Posts tagged ‘relaxer’

Why “Going Natural” Isn’t For Everybody.

This statement is heard often by naturals, usually coming from those who are not, a blanket reason as to why some choose to continue chemically altering their hair texture; or it’s used in a derogatory way toward those with kinkier hair textures and no curl pattern, the prime target for relaxers from the beginning.   Many natural are confused by statements such as this, if not flat out annoyed by it, “How can some thing that naturally grows from your scalp, is genetically programmed by your DNA, and as congenital as the color of your skin –not be for you?”

Some with this point of view will say their preference for processed hair is just about style, or because “kinky” hair is not a flattering look on them, or relaxed hair is less work, even “I would go natural if I had ‘good hair’.”, usually referring to a silkier hair of a less coarse texture.  I, like many other naturals, used to think this expression was just, well, silly. I can say now the longer I’ve been natural and the more people I’ve come across- I’ve come to believe there is some truth to this statement.  Yup! Me a die hard natural does think that being natural is not for some people. Why?

Natural Hair Is It Just About Hair?

Now let me clarify the point that I do not advocate the use of toxic chemicals for anyone, especially subjecting yourself to the hazardous exposure of  harmful treatments for vanity’s sake.  I don’t think that’s for anyone! I’m talking about mind set.  The variety of reasons a person decides to embrace their natural hair texture is as varied as the beautiful array of textures you’ll find among natural hair.  For some natural hair is just about hair- no more, no less.  I started out in this category, but over the months and years as my hair transitioned so did my way of thinking; thinking not only in relation to my hair but myself.

My Story

I’ve always been a pretty self-confident person, so the concept of self-acceptance was not something I ever gave much thought (much less thought I needed to work on). I’ve always kind of marched to the beat of a different drummer and did my own thing, not really caring if it was the “cool” thing to do or not. Even with all that confidence, my point of insecurity has ALWAYS been my hair; so years ago the thought of “going natural” was utterly insane, I know that statement sounds insane, but I could not fathom not relaxing my hair.  To me “going natural” meant the exposure of my Achillies’  heel, the loud and proud boast of my biggest insecurity, why would anyone do that?!?  My hair never had any terrifying experience with relaxer( save my teen years) and I was always able to retain length and thickness with the relaxer, so saw no reason to change.  Then 5 years ago I walked into a Dominican salon for a relaxer and blow-out and walked out with pin straight (unbeknownst to me irreparably damaged) hair.  Long story short, that was my last relaxer, but I was no where near ready to accept my hair, I just started getting my hair pressed.  Different monkey, same back.  I became positively aqua-phobic, never left the house without an umbrella- NEVER!  The rain would expose my big secret, at this point I wasn’t even sure what that secret was ( I hadn’t seen my natural hair since I was 7 1/2 years old), I just knew natural hair was, bad hair.  I continued my natural journey in this perpetual state of transitioning and terror, till finally I big chopped ( I say big chop even though when I cut my hair it was below chin length) letting go of my relaxed ends and finally embracing my natural hair….or so I thought.

Reality…

I did not like my natural hair, I don’t know exactly what I was expecting, but what I found once I started doing my own hair wasn’t it.  Not to mention that I was completely clueless as to how to care for it.  The entire time I was transitioning I went to a stylist.  I stood in the bathroom mirror hair freshly washed and conditioned, ready to detangle….no so much…I covered my frizzy lopsided afro and rushed down the street to a girlfriends house (she had been natural for ages), hoping no one would see me and begged for help.  From that day I became a typical product junkie, and spent, well lots, on trying to find the right product for my hair to get it to look the way I wanted it to.  After a few weeks of trial and error and not leaving my house, I was back at the salon- and my love of flexirods began.  Yet another monkey, same back.  I could have these amazingly sleek, frizz free, super cute spirals and still be natural- yay!  Well after I figured out what I spending in roller sets to maintain this “look”, I thought going natural was supposed to be apart of simplifying- I’m spending now more than ever!  So while I couldn’t do my own roller sets I could flat iron like a champ, but keeping up those sleek tresses cost me a second big chop.  Lesson Learned.  I then became determined to actually learn my own hair, learn what it needed, and how to work with it, period.  I felt it was ridiculous to be a grown woman and not know how to comb my own natural hair, but frankly that was the position I was in, relaxed hair- knew it like the back of my hand, but this- no clue.  I’m the kind of person who likes to be informed and when I want to know the ins and outs of something I research it like a fean, natural hair was no exception.  The more I learned to care for my hair and understand my texture, the more I was able to see the beauty in it.  When I stopped exposing my hair to heat, I realized the frizzy straight mess that was on my head was heat damage, I learned that I actually had waves, coils and curls.  The longer I worked with my hair the acceptance I hoped to acquire, turned to love….until one day after a normal wash and go. I found myself feeling my soft springy spirals and coils and hearing myself say out loud ” I love my hair, I love my hair…” and then I had a sudden flashback of my relaxed days of me blow drying and flat ironing my coils- literally burning my hair into submission. Flashbacks of leaving my relaxers on for longer than needed to get my hair straighter. Flashbacks of hating summer days filled with humidity, of fearing the beach and swimming pools- sure my hair would look great when wet, but as it dried the truth would be revealed- my hair is not straight-my hair is nappy.

Flashbacks of the many times I would say to myself and out loud ” I hate my hair!”   (Hated it because it would usually not do what I wanted, which is be pin straight.) Understanding only now that the processed fried mess that used to be on top of my head was not my hair but the damaged remnants of falsehood of trying to be something I’m not… and justifiably something to be hated.

But my hair – the beautiful soft coils that grow from my head, are a natural extension of my beauty and heritage, an extension of me and therefore justifiably loved!  This love of the one thing about myself I truly disliked, enabled me to love myself unconditionally.

Why Not For Everyone?

In my opinion accepting your natural hair has a lot to do with accepting yourself, not the image of yourself you project, not the image of the you – you would like to be…but just YOU as you are.  Unfortunately not everyone is in the frame of mind to do this. I said before natural hair is as congenital as the color of your skin, well sadly there are those that if they could change their skin color as easily as their hair texture- they would.  No matter the culprit- there are people in the world who do not accept themselves as is.  If you do not, or at the very least are not even willing to make the journey, maybe at this time your  real self  is not for you.  But don’t give up on them naturals,when someone says” Being natural isn’t for everyone.”- what they are really saying is they are not ready (maybe even afraid) to take the journey. So keep being naturally fabulous and be willing to offer them the help they’ll need when they’re ready for it. Like once upon a time someone did for me.

Naturals be proud, not only of your natural beauty but of your love and acceptance of yourselves as you actually are, not as someone else has told you, you should be.

XOXO, hippiechicchick

 

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Big Hair Don’t Care… At Least Not Anymore (An Apology Letter)

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Part of transitioning from my sleek straight chemically relaxed hair to my kinky coily spirals was embracing BIG HAIR. Let me just start by saying that I never liked big hair. I spent countless hours and dollars trying to tame my hair into submission, and although the Texas humidity was against me, I usually won. I relished the short Texas winters when my hair was well behaved without much effort; and when I moved to New York my hair and I both embraced the lower humidity levels and breathed a sigh of relief.

Then four years ago I decided to transition to my natural hair texture. At first there wasn’t much difference as I was having my new growth pressed to match my straight relaxed hair. My hair was a little fuller, but not big, it just had more volume. After transitioning for a year and a half I finally had my relaxed ends cut off, but continued to get my hair pressed. When I finally started wearing my hair not straight it was always in a flexi rod set, which enabled me to sport these sleek, 3b ringlets, which were full- but not really big. It was not until my second big chop in march of this year (due to heat damage, that sleekness comes at a price) that I started sporting my own coils and curls heat free. And you guessed it, I had BIG hair! I mean gravity defying, up and out, OMG what am I gonna do BIG HAIR. I am not embarrassed to admit (because I know I’m not alone) I didn’t leave my house for two weeks. I made up every excuse in the world to not go out…let’s just say I was very “ill” for awhile. My despair not only came from the sheer height and girth of my hair, but from my complete lack of knowledge of what to do with it. The chemically relaxed hair I had spent the better part of my life mastering was now gone, and what was left was this mass of unfamiliar cottony coils that seemed to have a mind of their own; and like to express themselves in a BIG way.

Initially I wore my hair in slick backed pony tails (as slick as I could manage) after months of this I began to slowly venture into twist outs and bantu knot out, then into curly fro- hawks, then into curly fros. The more I learned, the more I wanted to experiment. The more I experimented the bolder I got. The bolder I got, guess what, the bigger I wanted my hair! I began to realize that the accepting my hair for what it is (kinks, coils, curls and all) also meant accepting that natural hair is naturally BIG. When I first began my hair journey I focused on the transition of my hair, but unexpectedly my mind followed. As I began to accept my hair, this delightful acceptance extended to myself, the size of my hair (big or small) was an extension of me- and was therefore perfect as is, just because it was mine. Now I don’t mind big hair at all, in fact I rather love my big hair!

Naturals embrace your big hair, and don’t care what anyone other than you thinks about it!

 

Xoxo hippiechicchick

 

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