Oddly enough, one of the biggest obstacles I’ve had to face during the early phases of my first BIG CHOP was something far more delicate and difficult to ignore than frequent quips from ignorant family and friends. While those instances are just as important to confront and learn from during the natural hair journey, coming to terms with the changes in my own personal thinking seemed always the biggest hurdle.
During the days after my first BC, I was left feeling helpless and bordering on failure. Standing in front of the mirror with a boar bristle in one hand (incredulous!), and a tub of Aloe gel in the other to slick down and hide the massive growth sprouting from my head was a regular occurrence.
Imagine giving birth to something you’d envisioned for so long, wanted and craved because of all the incredible things you’d heard (not so silly…), only for it to arrive and have nothing to feed and nurture it with, simply because you were not mentally prepared.
The love part, that some of us instantaneously expect doesn’t always happen, and while that’s okay…even normal, being unafraid to wait takes even more strength. The love…the adulation is worth having and worth waiting for if your reasons for going natural were honest, and solely for you.
The most effective way to silence your own worst critic and gain a more firm footing on the image you see before you in the mirror…is to make time for yourself. Don’t rush your thinking about what your hair ‘could’ look like, what it ought to be, instead face the fear. If it is small, stomp it out. If it is large and overbearing, stemming from years of hidden insecurities, claim it before it collapses your wall of confidence and the burden of rebuilding is all you see.
I love this quote from Sociology of Sheena, “the power of contentment lies already in you. You can be your own source.”
Our worst critics…even those found within the confines of our own thinking are our best guides. Abuse them if you have to, but don’t ignore them, nor allow them to manifest into something greater than what you foresee. Be your own source…envision it, until you’re able to claim what’s yours.
Love post. All my life I have been my own worst critic when it came to my hair (plus other things) and I am very thankful that all the resources that are available to teach people how to take care of their natural hair. A majority of my family are naturals with long hair, but they have always had a stylist to take care of their hair on the island. I truly think embracing yourself and learning how to care for your hair is the first step to empowerment in order to love yourself unconditionally. (no matter your curl pattern, natural, relaxed, etc.)
Your post on this topic is well written and beautiful. Thank you for sharing.
I agree with this article and for me I knew what I wanted after seeing other naturals on YouTube then various hair blogs…that freedom, that style HOWEVER, one have to be honest with what THEIR texture is rather than hoping for someone's else and then becoming dissapointed and/or insecure when reality slaps them in the face. Once you get past all the silliness of the various natural chicas' pictures and constant discussions of "my type is 3c with a mix of 4a" a kinky/coily girl can thrive. Once again I still feel it's an age thing (20s-30s somethings) still preoccupied with the smallest of flaws…imagined or real.
Great article! Fear of how "attractive" I would be perceived by the masses is what kept me relaxing my hair for years. Once I came into my own, started loving myself for ME, and stopped caring what others thought, I was able to literally shave my entire head and let my natural beauty emerge and shine through. Thanks for sharing your story Chai!
very interesting take….there are so many naturals who when they first went natural were disappointed because of their (lack of) curl pattern, length, etc and it can really get in the way of enjoying the new look when you expected it to be something different.
i like that about facing the fears, even if YOU are your biggest obstacle