One of my friends who recently BC’d decided that natural hair was not for her, “I haven’t felt pretty since the day I cut my hair.” She told me over brunch. She made an appointment and slapped in a perm on hair that I thought was gorgeous in all of its TWA coily glory.
I don’t blame her at all, because sometimes I want to slap a perm in my head too. In fact, I have thoughts about succumbing to the creamy crack about seventy percent of the time, especially when I am in front of the mirror trying to make myself ‘presentable’.
Unlike some others, I did not go natural because I wanted to live a healthier life. I definitely did not go natural because I watched Chris Rock’s documentary Good Hair. I went natural because I was simply tired of fighting with my hair.
I have had issues with my hair since my mother decided to put Just for Me Relaxer on my head. I have thin hair that even after it is straightened within an inch of its life, lays limp. The straightness of the perm fades away fast as my true nappy roots refuse to be tamed. My hair has never grown past the top of my clavicle bones, no matter how many serums my mother squeezed into my scalp. In fact, I am sure one of those “magical hair growth” serums caused my already thin hair to practically disappear. That is right; I had “see through” hair.
I was obsessed with braids for a while, until my edges screamed for a break. Then in college, I discovered the convenience of weaves. As I got older, I was able to afford expensive weaves that appeared more natural and lasted longer. I have to be honest; I loved wearing weaves except for the itching that was hard to scratch and the constant fear that the wind would reveal my carefully concealed edges.
So I decided to “go natural” after watching a few YouTube videos and hours spent on numerous popular hair blogs. They had me convinced that my nappy hair could also sport luxurious twist outs, Bantu knots, and powerful afro puffs. Well I discovered a few things about my hair; it does not resemble anything remotely close to “curly,” my Bantu knots look more like Bantu nots and afro puffs give me headaches. I have also noticed that when I wear my hair out, Black women give me that “girl go grab a comb” look, while White women ooh and ahh over my hair. What’s that about?
Relaxed hair was easy. On my bad days, I could pull it up in a ponytail. Natural hair forces me to come face to face with my insecurities and with society’s criticisms. I’ve also learned that with natural hair I work out more regularly, I spend less time in the salon, and surprisingly this is the most confident I’ve ever been in my life. On the days that my hair does give me that good hair day, it is almost worth all the headache. Although having natural hair sometimes feels like a second job, there is no way I can go back to the creamy crack.