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!”
This is a powerful & amazing story. She remembers that she is an image of God & remembers that he's all things that are living, including her beautiful hair.
****Standing Ovation**** Thank you for this article. Talk about a "right-on-time" post. I've been natural for years, but never loved it. It was simply an economical / practical choice. I finally just prayed to God to help me love my own hair. Help me BELIEVE & KNOW that what's on my own head is not a mistake, is not damaged or defective, but beautiful the way He made it. I'm getting there! This post wasn't for everyone, but it certainly was for ME! One million thank-you's!!! NGK
I LOVED this article! The Bible scripture was perfect. Some people are getting too technical. That scripture had nothing to do with natural hair but totally makes sense when you compared it to going natural. It was a great example. God bless!
@Anonymous re: leopard-print dress…its in dabackada closet, Dawg! ROFL!!! N~
Amazing post, beautiful hair, and lovely words!
And I STILL say you need a skintight leopard-print dress to rock with that hair!! 😉
AMAZING, AMAZING, AMAZING!!! Absolutely wonderful!! Amen!!
This is an excellent post and I am so grateful to have read it. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us.
Great post! I think as we get older and if you are following God's teachings you start to realize that your authentic self is all that matters you don't need to please others only God! So I think that comes into play for some naturals. It really does take courage not to care what others have to say about you or your hair. I mean this is how it grows out of our heads and our own people who are, and I mean this in the best way, ignorant and they look at you crazy because you are actually going to wear your hair how it grows out of your head?!
My spirit was so blessed with ths post. A transformation of mind is so needed in this world today. Thank you for this timely blessing in my life.
Thanx for all the conversation, everyone! I am truly humbled that these thoughts could spark others!! My blog is meant to be more of a devotional than anything else. Scripture and Hair?? Yeah…I see you!;oD But that was my point. To share my view on the connections that can be made between deep eternal truths and a seemingly superficial topic. If I ascribed to a different belief, I would probably be quoting their books as well…that's just me! I try to use any and every medium I can to remind me of the Source of my life…this blog is an extention of that.
Seeing as I know of NO scripture that describes kinks or relaxed hair beyond the pearly gates, I would be dead wrong to put on my white robe down here just because my hair has "nappatude"! LOL! If hair TRULY reflects spiritual journey, then I would rather assume that a relaxed sister simply finds no inner reflection in natural hair for herself. That would be non-judgemental and a better testimony to unity of souls. This is all just a personal description of my journey and observations seen through the lense of my opinions as illuminated by the light of my belief system. Then again…isn't every blog?
P.S. Thanx for the note on Las Dominicanas! I realize that is a nationality, not a race…my description was a colloquial oversimplification that is common to the culture of Turks and Caicos, where I am. The races of that nation are beautifully and complexly intertwined. Hence…dem chicks sho 'NUF kno what to do with ANY head!! (Shoutout to Lucia & Lisette) Please keep this conversation going! It is beautiful to see that the words that bump around in my gray matter have been bumping around in other's as well!
I never thought about it like that! Speak! Amen, amen and amen.
Too many have been convinced that their God given hair is ugly as that's what society pushes and lets not forget for centuries that's what blacks were told when they were brought here as slaves, sadly the mindset continues today for SOME!!
Great post. I also had to be transformed in my mind. The relaxer fumes, constant use of heat and the change in my hair color from the relaxer helped me to transform and transition.
@Annie L. absolutely agree. I remember being about 6 or 7 and laughing at a classmate who was teased because her hair could barely be braided, and the hair bow had nothing much on which to attach. **Hangs head and shouts SORRY.**
@anon 8:54 a.m. I Cor 6 refers to the Romans who committed indecent acts in the temples as they made offerings to gods.
'I think I speak for most of us when I say we didn't know how our hair was perceived as youngsters' Anonymous 12:07pm
I disagree. I feel the exact opposite, that many knew exactly how their hair was perceived from a very young age.
I love everything you said! It was perfect to include the scripture because life is a spiritual experience; every breath, word, transformation, and deed.
It is true that women of color with relaxers, weaves, locs, or fierce fros struggle with the imposition of eurocentric ideals.
However; I find that going natural is truly a special experience because the depth of psychological damage within our communities is made extra clear with every side eye and debasing comment.
So, for me..it is that deep..because looking in the mirror and finding oneself to be all wrong on the outside leads to a lot of wrong on the inside and a lot of mismanagement of ones life; which is what we see in many of our communities.
Yes, it is just hair and we are just beautiful beings roaming the earth.. perhaps..being all of yourself on the outside is how some people are figuring this out and cleansing themselves of all that they have experienced that made them feel inferior..one step at a time.
God and Jesus loves us all regardless of what we do as long as we have them in our hearts and ask for forgiveness he will forgive. I am a Baptist who is not perfect I know I have let God down plenty of times and he has never let me down, he is always there so when I need him I can just call on him. Just because people choose to wear jewelry or perm their hair does not mean God does not love them anymore I know our bodies are temples, but you can always go find him and repent before christ comes again and stop doing it.
@ anon 10:59: I have often heard scriptures being quoted re: natural hair choices and I don't get it either. Are women who relax their hair non-spiritual, or don't love themselves the way God made them? I get the sentiment, but I doubt that God cares if we use Fabulaxer or not.
To clarify, i think it's wonderful so many of us are embracing the hair that we're born with, and learning to take care of it and style it. But speaking of self love, are enough of us applying that same fervor to taking care of our bodies? —record scratch—— It would be great if the next major trend is Black women starting extensive health and fitness regimens, I know going natural has made me more knowledgable about what I put into my body. And yes, Nicole Cox has beautiful, thick hair.
@ anon 10:59 I hear you and you make a LOT OF SENSE! But only if it was that easy.:( I don't think the conditioned mind set of the black women steams from one specific thing, as in our hair.
I think I speak for most of us when I say we didn't know how our hair was preceived as youngsters. It wasn't until we were old enough to understand how some people including "our own" viewed our hair. That is hard to handle, when you are treated like this ALL YOUR LIFE! If you not taught about self esteem and loving yourself for who you are? Where is the self love going to come from?
For instance, we think about how our men, well some anyways don't appreciate our natural beauty (we worry about that), some focus on the "type" of curl they have, dark vs light, how long our hair is, etc. know what i mean? It does eventually come down to Loving yourself as God would love you.
However, I think like a plant needs water/light to grow, we need what ever it is that we need to get to that acceptance as well!:)
Your afro is gorgeous by the way.
I have seen it all. A Bible verse in a hair post. I don't know whether to laugh or shake my head. I want to say its not that deep. But Black women and wearing the hair as it comes out of the scalp is just that deep. Most naturals can attest that going natural is about 20% physical and 80% psychological. A renewing of the mind really has to take place. Its strange and sad but black women really don't have to march or join any petiton. All you have to do is love yourself as God loves you and THAT is the revolution.
Also, Ms. Cox, I love your hair.
Great post! It is all about appreciating how God has made us. Thank you!
Super encouraging! Thanks for this and thanks for posting it, Nikki!
1 Peter 3
3 Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. 4 Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. 5 For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to adorn themselves.
Great article! I'm not religious, but I do believe that "God" (who or whatever that is) made us perfectly. To attempt to please man by altering your appearance is kind of going against "God." It requires a transformation of the mind to be satisfied with yourself naturally. ("Dominican" is NOT a race. A lot of Dominicans have afro-textured hair & dark skin as a result of being mixed with African blood. Straight hair is preferred for most Dominican ladies.)
Lovely article! POWERFUL!
1 Corinthians 6
19 Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.