“It’s just hair.” That’s what everyone always says when they make a big decision about their hair. That’s what I said when I texted my husband at work a photo of all of my freshly shaven off hair on our bathroom floor. “It’s just hair, babe.” But the thing is, hair isn’t just hair. At least, not to everyone.
I have been getting my hair straightened, chemically or with heat, almost my entire life. When I was 24 I got pregnant and stopped getting relaxers for fear that it would harm the baby. There was zero intention of “going natural” and embracing my kinky, curly hair. In my head, I was just going to go the 9 months without a relaxer, then get one as soon as I had my baby. I had no idea that making that decision was going to take me down the long road of growth and self-discovery that it did. Keep reading to see how much your life can change just by going natural.
I never really realized how much of my beauty I attributed to my hair. I had always had long, thick hair my entire life and always got compliments on 1. how pretty I was and 2. how beautiful my hair was. I guess my psyche just automatically combined the two.
Cut to: 24 yr old BR. I was getting relaxers regularly but just enough to smooth my curls, not completely take them out. So in my mind, I was already good with my curly hair and just didn’t have the time to deal with the maintenance. Then I got pregnant and stopped getting relaxers. My hair kinked and knotted up so quickly. I didn’t know what to do with it. As soon as I had my baby I got another relaxer.
Problem was: hormones.
After I was done, I looked in the mirror, looked at all the hair on the floor, and let out one of those crazy, nervous laughs. WHAT DID I JUST DO?! I sent my husband a picture of all my hair on the floor and he called me to make sure I wasn’t having a nervous breakdown. I mean, I probably was, but I was fine.
Adjusting to having no hair after living my entire life prideful of my “beautiful, long hair” was difficult. Mind you, I was 30 lbs heavier than I’d ever been in my life. The person I saw when I looked in the mirror wasn’t me. Where was my great skin? Where was my size 2 figure? Where was my long hair? Where was my beauty? Where was Bridgid-Ryan??? I had terrible postpartum depression for a good year after my first pregnancy and I just hated everything about myself. I couldn’t look in the mirror longer than 90 seconds without crying. I didn’t know what to do with my little kinky-curly afro. I didn’t know how to dress my new size 8 body.
I grew my hair back out and slowly learned how to take care of it. In that process, I learned how not only accept but to love my hair just the way that it grows out of my head. I learned that I didn’t have to straighten it, tame it, or do anything extra to it. My hair was beautiful just the way it was.
When I think of my natural hair journey there’s always a Gorillaz lyric that plays in my head “Finally, someone let me out of my cage.”
I felt like I broke out of the cage of having to be one kind of beautiful, I could be my own kind of beautiful and didn’t have to try and be what I thought other people saw as beautiful.
This carried over to how I saw myself entirely. I learned to love myself and believed that I was beautiful no matter my dress size, hair length/texture, skin complexion, etc. I learned to embrace all of my quirks, flaws, and scars, and new curves.
Now that I’ve told you how cutting all my hair off lead me down a journey to self-love and embracing my natural beauty, let me tell you why I ended it all.
I’m tired. That’s it. haha
My natural hair requires hours of maintenance and a strict schedule of rinsing, washing, detangling, and moisturizing to stay healthy. A schedule that eats up hours and hours of my weeks.
In October 2017 I texted my sister and was just like “yo. I’m done. Either I’m chopping all my hair off again or I’m getting a relaxer.” She basically replied with “I was thinking the same thing!” My sister is has a job, owns a business, and has 5 kids. She didn’t have the time to be fiddling with her hair all the time. I am a stay-at-home mom of 2 energetic boys. I don’t have the time to sit in front of the mirror like that either. And even though I do have more time than working moms, I don’t have the patience. I don’t like styling hair and I didn’t want to have to deal with mine so much. So that evening we both went out, got kiddie texturizes and texturized our hair.
This time, I felt comfortable changing my hair because it was for a different reason. I wasn’t changing my hair because I didn’t like my natural hair or because I didn’t know how to take care of it. I was changing it purely because I didn’t want it taking over my days.
Even though I am no longer completely natural, I am very grateful for what my natural hair journey taught me. I have 2 boys with very different but curly hair and I feel better equipped to be able to teach them to love themselves just the way they are. I am very careful about my words regarding hair and I let my 4 year old have complete control over his hair. I believe this will help him to realize something that I didn’t as a child, he is perfect in every way and doesn’t have to change a thing if he doesn’t want to. So when he says “it’s just hair” it really will be just hair.
Does your hair hold a significance to you? Why or why not?
I’d love to hear from you in the comments!
From the heart,
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