Monday, February 9, 2009

Going the natural route, Part I

My first thought before I started writing this blog was, well, does this really go with all of the other posts on my blog? The rest of them are all poetic and about relationships, and this is about hair...

*Yuck!* I can't wait until I shed that final layer of giving a fuck about what other people think. I'm getting there, slowly but surely.

Since this is my blog, and my words, I think I can write about anything I want to, at any time I want to, since it is mine, after all. (this is me having to cheer myself on. It be like that sometimes.) Besides, hair represents a type of relationship also. A very poignant one for African-American women.

The picture on the top is me in May of '08. I loved my hair then. The remnants of my 2006 highlights had grown out and been cut off when I got my hair cut in a short bob in February of 2008. My hair was soft and silky... permed, but still fly. I got so many compliments on my hair. I used to wash it, let it air dry, and then just flat iron it and dry wrap it every night. Spray some leave-in conditioner on my scalp and roll with it.

The picture on the bottom is me in June of 2008. Trust me, the hair is still permed, but decidedly more nappy than the pic on the left (meaning I had gone more than 4 weeks without a perm). The brown is my natural hair color (after many summers in the Florida sun + swimming), and this is one of the chance-y hair styles that happened after I braided/twisted (I am NO hairstylist, that's for sure) my hair right out of the shower, and tried to wrap them in little knots on my head, and let them dry. I took them apart and then ran my fingers through my hair, and that's what I got. I call it a "chance-y" hairstyle because every time I've done it, it's looked different... depending on the nappiness of my hair, how wet it was when I twistbraided it, how I twistbraided it, etc.

Right now, my hair is styled in kinky twists (+ weave, not just my hair), and I am getting ready to take them out and figure out what to do next. I have finally decided that I want to go natural. This has not been an easy decision. A number of years have easily gone by without my recognition.

I remember the first time I thought about going natural, forreal forreal. I was looking through a book on Black hair, with gorgeous pictures littered throughout the text, and I saw a picture of a woman with dreads that were wavy and down her back. They were so beautiful, and I thought, I want that for my hair. So, I did what anyone else would do. I told someone else what I thought. To feel out how the idea was received. I told my mother about me *thinking* I wanted to go natural, and she was less than enthused. This immediately made me feel like that was not the right thing to do, because it did not meet her enthusiam, which made me feel as though it would not meet her approval. It's a hard road in getting to that place when you live your life sans needing the "approval" of others, because that most likely will mean people that you care about, but it's a journey I'm safely on.

Well, I kept perming my hair, because I thought, I just can't have hair that I can't run my fingers through. And then I thought, what happens when I get married and I want to have a pretty style and my edges are all nappy... I know you know how stupid that sounds. (and now, so do I.) Nevertheless, the natural thoughts kept plaguing me. And it seemed every time I thought about going natural, I would cling ever closer to that permed hair mentality. Even though the times I have rocked an afro, I have always loved the energy it garnered (even causing a cashier in Walgreens to stop and have a conversation about my hair and how much he loved it and how not many girls were doing the natural thing!)

At the end of '08, I colored my hair again and found that although the color was bangin' and it also gained many compliments for me, I started to lose that silkiness and look that my hair had before I colored it. My hair was dry as hell, and there was nothing I could do about it. Because I didn't know what to do. I just kept perming it, but with every perm, I thought, I am killing my hair.

The last time I permed my hair was November of 2008. I just didn't feel like it anymore. I felt bad for my hair. I guess that was my final answer that natural was the way of life for me. It started out as me simply being lazy and not wanting to pay for another relaxer, but it was always rooted in that desire to just be... natural. To finally know what my hair's real texture is. I have NEVER seen my hair completely natural. For as long as I can remember, my hair has been permed. But no more. I'm ready to make lots of changes in my life, and my hair is one of them. Instead of being the slave to the perm box every month, I'm ready to be the master of the natural state of my hair, the one my ancestors gave to me.

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