After my wedding hair was shared on Bella Naija, I realized that people were still arguing about why having a relaxer in your hair was better, so I decided to share how this decision to go natural or get a perm is more than just convenience… it’s much deeper than that…
Many of you know my natural hair story, and how one of my close friends went to job interviews with a fro, and was able to get multiple job offers, which showed me that being natural would not exclude me from the working environment…
But after I went natural, I learned so many things, and this is why when people tell me that they are even considering going natural, I encourage them to do so, because even if it doesn’t work for you, you can always relax your hair later. So what are some of the things I learned?
- I learned that my identity had been tied to my hair for so long – I had long flowy hair for years, and it made me feel attractive. All of a sudden when I chopped off all of my hair, there was a lot of confusion inside – was I still beautiful? Was I still attractive to men? Was I still valuable? etc. It was a very challenging time, but I still found myself trying to hide behind makeup and jewelry, trying to make myself as “attractive” as possible. Eventually I just had to accept the beauty that was within… I had to lean on my friends for encouragement, and to realize that there was more to my identity than just long straight hair. And I had to realize that if a man was only attracted to me because the length of my hair, he was not really committed to me, because things like that always change.
- I learned to be patient – I wanted my hair to grow quickly after I chopped it. I wanted my coils to be well defined and long. I wanted to rock the hairstyles that I saw all these ladies rocking on youtube, and I wanted to rock the hairstyles NOW!! But I had to learn that good things are worth waiting for. I learned hairstyles that were good for my hair, I learned products that would keep my hair strong and moisturized, and then five years later, my hair was long enough for me to do just about any hairstyle I could think of.
- I learned to embrace imperfection – The thing about natural hair is that depending on the weather (AKA the humidity level) and the kinds of products you put in your hair, you rarely arrive at your destination with the same hairstyle you left your house with. I have spent hours putting curls in my hair, only to have all the curls drop in the middle of my date, leaving me with another “hairstyle.” I have had days I start out with a slicked down ponytail and end up with a frizzed up bun. I have had days where my twists look more like dread, and people ask me about my religious persuasion. But all in all I have learned to accept that even in the imperfection, beauty exists. Back when I had my relaxed hair, every strand needed to fall into place, everything had to look perfect- but with my natural hair, I rarely look for perfection, but try to keep everything as comfortable and natural as possible.
- Finally I have learned that it’s okay to be different, and to be comfortable being different- When I first went natural it was not quite the “in-thing” yet, especially in corporate environments, but my hair always made me stand out – sometimes positively, sometimes negatively. Some would call me the girl with the rough hair (yeah well I was still learning how to take care of my hair), others would call me the girl with the natural hair- I stood out, I made a statement, and I expected the world to knock me down – tell me that I was not beautiful enough, or smart enough, or that I wasn’t welcomed into the upper echelon. Instead the world embraced me, people encouraged me, celebrated me, and when I look back, I realize that it was the beginning of me accepting myself for the original person I was meant to be.
So how about you? Are you considering going natural? What is your “natural hair” story? has natural hair boosted your self confidence?
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