My natural hair journey
Since I was a little girl my hair has always been a topic of conversation. I was that little girl with the apple head and mane full of curls. Remembering back when I was 4 years old, being the only girl in school with huge hair and the weird looks I would get from other girls in my class. To me, my hair was normal but once I was around my classmates I noticed straight hair was the thing. My mom was protective over people touching my hair so she would always have my hair in protective styles (box braids,corn rows, twist, in-braids, french braids etc. you name it).
I had my first huge chop when I was entering my fourth grade year. Honestly couldn't stand combing through my hair, I would literally brush it and pull it back into a bun and slick down the front with gel and call it a day. My mom was tired of me not taking care of my hair this summer, making it clear that she wasn't going to deal with struggling to comb through it. So she took a scissor to my hair in the shower and went to town. As my hair hit the tub, I cried telling her to stop and she explained to me why she was doing it to teach me to take care of my hair. At this age my hair was curly and at the the top of my butt. When she was finished cutting, my hair was shoulder length and puffy, and that made me cry even more.
Looking back I understand the lesson in cutting it off because it would be like a cat fur in the center of my head. So, I rocked short hair the rest of that summer and didn't even miss it once I accepted the fact it will grow back. My mom was also teaching me the importance of letting go and knowing that it will grow back and it did triple time. Naturally my hair grows like wildfire, I was raised greasing my scalps on Sunday and deep conditions so there was always a regiment. At the end of the day she always said to me it's just hair.
During elementary I noticed more and more every year I couldn't wait for fall/winter to hit so I can straighten my hair without it being a waste of $75 dollars. Yes, 75 bucks is how much I use to have to pay in order to get my hair laid by dominicans. For the length and texture of my hair at 9 my mom was paying an arm and a leg for a blow out that didn't last long because I was that kid that would get a fresh blow out and be at a block party in Harlem or Brooklyn the next day, sweating it out in dance competitions. So, when I wanted to switch my look up and I would honestly dread it because being popped with the comb or hit with a brush (because my mom would get annoyed her arms were hurting) or I didn't have my head turned a certain way.
My hair was constantly in different styles and when I wasn't going to the salon mom would section my hair in parts, blow one piece out at a time and then lay my hair on the iron board and iron my hair. Yup, I said it IRON. That's before flat irons were a thing. Right before entering High School in New Jersey, I told my mom I wanted my hair as straight as Tia and Tamara whom I looked up to since I was like 4 or 5 years old. So, my mom decided to put a perm in my hair that knocked out my curls for 2 years straight. When I say my hair was fried noodles, it was exactly that no curl at all.
My first two years of high school I went through a stage of hating my hair because of how broken off it was, so here it goes again my sophmore year I went for another chop and by the time my Junior year hit my curls were back and better than before. Now that I had my curls back, finding products that were meant for curly hair was non-existent. I used tons of dominican hair products and mousse to keep my hair well conditioned and tamed. By the time I was entering college, my hair was back and forth from my lion mane to straight, thats when I started to gain a greater appreciation for having the ability to be versatile and not damaging my hair.
Overall, I have to say this is by far the hardest topic for me to speak on. This blog post took me a week to complete because speaking on my hair journey just felt so vein to me, like the importance of hair -- yes, hair some women are taught to glorify but, in my household my parents always taught me the importance of always being humble and not allowing physically features to rule me. As much as I've accepted myself entirely talking about the things I went through with my hair to get to where I'm at now, brings so many different feelings for me. Every time I've cut my hair in my life it has made me feel less heavy and free.
I hope that anyone traveling down the natural hair lane, you love yourself no matter what stage you're at in your hair journey. Always remember it will grow back, your texture may not be the same as the next but, it makes you unique and theres no such thing as "GOOD HAIR" anyone can have "good hair" if its being taken care of properly. Know that you are beautiful and you have so much to offer the world outside of your mane, your mane is just an added bonus.