I’d been relaxing my hair for over 10 years, when on my 20th birthday I decided I wasn’t going to do it anymore. I was tired of the smelly chemicals, scabs on my head from perm burns (yes this is a thing), the long and obnoxious process and most importantly I was dying to know what my natural hair looked like. In the time I decided to start my process, there were a lot of other sisters and brothers embracing their natural hair, so I was inspired by their courage and decided to take the journey on for myself… and it has NOT been easy at all.
When the process began before I big chopped, I was in a period of transition where I had stopped relaxing my hair so all my new growth was curly but I still had my stringy, frail relaxed hair attached to the ends. It is not easy to cater to two different hair textures on the same head, y’all. You have to consider the different products, time involvement, heat damage, climate change, etc. So I was in transition for over a year when I decided to just cut it all off and big chop my hair, in an effort to start fresh and bring some ease to my life. Let me tell you, it was the best/worst decision I ever made. It was great because it made maintenance a breeze, I could focus on my natural texture and its needs alone and I got to see my curl pattern be unveiled in the process, which has been awesome. On the other hand, though, I saw how differently I was treated by people because of my unapologetic fro and it caused a lot of internal conflict within me that still exists. It also bought up a lot of emotions about beauty standards that I tried to hide because I was ashamed. Ultimately, however, it propelled me on this spiritual hair journey that has had its tests and triumph but has also helped me find myself.
After everything I’ve been through with my hair, I’ve become a better person. As if I’ve been eternally transformed by this process. And I have. Going natural has shown me my true beauty, one that I had been hiding from for years. In trying to fit in, satisfy my family and make men want me I was being disingenuous to my(higher)self. Once I made the decision to cut off my chemically-processed hair and allow my natural hair to grow, I felt a weight of shame, guilt, self-hatred and resistance shed. I won’t lie though, I sometimes still feel weighed down by society’s judgements and views of natural hair, I mean I still have to maneuver through the matrix, right? Just because my spiritual hair journey has turned out successful, doesn’t mean my life in the “real world” has been radically transformed. On the other hand, I feel a lot more resentment, anger and judgement at my image than I did before. The difference is that this time around it’s not my own, it’s mostly other people’s. People like my family who constantly push me to go to the salon and get a wash and set or like the dominican women in the salons who exacerbate the shame a lot of naturals feel by staring when I walk in, harassing me to get a relaxer and even using inflammatory language to refer to my hair.
Nevertheless, I’ve found the goddess within by killing the demons who once ruled my self image. Going natural has made me appreciate life and nature, in re-growing my hair I’ve realized how much I am like plants and animals, in need of love light and water for sustenance. Ultimately my curly, kinky, in-your-face fro has made me see myself for who I really am; a beautiful, wise, gifted soul just looking for her way back home and loving her newfound halo.