My Own Hair

My Amazing Natural Hair Journey

Is This a Movement (Part II)? Overcome your hair fears.

First of all I want to respond to our Facebook forum. Great stuff ladies and gents.  April and Tiki, I understand both your points on the “reasons” people embark on this journey. I wish I could say that I started this because I wanted to get to the real me.  Instead a chemical burn “led” me (lol) this route. But, once that happened I knew I wouldn’t turn back. To each his or her own, I’m with Maria on her comment, you have to “do you.”  There are some naturals who bash those who perm…but I’d never do that. But I do want to encourage all who’ve thought about going this route…it’s not nearly as nightmare-ish as some would describe.

Now, there will be tough days, but I’m a big advocate for support groups and product information because (Jennifer will appreciate this), my hair is very soft and manageable now, but at one point it felt like a brillo pad when using a popular brand of shampoo that’s labeled and marketed for African American hair. It was terrible and it dawned on me one day that this stuff was horrible for my hair. It had worked in the past very well, but with my natural hair, it was very drying. Now this could be due to the fact that my own hair was in a state of transition after it started growing without the aid of chemicals. I’d read that the first hair that grows in without the aid of chemical relaxers is always harsher and feels rougher than your real (true) grade of hair. Infact, that article stated that it may take about a year to know what your real hair texture feels like. I couldn’t agree more. At about a year out, I started to get a real picture of what my hair texture was. Now, this will not be the case for everyone…because some big chop and go cold turkey, but I didn’t go that route. I chose to just allow my own hair to grow without perming it and gradually chop my permed ends off.

Here’s the mentally you must possess to do it:

My own hair

My own hair

Don’t let fear hold you back.

What’s the worst thing that can happen if someone sees your own hair texture? Do you  think they will run in terror screaming with their hands up in the air when they see your own hair? You know, I never said this, but I think that was my thought when I went here. I feared people’s initial reaction when they saw my hair’s real texture. My hair wouldn’t be as straight as they’d been accustomed to seeing, but is that bad? I had a great friend give me a great piece of advice. She said, sometimes people don’t initially comment because they’re processing. Silence is not always bad — like you, they need time to adjust. It was one of the simplest and most profound things that someone ever shared in line with me regarding this.

Related to that, stop being so addicted to people pleasing. Why is it that we want everyone else to affirm us before we can launch out into new territory? Why don’t you set the course? I spent so much time wondering how people would respond and how would my hair look. All wasted time. Yep, it was uncomfortable for about 1- 2 weeks, but boy once I made it through that stretch, something broke. You know it’s that way anytime we break into new territory though. There’s an uncomfortable feeling at first, but once we push past the discomfort and hold our ground, there’s a new confidence that breaks forth. Think about other areas where  this has happened for you.

Be committed. Enough of this back and forth motion (lol)! Your decision will command an opponent. You know how this works — you say you’re going to cut sweets and sodas out of your diet. You know the minute you say that, you see more sweets (cookies/pastries) at work or home and are offered more opportunities to drink sodas than ever before. But, do you hold your position? I’m not trying to be too hard, because I at times have faltered. But we have to expect challenging days on this journey… it just comes with the territory. But push your pride aside — ask for help, keep a good spare wig, and plenty of bobby pins to pin your hair up, and travel with some gel, mousse and plenty of oils and trust me, those bad hair days will be few and far between:) With natural hair, you must anticipate the bad hair day until you master the styling technique and right product mix. It just takes a little time and there’s no way around it. If you don’t have that time, I understand. But my job is to tell you what to expect up front. 

Speaking of, give yourself time to learn your hair. Set aside a few hours each week to play with your tresses. My day is normally Friday evening or Saturday morning. Touch your hair, see how it looks when it dries after shampooing and try products on it to see how it responds. Look at your curl pattern, too. And while we’re here, please let’s not talk about our hair as if it’s a negative object. It is not nappy, it is not bad and it is not rough. For years, I thought my hair was “bad” because I didn’t have loose way ringlet curls like many others in my family. But I DO HAVE CURLS! Go figure! Mine are tighter, but my hair curls in tiny ringlet curls when I co-wash or shampoo… and I’d bet your hair does the same. Now, it took me time to get here. I didn’t go natural one week and witness beautiful curls the next. No, I spent time shampooing and conditioning, while wearing a wig to let my own hair grow.

 Next up, I will give you 5 steps to go natural!

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