Today I'm talking about why I started the last post about being a black woman with natural……….to me everything is an Art, even the art of beauty and finding who you are based on how you look and what is considered beautiful. This post goes back to when I was younger and having natural hair was not something that was part of my life. I don't remember what my natural hair looked like because my mother started pressing my hair from the age of 5 or 6 and all I remember is my hair being either pressed with an iron comb, that was heated on a stove, or my mother using chemicals in my hair to make it softer.
One day my mother's friend who normally came to straighten my hair couldn't make it, so my mother decided to do it yourself. She placed the chemicals in my hair and told me to sit down and relax, but as I sat there my hair started to burn or I should say my head started to burn, so I call out to my mother but Mother's….you know how they are… she thought I was simply being annoying and complaining, so she shouted at me to stay put because I only had a few more minutes. So I sat and waited with my burning head. I guess that’s why relaxers never bothered me after.
The burning got worse, until I couldn't take it anymore and I called out to her indicating that I think I needed to wash out the relaxer. When she finally came to check on me I heard her make a strange sound, like a “ohhhhh” so I asked what was wrong she didn't answer. She hustled me to the sink and started washing my hair. I kept hearing her make these mewing noises and as I looked in the sink I saw pieces of my hair washing down the drain. Now I got really anxious especially when my mother was finished and she looked at me with a horrified expression. I got really scared so I looked in the mirror and I wanted to scream…. all the hair on the right side of my scalp was gone there was a huge bald spot, I started to cry immediately and while I cried my mother tried to smother the sound because she was more concerned about my father hearing me crying and coming to check because he would have ben furious. All she kept saying was “don't worry It will be fine”, but all I could think about was I had to go to school tomorrow looking like a bald freak.
What ended up happening?... I had to take hair from the top of my head and make a bang at the side of my head. If the breeze blew too hard, the bang would raise up and show my bold spot…so embarrassing…. it was the worst experience ever. So that is all I knew, I grew up with my hair going through these different processes in order to make it easier to handle. The greatest complaint of most parents with kids with natural hair is how difficult it is to manage the hair and to keep it neat. That is why they try these different methods. The hair is difficult to comb, its hard to take out the knots, that is why getting it to be smooth and easy to manage is why the start so early in a child’s life.
My hair went from pressing, to relaxing and then eventually to Jerry-curl. I stayed with Jerry-curl for quite a few years and then I discovered relaxers/straighteners. I relaxed my hair for most of my life, but I came to this point of wanting to go natural for a few reasons:
1. My hair no longer took to the relaxer. You start off doing relaxers every 6-8 months, when you first start, then it goes to every 3 months, then every 2 months and then almost every month.
2. My hair looks dead and lackluster. The setting wouldn’t stay. The curling iron didn’t keep the style.
3. I also reached a point in my life at the age of 50 where I realized that I didn’t want relaxed hair anymore. I wanted to experience my natural hair. I got very curious. I saw a few women with natural hair and it looked amazing.
4. It was on my mind a lot. I considered it a lot. It was a turning point for me. I was at a Crossroads in my life and transitioning from relaxed hair to my natural hair was a statement. A statement of change, of freedom, of removing boundaries and doing and being totally me.
Before you make that decision or decide to go through the transition, you sometimes think about what will happen when your hair starts to grow out from a relaxer, it starts to look awful, untidy, so women hit that point of having a bad hair day and they immediately begin rethinking their decisionto go natural. I needed to know more about that transitioning. I needed to know more about what natural hair entailed. Was it easier to handle, was it more work, was it just as costly as a relaxer or were there styles I could easily put my hair in when I didn’t want to style it? All these questions were on my mind and I wanted answers and I'm one of those people I do a lot of research.
I love doing research, I love reading. I love gathering the information, so that is what I did. I started looking at blogs, reading what ever looked interesting or would answer one of my questions. I went unto Pinterest, which is my favorite search engine and looked and pinned masses of pictures. I started doing a board on all the stages of natural hair transition, hair care, hair products, hair blogs and much more. But in looking at all of these pictures on Pinterest I fell in love with the short natural hairstyle. The shortcut was just very sexy and so cute, to me it was a fantastic look.
Read more in my last Blog on this topic.