To many, it’s just an accessory. To others, it’s the most visible illustration of their character, or political beliefs. Then there are a whole host of people that fall in between. I have come to realize that I have shifted on this spectrum of “hair ideology”.
My hair journey began about a year ago with the sole desire to regain my length (and thickness) of shoulder-blade length, relaxed hair. I wanted to wear sleek wraps and full, flowing ponytails. I was conditioned to believe that straight, manageable hair was beautiful, sexy, and lady-like. And it’s not that it isn’t all of those things! It absolutely is, but it is not the only avenue of beauty.
The more I researched and learned about 1. what it means to have healthy hair and 2. what to do to achieve and maintain healthy hair, the more I was exposed to all the damage being done to my hair just to fit one definition of beauty. That wasn’t like me. You see, all of my life I prided myself on being different. I was the girl who was heavy into sports (a bit of a tom-boy). I was the girl who loved jazz, rock, and classical music as well as rap and R&B. I was me. Little make-up, no weave, no tight/revealing clothing, and no extremely high heels (no offense to anyone who likes these things, I’m just describing me!). I loved natural beauty. I felt that in my natural state (which excluded my hair at the time), I was not hiding one ounce of me, and I respected that about myself. So again, being exposed to all the unnatural behaviors I was forcing on my hair, gave me a much needed wake-up call.
But with all of those things that made me different (at least in my town), I still kept it safe. I was the good girl. I always thought about how my actions affected others, and how each decision affected my long-term (yes, even in high school!). I never liked too much attention on me (why am I blogging? haha). No seriously, all of my decisions to be different were more for my own satisfaction. It wasn’t necessarily done for me to stand out from the crowd because I didn’t even want to be noticed in the crowd. Thus, the wraps, the ponytails, the bobs, were all easy styles that didn’t rock the boat.
Now that I’ve decided to transition to natural, I find these two sides of me at odds with each other. It’s not like me to want to alter my appearance for someone else’s definition of beauty. However, with relaxed hair being the norm (although natural hair is growing strong), going fully natural, and wearing styles that people aren’t used to seeing me sport, are challenging my innate desire to fade into the background. But I’m challenging right back.
And that’s when I realized this is more than a journey of hair. It’s a journey to find that girl from high school, I once knew, that didn’t care so much about others’ opinions. It’s a journey to restore a confidence that I let disappear after comparing myself to popular girl after popular girl in undergrad. It’s a journey to let my inner beauty shine. It’s a journey to rediscover what beauty means to me, and rock it!
I am choosing to document my natural hair journey, not because I believe it is the only way to be beautiful neither because it is the only way to healthy hair (it’s not!). But it’s what I choose for me. It’s time for me to be who I decide to be, not others. I am 5 months transitioning and journeying on!