kimmie0810 says:

    I sometimes worry that I will look "matronly" if my hair isn't sassy enough. I don't want to look like I just don't care. So I do try to jazz up outfits, hair accessories, and/or earrings or something. I know some people have their ideas about natural hair, & I don't want to look like a mistake–my hair is like this b/c love it like this. But I feel like if I throw on sweats or don't have just the right sheen or definition to my hair, that I look bummy lol.

    Alexandria, I know it's easy to say but don't worry about it. You're twisting your hair to preserve & protect it so bump what anyone else has to say. If nothing else, invest in a HUGE bonnet to wear if u have to walk around or tie them down with a pretty scarf if u have to leave your dorm room. I just ordered the Sue Maesta "hooded band" from Ricky's in NY. I've watched a few YT vids on pineappling & preserving hair for 2nd & 3rd day & really think this will come in handy.

  • Doc says:

    Alexandria,
    I remember the same embarrassment when I would relax may hair with my roommate and her people around…so i understand. i probably would have felt the same way if i was natural in college (waited until grad school…)
    i ended up just sucking it up. I say, Screw 'em. Do you 😉

  • Anonymous says:

    I'm almost five months into transitioning, so I go through a big ordeal with myself whenever I want to try a new hairstyle and I have to go to work. Then I chicken out and go to my trusty, tried and true rod set…lol.

  • Ness says:

    This is an issue for me at times as well. Sometimes I do get self-conscious about walking through my dorm hall with my bare fro out, wearing my bonnets/scarves, walking around with random twists that i did for a twistout, etc. Sometimes with natural hair, your hairstyle doesn't turn out like you anticipated, but you still have to make do and go on with your day…the only problem is that I find myself almost hiding when I have a bad hair day. It's bad enough that many people still don't like or "understand" natural hair, and to walk around having a not so good hair day seems to confirm their misconceptions, but hey– what're you gonna do.

  • Anonymous says:

    I’m a Jr. living on a floor with all white freshmen girls and can relate to the fullest. I'm a long term transitioner so my head is half perm half natural, it looks awesome. Yet, I was afraid of the looks and "hair questions" I would get. However, one day I dared myself to try it (mission: brush my teeth with big twist in my hair) and I'll tell you I got some of the funniest looks. It was quite amusing so I started laughing to myself. They probably thought I was crazy. Kind of one those take a picture if you’re gonna stare so much moments! But after that day, when I have to walk down the hallway to the bathroom with big twist or twist fro and that self conscious fear creeps into my mind I think back to that funny moment and the worry is gone!

  • Anonymous says:

    When I lived in the dorms I had a huge issue with this as well as I was one out of 4 Black women in my freshman class. At the time, I had pressed hair but the same hair care anxiety applied. I had a satin bonnet that I wore in the evenings and during heavy group study sessions in the common rooms. All the women (at an all women's college) would comment on it and boy, did I feel awkward. I told my mother about my issue and she bulk ordered 50 "satin" bonnets in our dorm colors to distribute during the next dorm meeting. So I did. Everyone had one and all the ladies were excited about it. Many actually wore them and added their own adornments to create spirit. Eventually I became lax in my haircare as one typically does in the middle of an insane university schedule. Whenever I did, no one cared and if anything we would compare crazy hair heights or angles. Of course that was back in the late 90s.

    Nowadays, with images and video made easily available to the public domain, I'd probably be a bit paranoid – to be honest. I'd still try sharing bonnets/scarves with some dormmates but I'd be a waay more cautious about showing myself in a light that I would regret seeing online a few years later.

    -echoparkgal

  • modest-goddess says:

    I feel anxiety before job interviews and whenever I visit family. I feel like I'm expected to have a good hair day everyday and if I don't it will be blamed on my natural hair.

  • Anonymous says:

    i can definitely relate. i just big chopped like 3 weeks ago, but i have enough hair for twists out..which is what i've been doing..but the first time my roomie saw me with my hair in twists…soooo funny

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