My Own Hair

My Amazing Natural Hair Journey

Back to Me

Back to Me…I heard Steve Harvey say this on his morning show this week. He was actually giving former “American Idol” Fantasia an idea for her next musical project. But I thought, with my lightning fast brain, I could use that for me.

“This whole natural hair journey has been about getting back to me.  And I will be brutally honest, sometimes it’s tough to see. My hair grade wouldn’t be considered fine, wavy or by some standards, even cute… but the opinion of others in this matter is really mute… You see…I’m on a jour-ney…to see…the real me…what God gave me naturally… grateful I’ll be… for the strands He gave me…’cause nobody else can do me”

I remember standing in the bathroom at work, looking at my hair and thinking, “I wish I had a certain type of hair.” It was at this point I realized, I was out of order in this process. I was trying to force myself to love my hair, without ever doing an internal inspection on how I really felt about it…in its natural state.

You see,  for almost 30 years (I’m soon to be 38), I’ve spent time doing the polar opposite of my natural hair state…perming, straightening, blow drying… all to make myself think that my hair looks better that way. When I had that thought about wishing I had a “certain grade hair,” it dawned on me, I hadn’t accepted my hair for what it truly was. And the funny thing is, I have a very curly grade of hair. Sure it takes the right product to get the natural curl to hold, and it looks different when it does curl, but it is my hair. No chemicals, no masks. Just my hair.

Weekends, I love to sport my hair in its natural state. But in corporate America, I’d been much more reserved, even asking, “What are people thinking when they see my own hair?” It’s dawned on me that I will need to do some research on our culture’s complex history, perception and relationship with our natural hair. Then, I must learn to love my hair. Not just tolerate it, but love my own hair. And I will do what it takes to get to this point…even make confessions toward it.

“I love my own hair.”

“I love my own hair.”

“I love my own hair.”

I must own it, accept it and embrace it. I said a small prayer the other night…and it might seem trivial at first thought, “God, I just accept me and the hair that you’ve given me.” I’d never done that before, but I realize this natural hair journey must first start within. You cannot force acceptance of your true state, your authentic self, from the outside in. It must start inside — what you feel internally will manifest on the outside. I have felt very uncomfortable with my true hair texture and it shows. But now…

Today, I end the war with me. It stops. No one else can do me… God has given me that assignment… just to be.

At first, it seems trivial, unimportant even. But our hair issues in the African American community have deep roots. It’s sometimes a love/hate relationship. We cannot look for approval from the outside in, we must first approve of ourselves and then sell others.

When someone asks you, as they did me recently, “How’s the natural hair thing going (while looking at my hair), we’ll say, “It’s going great. I love it. It is a wonderful journey.” A good friend told me this…we must sell our experience to others. Love that! But the sell can’t come before we truly embrace our hair, and love it.

 This natural hair journey is fun…it is cute…but at the end of the day…it will expose the real you.  My question to you is…can you handle the truth?  Take time to do some soul searching and self affirmation now. You will have to encourage yourself at some points.

Happy trails…

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