By Chai of Back to Curly
A few years ago I was in dire need of a shoulder to lean on, a certified guru who’d lend a discerning ear & dish out advice on how to best nurse my heat rattled natural hair back into shape. I wasn’t looking to find answers online, let alone in the depths of the now growing YouTube phenomena, yet it worked. Unconventional? Perhaps. Yet this has long been the foundation of the still growing ‘natural hair movement.’ No rules. So, this one’s for the skeptic, short attention spanned newly natural (or veteran) who’s in need of that final push to whip her natural hair beauty game into gear. Start here. Start anywhere….but just Start! This here’s also about how to best use the tools now available to you without feeling defeated, overwhelmed & in a growing tizzy!
Easier said than done, but there truly is an art in listening to others tell their stories, explain their woes and in turn feel empathetic. Listening means stepping outside of your own box, letting down your own walls and abandoning a few judgmental tendencies we’ve often carried with us. Listening in essence leaves us open for the opportunity to learn more about others, as well as ourselves & to feel a connection.
Again, relatively easy but still something that requires a certain skill set. It’s not uncommon for those first embarking on the natural hair journey to feel bombarded and overwhelmed with beautiful images & tutorials. Begin with what makes you comfortable, but don’t shy away from a challenge, try something new! If you feel daring, start a small journal & log in your favorite quotes, women of inspiration and ideas that can help you along your journey. The natural hair community is bursting with information; don’t be afraid to be selective & cultivate your own path. This is your journey, no one else’s.
We’re getting to the fun part, but first it’s time to overcome some hurdles. Before you let anyone else touch your glorious fro…start with you! Set aside some time, an afternoon or just 15 minutes each week to experiment with your now growing mane. This task is not limited to those in TWA status, but includes those transitioning with braids, twists etc. Often times the best way to explore any journey, is to expound on your own limitations. Have I mentioned this amazing place called YouTube?
At this point if your mind isn’t abuzz with questions, repeat steps 1-3, because now’s the time to engage in some communal activity. It matters not what avenue you choose, but participating in a few curl friendly forums, online networking, and blog activity can yield your own network of personal support. I mentioned prior the importance of pillars & building, though in order to reach that goal we must all put forth the effort. The concept of community starts with action, our job is to fuel that energy by participating and lending our own voice the best way we know how. Take action, participate or even organize your own natural hair meet up in your area – you’d be surprised at the turnout and support you receive.
Most likely, a lot easier said than done if you’re overcoming pangs of frustration. I’ve met several women who often shy away from the natural hair community because it’s ‘home base’ is primarily online. If you’re not entirely internet savvy (…though if you’re reading this, there’s still hope☺), pick up/download a book, print out that article a curl friend sent you eons ago, write in the margins if you have to, but make it a goal to have fun! Know yourself, understand your reasons for going natural & enjoy the ride.
One of the best parts about the natural hair community is the contributions that so many women (and men) have made in such a short period of time. It demonstrates an urgency many of us feel to overcome old stereotypes and to know that above all else, we are all here for a reason, at the same time, to learn from one another & to grow