I have been on a natural hair journey for about 4 years. Having relapsed about twice, I have now been natural for over a year. Meaning no perms, texturizers, and a big chop.
My initial venture into natural hair ended in a relaxer due to my own ignorance and insecurity. It is difficult to gather courage to wear your hair in a way that has been vilified by the people closest to you since you can remember.
My father's side of the family is said to have 'Indian in the family'. Okay, right! My mom is said to have Indian in her family too. **insert sarcasm** With all these Indians in my family, how come I have never been to a Pow-Wow? I'm just saying.
My aunts and uncles on my dad side would fawn, literally fawn, over my sister's hair. She looked more liked them with a straighter grade of hair. I thought this was the dumbest thing an adult could do. I, on the other hand, looked like my mom with big thick curls that needed the fear of God to be put in them to behave. lol
As a child, I hated to get my hair combed. I had really long, thick hair. I, also, had a fear of the dreaded straightening comb. How damaging is it to come at a child with a searing hot iron, talking about, don't move or I'll burn you? That's some Penny fom Good Times abuse. lol. And I hated it.
Then came the perm at around age 13. Whole other story.
So natural felt good. Except for my family, who daily told me I needed to perm my hair. There were jokes and ridicule. Finally, my brother, who wears locks by the way, told me my hair made me look old. I felt so bad, I relaxed my hair again.
Then I moved away. Without the daily put downs, I found the courage to go natural and have never looked back.
One day while waiting on the train, a black girl looked at me and said, "You have really nice hair. Is it natural?" So I said "Thank you", feeling good about my natural choice, "it's natural." The next thing she said made me sad again. "Man, you are so lucky."
Lucky? That word brought me back to my child hood and my Indian hair having relatives fawning over hair texture like it gave you superpowers or something.
So I am including a Nappiness Guide for all of you texturally challenged folk looking for the courage to go natural.
- Expectations – Don't expect Tracee Ellis Ross' hair, if you don't have Tracee Ellis Ross' genes. Be happy to be nappy.
- Learn to love your kinks – Stop calling it curly-kinky or curly-afro. That's just a way to distance yourself from your hair's Africanness. Put an 'Indian Hurr' twist to it.
- End of an era- You cannot use the same kind of shampoos, conditioners on natural hair that you have used on relaxed hair. They are incompatible. I like Miss Jessie's products and natural oil concoctions I make myself.
- Have fun. Try different styles, accesories, and scarves.
- Find online communities and blogs that support the natural hair thing. It's not so hard. You are on one now.
- Share your hair stories. There is healing in sharing so drop me a comment.
I love my hair because it is my God given gift. I wanted to add a picture but the flash put gold lights in my hair and you could not see it clearly. Oh well.