Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Natural or Not... It's My Hair!

So my girlfriend says,
       "My husband won't LET me go natural.  He says it was straight when we got married."

My response,
       "So you LET him have that fat belly?  Because it was flat at your wedding."

If you are my friend on Facebook, you already know that I've taken the plunge and removed the relaxing chemicals from my head of hair.  Yes, it's a huge trend amongst African American women right now and has been increasingly trending over the last five years.  While it may be a huge movement in the large metropolis areas such as Chicago, New York and Atlanta... Alabama is still slow to catch on (as always).  So even though I'm late to the party on this thing, somehow I'm still one of the trend-setters around here.  Go figure.

So here's the thing... now that I'm actually showing off my own curls (because I wore wigs for a few months), I'm getting lots of questions and comments.  I'm very open to that.  But the back-handed slaps are by far the funniest.  And I have a good response for each and every one, because I'm too proud of my hair success to be tripping.

I've heard negative comments from women like,
       "I don't want to look like a runaway slave."
       "I don't think it's appropriate for the workplace."
       "I still think straight is better."
       "I've had a relaxer since I was 5 years old and I'm scared of how nappy it will be."
       "I don't want to wear a fro."

I've only heard one negative comment from a man, which was basically,
       "What made you decide to go natural"... well, it's not negative, but the tone was.

So before I say what I'd like to say, let me first say this... it's YOUR hair girlfriend!  If you want it relaxed and bone strait, go for it!  If you want a long, jet black flowing weave, do you!  If you want to just "be you" for once in your life and sport your own curls, then by all means make that happen.  I don't have a vote for YOU one way or another.  I just know what I wanted for me.  And I'm very happy that my pre-teen and teenage daughter followed my trend.  And now my mother too.  And if they ever decide later down the road that they want it relaxed, pressed, weaved, braided or bald, it will be their decision as they will be the one having to pay for it, care for it, and rock it!

I've done lots of TERRIBLE things to my hair, sometimes on purpose and others... well not.

So now, as a grown woman, having survived much, MUCH hair trama over my years, I decided to take a chance on the hair that I was blessed with.  Surprisingly, I'm very pleased.  And the more I learn about how to care for it and dismiss all of the myths (water is not the devil, but your hair's best friend), I'm loving it more and more.

Before I made the decision to do this, my hair was shoulder length.  Six months after my "big chop" my hair is again shoulder length.  Yes, it grows back.  Just like all the other hairy parts of your body that you shave.

And the best part... I didn't argue, scream, fight, or even really discuss this decision with my husband.  He just supported me and said "it's YOUR hair, not mine."  So when I was online for hours each night looking for wigs (which I had never worn before now), he commented on what he thought was cute or sexy (and asked if I could wear it to bed).  And when I was online for hours each night looking through everyone else's hair journey from big chop to big fro, he humored me and watched them too (or pretended to be asleep).  And finally when I was ready to cut off the remaining perm, which at that time was about 80% of my hair, he chopped and trimmed it for the weeks that followed.

The point is, regardless of what I do with it, Natural or Not....It's MY hair!

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