Well, it’s officially on and popping. I’ve joined the movement.
It took me a long time, but I’m here. No more perms, damaged hair or conformist Anglo-Saxon perceptions of beauty. I’m officially abandoning my relaxed hair and embarking on a natural hair journey.
I attempted going natural years ago, but I never had the patience or the desire to stick with it. What changed in me? I really can’t say. But awakenings come in different forms for different people. Being a woman of color is something I take great pride in. I’ve spent most of my young life learning and educating others about black culture and trying to eradicate the negative perceptions that still perpetuate in our society due to the residuals of slavery.
I don’t preach black power per say, but everyone who knows me knows that I truly believe being black is wonderful, and that the strength and greatness that dwells in our people is epic and unparalleled.
One day, three months overdue for a perm, I looked in the mirror and realized I really liked the way my hair looked, felted and behaved without one. It was fun, it had more character and truthfully, the seemingly-kinky new growth made me feel good. I stared at my reflection and asked myself “Why the hell are you still relaxing your hair Chelsea?”
I’ve long known the truth about relaxers and why many women of color still chemically alter their hair. I knew that perms are poisonous to our bodies and our self images as women of color in a society stricken by Eurocentric standards of beauty.
I felt like a fraud. How could I knowingly do this to my hair and to my body? How could I claim to be proud of who I am as a black woman in public, but then go home and chemically rape my hair of its natural texture just to achieve a style that in no way reflects who I really am? Enough was enough.
That day I made a decision to stop being a hypocrite and it was one of the best decisions I’ve made in a long time.
I know there are millions of blogs and videos chronicling people’s natural hair transitions, but I want mine to be different. I want this to stand as a reflection of who I am and how I feel right no and as time goes on. I’m already transitioning physically, spiritually and emotionally and I just started a few months ago. I think this is just another step toward becoming the Chelsea I am supposed to be.
I also want this to create a dialogue surrounding the natural vs. relaxed hair debate. So here we go, let’s see how this works out.