Oh natural hair, where do I even begin. Two years ago I decided to “big chop” my hair and start my natural journey. That month is when I moved back to my hometown, started my new job and re-dedicated my life to Christ. So obviously, it was a perfect time to embrace this new season in life. However, I never knew how much I would learn from something as simple as hair.
Before the big chop, I never liked to wear my hair in its natural state. It was always braided or in a style that included extensions. In fact, I wore perms and extensions in my hair from middle school through college. Growing up, every girl that looked like me had a relaxer. I’m sure the majority of naturals can relate to the “when I was little I had long hair until I got a perm” story lol. Although it wasn’t the healthiest style, creamy crack was definitely a way of life. On TV, in school, at work, and even in sports, straight hair was seen as clean and professional. I remember as a cheerleader in high school every Friday after school we were flat ironing or wrapping our hair so it can be “game ready”. Although those hairstyles aren’t necessarily bad, it does give a young girl the notion that her hair is only presentable when it’s pressed.
Because of that, I never felt comfortable with my natural hair, every style but that gave me more confidence. I felt better…prettier even. When I cut my hair, for the first time in 22 years I looked in the mirror and loved what I saw. It was so liberating!
Then 3 days later, that cute twist out didn’t look as cute as it did the 1st day…
After that came good hair days and bad hair days. I encountered growth and breakage, people who loved it and those who told me “natural hair isn’t for everybody, Jess”. At times I was worried about finding “workplace appropriate” hair styles and noticed people staring at me in meetings. My self-esteem had its peaks and valleys but in those moments I learned to embrace my hair. I learned that my validation doesn’t come from what people think. God made no mistakes on me, and I knew if I was going to embrace how I was made I had to expect that there would be good, bad and hard-to-comb days.
Now I’m at a place where I love wearing my natural hair and I also enjoy protective styles. I’m not that natural that thinks a sew-in with Brazilian hair is betrayal. Nor do I bash women who choose to have relaxers. The point is to love yourself and posses confidence on the inside, not find it in a hairstyle. It recently marked two years of being natural and I must say, it’s one of the best teachers I’ve had.