So I think I’m officially weaned off the creamy-crack. I still get the urge-to-perm on the days my two-textured hair shows its naturally kinky behind; however, I’ve stayed the course. I’m learning so much about my hair and about myself…cliché’ I know.
I’ve been thinking about this experience holistically. Over the past few weeks I’ve read a lot and had conversations that jolted my mind to new trains of thought. I’m not only seeing my hair change, I’m seeing people’s perceptions of me and what it means to be “natural” change as well.
I currently live in an extremely homogenous environment (Morgantown,WV) and the black community is small. This means that the natural hair community is even smaller. No salons, no hair stores… just a few dozen natural women who go out to town to get their hair done and or make their own products to do their hair at home.
In the very beginning I feared I wouldn’t have anyone to help me with my transition, but then I remembered that with the click of a mouse I can learn from the experiences of other sistas all over the world. Thanks to Facebook, Twitter, blogs and Youtube, I won’t ever be alone in this journey that much is clear and I’m glad.
One thing I didn’t really consider when I decided to go natural was how my friends, family and co-workers would actually react when they realized I was serious about kicking my perm habit.
I knew that my dad and brothers wouldn’t like it. “What’s wrong with yo head you lost your comb?” “You look a mess why would you want your hair like that?” I wasn’t at all surprised by their narrow-mined male comments and didn’t let them bother me…I know they love me they’re just simple as my mother says.
Now my mom and sisters are beautiful, conscious black women. They aren’t ready to go natural yet, but they definitely respect my decisions are being very supportive.
As for my colleagues, they are keeping their mouths all the way shut. I can tell they notice something’s different, but they won’t dare ask or say anything (to my face) in fear of offending me or coming across ignorant and or racist. But then, there’s my girl Lindsay!
Lindsay, a columnist/editor in my office, is very open-minded and sweet-spirited. Even though she’s white and fromWest Virginia, we have a lot in common (hair woes included). She noticed my hair was changing daily and I could tell she wanted to know what was up. I explained what I was doing and why. She thinks it’s great and that I should stick it out. “Yes! No perm,” she said. I was pleased and surprised by her willingness to listen…even when I said things that I knew were hard for her to hear.
The real shock came from one of my friends who’s ride or die relaxer. She noticed I was weeks past due for a relaxer and brought it up in general conversation. I said “I’m seriously going to do it this time. I won’t ever put a relaxer in my hair again.” Her response really upset me. “Oh, that’s what’s up. You’ll look good with natural hair I think it looks better on ‘light skinned’ women anyway.”
“Hold up, did she really just say that to me?” I asked myself. I was stunned. “Excuse me, what does skin color have to do with anything? Being natural is a personal decision to embrace your hair’s natural beauty and texture regardless of what it may be,” I said.
It’s so sad that some of the most hateful and racist things said about black women are said by black women. Sometimes we are our worst enemies in the realest sense and that friends, can is a hard pill to swallow.