3 years ago I decided to cut my hair off and take my own stroll down afro lane. I wish i could say I felt liberated from the experience. That watching the chemically treated strains fall to the ground relinquished me from “Creamy Crack” but that’s not how it went down. I looked into the mirror instantly thrown into an emotional landslide. I raced home, canceled my plans, and cried my eyes out. Trying to grow accustom to my new look I spent that entire week only leaving for work, later returning home to search online for tricks on making this mini puff work in my favor. Storage draws filled with hair products, way too many bookmarked haircare sites, and subscribing to more vloggers on Youtube then I’d like to admit. I shed many more tears, broken plenty of combs, and stormed out of the house late to work looking as if I’d lost a back alley brawl, all in effort to achieve beautiful natural locks. The cut forced me to realize how much I depended on my hair. This journey instantly proved to be more challenging then expected but with time, research and a tons of hit or misses, I grew to love my journey.
Around the time of my first big chop, Natural Hair mania had began to creep into my IG and twitter feeds and pages began to pop up on Facebook. Natural Hair became a real movement and more women took to salon chairs for their own big chop. Over that year my hair bloomed and so did the hair community. I was constantly learning new things and connecting with women through site forums discovering new products and receiving knowledge daily. But that was all before I did something which changed my entire understanding of what the Natural Hair Journey really is.
I walked into my salon, had my stylist chop off my afro and Permed my hair. I wanted a super short cut and since I had overcome my fear of not having length I decided to go for it. Unfortunately, many of my fellow N.G.’s (Natural Girls) didn’t receive the images of my new cut quite as well. I received shady comments on my wall like ” Guess you couldn’t handle the journey” and saw my follower numbers trickle down. The community that I had grown to love had now booted me out.
I had broken some underling rule (Thou shall not return to creamy crack) and now I was paying the price. The funny looks, and dwindling followers did go unnoticed but I was unfazed.I had made a choice to change my hair not because of anyone else’s views but because of my own and had a right to be proud of it. The reaction of others did shine light on the shift in the N.H community. and I realized that standards of beauty had seeped in to the once openly accepting movement. Social Media boost how to obtain the perfect twist out but rarely discusses how many times you will go through trail and error before you find what works for you. Now images of women with full and perfect curls flood my timeline while TWA’s that are more kinky then silky struggle for likes and recognition.
Lately I’ve been playing the waiting game of transitioning out of my perm, returning to a full natural state. I have my deal of struggles, and challenges and still visit vlogger sites for ideas on how to handle my hair. In this journey I’ve learned a major lesson… “What you do with your… hair is your choice.” The purpose of my journey was to discover the beauty within myself, not to get the best puff out of all the girls on Instagram. I found the strength to take risk with my hair and no matter what I do with it there will always be someone trying to inflict their standard of beauty.
I wish all of those on their journey good luck and don’t feel pressure for your hair to look a certain way. What matters is you accepting yourself and remember “This Shit Ain’t EASY.”