Breaking up all of the election day chatter with a rare rant about my hair journey on this abnormally warm Tuesday (definitely not complaining, though!) This has been sort of a touchy subject for me over the years as transitioning from permed to natural was not the easiest by any means, as I know is the case for a lot of naturals out there.
I’d been getting my hair permed straight since I was about 9-years-old. It was a routine that I never really gave much thought to until the perms got more irritating during college. I’m not sure if that was due to me getting older, hormone changes or what (anyone else experience this when you were getting perms at an older age?). Nevertheless, I had also just watched the infamous Good Hair documentary by Chris Rock where I witnessed the creamy crack that made my coarse hair easier to manage, melt a can of soda.
This scene was one of numerous triggers that got me thinking about the health of my hair and how I should start considering wearing my hair the way it naturally grew out of my head, for the sake of my health. However, one factor I didn’t really anticipate the impact of, was how much my hair was/is a reflection of my identity. It took me a long time to actually take the leap due to a lot of push-back from people, society, my general lack of confidence, then.
But in the spirit of me and my habit of forcing myself to face my fears, I took the plunge. This decision was essentially the beginning of me taking many more plunges and accepting what would come of them; in this case, it was accepting myself. It was finally coming into my own, growing up, and being unapologetic about the woman I was becoming.
And though it comes with its challenges, (Can we say, wash day? Ugh!) it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made for myself. It opened my eyes to issues of how beauty is portrayed and therefore, is to be perceived according to what the media/society spews at us. Insert Solange’s song, Don’t Touch My Hair, off of her new album, A Seat at the Table, a song that literally brought tears to my eyes. Because the issue with someone automatically reaching for my kind of hair to touch it without even asking (or even if they do ask) is a constant reminder of how my natural hair wasn’t/isn’t perceived as a normal feature that millions of men, women, and children have. It’s made me feel alien; like I’m from another planet, and embracing or accepting oneself through these kinds of instances is an everyday battle.
On that note, I’d love to hear your hair journey stories. That is ANY hair journey stories, curly, straight, wavy, whatever. Let’s chat!
Photos courtesy of my friend Hasani of Movements By Arnold
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