Skip to main content

The Freedom to be Yourself


If you celebrate Kwanzaa, I'm told the focus of the first day is on the principal of Unity. When I made peace with my natural hair, I felt like a new world was open to me, and had I known what I now knew about my natural hair, I would never had pursued chemical relaxers. It was too fantastic to keep to myself. Yet, I experience my natural hair in a very narrow way, by some people's standards. Perhaps this personal choice makes me appear superior.

It's not my intent.

I just shared a YouTube video I posted about a passionate discussion I experienced with my sister this Christmas. I'm so glad we talked, and that we have the kind of relationship where we can be completely open with each other about our thoughts with the confidence that we will hold each other tight no matter what.

I struggled with her position and am still not sure how a chemical relaxer can be considered healthy. We never argued on her right to pursue it but that it was a healthy choice. We all make unhealthy decisions every day and live with the consequences...great or small.

I wonder if I can really assume responsibility for how others perceive me because of my lifestyle if I have not intentionally sent them the message they are interpreting.

I still struggle with the expectation that I voice affirmation about hair relaxers...I have to be me. I'm just not a supporter. I'm not into bashing people about it but you won't find me gushing over it either.

We didn't really resolve our debate, except to recommit ourselves to affirming and supporting one another. Unity.

I'm sure we'll keep stumbling along...but it's a process.

Comments

  1. When I decided to embrace my natural hair I did not anticipate the root issues that would come to light (no pun intended.) To put it simply, I had no idea how trapped I felt in my relaxed hair until I experienced the amazing (and very unexpected) freedom and jubilation that has accompanied me on my natural hair journey.

    Add to this the fact that I personally do not believe, by any stretch of the imagination, that relaxers do people any health favors (a huge factor in my decidedly opting out of relaxers), and you have the end result of it being very difficult for me to get excited about relaxed hair. I can compliment a hairstyle on someone with natural hair, and I understand the "aaaahhhhh" feeling of a fresh relaxer ... I enjoyed many of those moments myself. So I do not begrudge anyone who chooses to relax their hair. But actually getting excited about a relaxer is not likely going to happen.

    This doesn't mean I try to convince others to go natural. As you mentioned, we likely all have areas of our lives that are less than ideal when it comes to health. For me, relaxers were one of those things that just became incongruent and irreconcilable with who I am, who I'm becoming, what I've learnt and where I'm going.

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Please leave that baby's hair alone!

I'll never forget the first time I saw Mocha Girl One (HmG). She was an emergency c-section, and had to spend several days in NICU. She was born four days past her estimated due date and looked huge in her incubator. I imagined her to be especially delicate and feminine. I couldn't wait to frill her up, and more importantly to do her hair! The only reason she wasn't sporting a barrette the day we took her home from the hospital, was because the one I brought to match her lacey outfit, slid right out.

Mocha Girl One's baby hair was silky straight and fine. As the weeks rolled by, it became wavier until she had a lovely curly fro. I washed it all the time. I brushed it several times a day. I tried snap clips, and moved to velcro barrets when the clips slid out. I bought a different head band for every outfit. Meanwhile her curls continued to wind tighter and tighter.

I kept everything in a pretty box, dubbed the hair bin. I was really frustrated at not being ab…

Mocha Baby's bald spot is gone!

Here's what I did:

1. I mainly kept her hair in a baby 99.9% of the time for almost the entire first year of her life. I used an occasional head band for special occasions, making sure it wasn't too tight around her head.

2. I washed her hair as needed with a mild SLS free shampoo and followed up with a moisturizing conditioner. Sometimes I rinsed her hair with plain water and followed up with a moisturizing conditioner. I allowed her hair to get wet as she splashed in her bath. Nappy hair loves water. While all the moisture will probably wreak fuzzy havoc on our carefully designed styles, the resulting suppleness means more growth retention.

3. When MB's fro got long enough in the back that it was constantly flattened whenever she rested her head on a surface, I began styling her hair in about 6 loose puffs. I used tiny rubber bands LOOSELY to secure the puff and removed them carefully with a seam ripper to wash and re-style. I braid up the puffs in the back because …

The Nappy Princess

When I was a little girl, I loved to cover my head with a towel, and dance around the house flinging it back, and forth as though I had the longest hair in the world. I wanted hair like Cinderella or Sleeping Beauty. Whether on TV, movies, books, or magazines, I was drawn to long hair that hangs. I thought this was only a little mocha girl thing, but I've observed this behavior in little girls of various ethnicities. Everyone seems to love long flowing hair. It is beautiful.

I'm not against dressing up and playing pretend. It's fun to have a different experience sometimes. We can play with wigs, and weave extensions in our hair on occasion to enjoy something new. Personally, I've never used extensions, weaves, and wigs on my daughters. While I don't condemn mothers who occasionally use braid extensions, I've even stopped using them in my own hair to send my daughters a message. My main concern is that we don't want our girls to cling to these thin…