My natural hair story
I think that up until 2011 it was “abnormal” to see a black woman from the age of 16 to 80 wearing her natural hair. The use of hair straightener and wigs became an automatism, making the use of your natural hair, as you were born abnormal. Fortunately for the past 7 years, this has changed considerably. More and more black women have made the decision to start wearing their natural hair again. Some do it to self-accept themselves and others just as a trend.
But incredible as it may seem, this change of attitude or believe has generated lots of discussions. Some in favor and others against. We may or we must as black women wear our natural hair or not? Obviously, the answers to these questions should never be a collective one. Every woman should be free to wear her hair as she wants and understands. To me what it’s important is that the fact that each one of us can make a sincere definition of what this freedom means. In today’s post, I will explain how I made mine.
In 2011 after seeing a talk from an Afro-American youtuber about natural hair I began to reflect about the reasons that led me to straighten my hair for the first time (something I had never done before). I remembered that I did not really do it for myself, but for the “norms” of beauty established in the whole world. After the arrival of the famous hair straightening creams, I kept hearing comments like this: if straighten your hair it will reach your back, you will look so beautiful, you old enough to straighten your hair, etc. “. After that, even before I knew it, having long and straightened hair falling over my shoulders became my main reason for an altercation with my dad (I was a teenager at the time). My hair was perhaps “pretty” the first time (but not prettier as I was made to believe), and then it looked horrible. To me, the use of hair straightener is comparable with the use of drugs.
Because once you put that in your hair, your hair will not be the same again. And every time the hair grows a little you have to continue straightening it to maintain the same capillary texture, “stretch the root”, as they say. As a result, of this, my hair became increasingly weak, ugly and had a strange brown color. Keeping it healthy and beautiful required a lot of effort and energy. But the desire to have straight, curly or wavy long hair till my back did not stop there. Before I knew it, I was wearing the famous lace wigs. Of course, always straightening my hair first. After all, my hair had to look similar to the wig (lol). I rarely wore my own hair and without noticing it became increasingly weaker. The use of wigs became a way of life. It took me a while to realize it because more than 80% of black women, like me, did the same thing.
Wake up call
Upon reflecting, I realized that during and after the slavery, consciously and unconsciously a complex of inferiority was developed about our hair. This is true to all women regardless of the social class. This complex is so deep root in our conscience that we often hear comments like; “your mother has good genes,” simply by having slightly less kinky hair than the 4c for example, have become normal. For the first time, I stopped to think of how many times I went out without a wig and how long I went without seeing the texture of my own hair. Obviously, I was amazed to realize that in 1 year I probably went out 1 or 2 times without a wig and that I stayed for more than 14 years without seeing the true texture of my hair.
I started going back to all the times I didn’t correct my colleagues and friends from other races, when they complimented me about my hair, how beautiful, how full it was when actually they were referring to the wig I was wearing. I was amazed and had to recognize to myself that unfortunately, I was not an exception. I was part of this larger group of black women who had unconsciously developed an inferiority complex because of the texture of their hair. But even so, I did not know how big this complex was until I felt the resistance in me to go out on the street with my natural hair. Despite being in a transition process, in which I had to slowly cut off the straight hair while the new grew, which ended in January 2012.
From thereon I could already walk with my natural hair. However, it was not before 2014 (2 years later) that I stopped covering it with wigs and use proudly in its natural form. This resistance surprised me a lot because I always thought to be someone with a high self-esteem (just not lol). But that high self-esteem was lent from the wigs and the hair straighteners, lol.
he first and greatest advantage of all is freedom. The feeling of freedom being yourself is unexplainable and priceless. I started not only to know and love my hair again but also to start a journey of learning about everything that is good for my hair, body, and soul. As a result, my self-esteem has become very high. Today I use my natural hair 90% of the year. The other 10% I use braids just to vary. I cannot see myself wearing wigs again and the bonus is the tears in my eyes of emotion every time my 9-year-old daughter asks me to make her an afro like mine.
The second advantage is the absurd amount of money I saved by stopping straightening my hair and using wigs. To think that I already paid € 400 for a lace wig when did not even a driving license, It makes me almost hit myself. The lace wigs and the regular wigs are the number one financial priorities of many black women. Today I see how absurd that this is. The third is the elevation of your self-esteem. By using my natural hair my self-esteem increased. And this is reflected in my image, way of speaking, walking, moving, etc. I am almost always in a good mood, which in turn adds to the happiness of people closest to me.
Except for the rain, the snow, and the wind that messes the afro, I do not see any disadvantages in using my hair again.
Whether we like it or not, using our natural hair is an act of resistance and self-acceptance. It is to say not to the complexities and standards of beauty defined by a discriminatory and racist society. So before defending or criticizing the decision to wear your hair natural again, I advise all black women to go back and think about the reasons that led them to straighten their hair for the first time. Some did not even do it by choice. This choice was made by the mother or educator. The use of our own hair is what should be normal. The lace wigs and the rest are supposed to be used as an accessory, just as we do with earrings and bracelets. And not because we consider our hair ugly, bad, unhealthy etc ..
I hope you enjoyed the post. And do not forget to dream and always fight for the fulfillment of your dreams.