There were several issues I had to settle before I did “The Big Chop”!
Issue Number One: “How do I prep myself for the cultural kickback on letting go of my long locks of relaxed hair?”
My relaxer was installed every 4-6 weeks by my Dominican sisters (whom I still fiercely believe are the baddest chicks on the PLANET for a blow out!). Growing my hair has never been an issue and I think that is because I never obsessed over it. My philosophy has always been that hair just grows. So, let it do its thing and if you don’t like how its looking, get a bossy hair cut! Unfortunately, I was painfully aware that one of the features that was always casually mentioned in my physical description by others was that my hair (paired with my skin tone) make me look like a Dominican! Hmmm. Now, I know that was supposed to be a compliment. But that is what made me think the most. Why would that be a compliment? Why would it never be a compliment to say how someone’s hair makes them look like a Black girl? Was the concept of just having typical (if there is such a thing) Black hair social aesthetic suicide? Would the same people who showered me with vain glory and compliments do so if my hair was just…me?
There was something disturbing the heart of me when it came to my hair that I just couldn’t pinpoint. This coming from a chick who has rocked Jheri Curls, Leisure Curls, Wave Nouveau, and relaxers! This coming from a chick who grew her hair down past her shoulder blades and then cut it a la Toni Braxton! Let’s not even start on hair color!!! I think that even as a child I knew something was wrong with needing a “touch up” to be myself. Now, just to be clear, I don’t have a problem with other girls rocking their relaxers….do you! But that is my point…it was never me. It was a me that was chosen for me at a young age and that I was being CONSTANTLY told by society (yes, I mean Black folks!) made me pretty! And the worst part of it is that I did NOT naturally possess the silky, open curls that would (in the opinion of the same Black folks!) justify my letting go of processing my hair. I felt like I was trapped in a very dysfunctional cycle and my own people were perpetuating it! The final straw was when my 4 yr. old daughter let me know in no uncertain terms that she wanted long, beautiful hair like her FILIPINA classmate! She then buried me with the observation that her hair was not pretty like my hair and she wanted to make her hair like mine! Checkmate.
Romans 12:2 “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
Now this verse is talking about the renewing of your mind by the acceptance of Jesus Christ’s love and redemption! However, it is profound that the principle applies to every aspect of your life if you are ever to be 100% Natural from the inside out. It does not say be transformed that you will be more acceptable to man. Or in the case of we the Sisterhood, men! It says transforming the mind will help us to discern what is good and acceptable and perfect in God’s sight. Basically, transformation allows you to be able to blossom into the being that He, the Master Artist, had in mind when carving you in your mother’s womb. Some may say that God is not concerned with the outside appearance of us. And to some degree that is true. But I find it hard pressed to believe that a God who created such a vast variety of flowers, birds, butterflies and other colorful, graceful, awe striking things would not find simple pleasure in His ULTIMATE creation (yes, that would be YOU!) intelligently and intentionally expressing unashamed satisfaction with the vessel in which he planted our souls!
Solution to Issue Number One: “Transform my mind!”