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Curly Nikki

When Natural Hair Disturbs Family Ties

By January 27th, 20215 Comments
When Natural Hair Disturbs Family Ties
by Bennii of Benniiblast.com

Over the last few months, I have scrolled through countless posts where transitioning women have shared their stories of mothers, sisters, boyfriends/husbands etc being less than encouraging about their decision to go natural. As a transitioner myself, I understand what it takes for someone to make the decision to change a habit of what seems like a lifetime, by letting go of those ‘beloved’ relaxers. So, when I hear the worries of a first month transitioner contemplating on going back on the lye because of the negative views of others, it really gets under my skin…

For the longest time, we have had it instilled in us that ‘God loves us no matter what we look like’, by our mother’s and father’s. If this is the case, why are some relatives quick to tell us things like; ‘it’s time for you to get a relaxer’ or, ‘curly hair doesn’t look good on you’? Is this a sad case of hypocrisy perhaps? It seems that maybe God only loves us in their eyes if we are not going against the grain and fitting a particular image. I understand that yes, it may be hard for those around you who are accustom to seeing you look one way to see this change, but to completely refuse to support someone whom you love in wanting to do what makes them happy is a real shame.

One thing that really gets to me is the cheek some people have in believing that they should be the one to make a decision like this for you. For example, you decide where you work, what clothes you wear, and what kind of food you eat because they were YOUR decisions to make. YOUR hair is growing from YOUR head so why should someone else make the decision about what you do with it? In my eyes, it shouldn’t effect our relatives lives in any way whatsoever, whether your hair is natural, relaxed or bright pink with orange highlights. It doesn’t stop you from being a good sister, girlfriend/wife or daughter, so I cannot imagine what justifiable reason there could be for this kind of behaviour.

I know how hard this journey can be sometimes and having to deal with negative remarks from family can make it 10 times harder, so here are a few suggestions that may help:

Educate and Inform:

Sit down with your family members and explain to them how damaging relaxers are to not just your hair, but also your health. Visit your favourite natural hair communities (blogs, forums etc) and allow them to see the bigger picture – they may have been misinformed which have caused false preconceptions.

Reassurance:

Let your relative know that you are the same person you were before you started your journey, and that your hair is only accountable for a small part of who you are.

Dig further when negative comments are made:

If someone in your family is constantly making negative comments about your hair, sit down with them and encourage them to explain to you why they are behaving like this, knowing how it makes you feel – try to get to the root of where this negativity is coming from

Try to ignore comments:

If comments are made – don’t rise to them. Sometimes all people want is to know they can get a reaction out of you, so don’t give them the satisfaction

Surround yourself with like-minded people:

When you feel that the lack of support from your family is really getting to you, jump on to your favourite hair blogs and read stories about successful transitioners. It will give you the boost you need. Hang out with people who you know will discuss other things than hair and will hopefully take your mind off of things. You could also avoid being around negative family members at times when you are feeling particularly vulnerable about your hair.

It takes someone who is strong and not afraid of change to make the decision to transition. You have already shown that you believe you have what it takes to go on this journey by actually starting it – so don’t start doubting yourself now. At the end of the day, we are the same people we were before we started this journey. Selfishness and pride should not stop someone from supporting someone they love in doing what makes them happy.

What we look like should not unsettle our relationships with those who truly love us.

5 Comments

  • BenniiBlast says:

    Hi Ladies

    @Anon 8:22 I totally agree with you 'No one's obligated to tolerate abuse from anyone'. Just the other day a friend of mine was telling me that her mum TOLD her she's not allowed to grow locs. I guess some people feel disrespectful standing up to their parents…

    @Artconfident I'm really glad things worked out for you, and I couldn't even imagine my dad cutting my hair for me, so props for that lol. Yeah I guess that if all you've known is relaxed hair, then natural hair will be a foreign topic to you. However, I don't think that it's acceptable to push your views onto others

  • Artconfident says:

    When I first said I wanted to go natural to my mom, i told her i wanted to cut all my hair off, she didnt like it and always said "no" until I showed her a video of what i wanted to do from youtube, then she approved. With my dad, I told him i wanted to cut my hair off and let my natural texture grow, he supported it from the time I first told him, in fact the two days after i told him, he was the one who did my big chop LOL. he used to have long natural hair and would tell me stuff about what he did to make it soft and managable. No he didnt go bald, he keeps his head bald by choice because he has had hair all his life and just got tired of taking care of it. My brother didnt believe me when i said i was going to cut my hair off, he'd always ask sarcastically, "when r u going to cut your hair off" I'd always reply "when im ready" so when my dad was cutting it off, my brother was shocked and was like "never thought id see the day" LOL so I was supported because I showed them what i wanted to do, and one of my parents was even experienced in natural hair. I think for some people who havent ever experienced natural hair are the main ones to dislike the idea.

  • Anonymous says:

    One thing I like to add is to arm yourself with an arsenol of slick witty comments back. We all know where these mean comments come from-self-hate thru and thru. People (grown folks) can become bullies if you let them. Put them in their place. Even with elders, respectfully state mean comments are not cool. i dont care what it was like when you grew up. They keep saying stuff, bounce. When they start calling about why they dont see you no more, let them know youve been patient for too long. If you dont like my style, dont say anything about it. You'll find out real quick who your real family is. No one's obligated to tolerate abuse from anyone.

  • Anonymous says:

    Well said. It reminds me of how lucky I was/am to come from open-minded people who cared much more about what was IN our heads than how our hair looked ON them.

  • MrsWardy88 says:

    This was a great post. I deal with some of the same things.

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