In July 2011 I went where many a black girl who has gone natural before me had already gone, I went where many a black girl has already went…*cue Star Trek theme song*…I went natural by doing the big chop!
When you have no hair to cover up the little stray hairs that sometimes pop up on the side of your face, or to cover up the acne that dots your forehead when you experience a breakout, you learn very quickly how important it is to take care of your skin. You also learn that many of the hair products that you were using to whip, dip, lay, and flay your hair with were probably causing the breakouts on your face in the first place.
I also became more concerned with learning makeup techniques to accentuate my features. I have to admit the truth: long hair allowed me to be just a little bit lazy. As long as I had long hair to demonstrate my femininity I felt I could slack in other areas, such as ensuring that my clothing was form flattering. After all, didn’t my long thick hair prove how girly I was? Now I’m not saying all women with long hair use their hair to get away with not being overly concerned with their clothing and makeup routine; I’m saying that long hair does wonders for nudging your ‘feminine factor’ up, and it does become a bit easier to slack in other areas while still looking cute and well put together.
After a few months of washing my hair and walking out the door I didn’t even miss my long hair anymore. I began to absolutely love seeing other black women with natural hair and would start doing a mental tabulation of how many black women in the room had natural hair versus those that had relaxers. I always made sure to compliment other black women on their natural hair when I was out and about. You know how they say once you buy a red car you start noticing just how many red cars are on the road? Well I started to notice that many black women were choosing to wear their hair natural, more than I had ever noticed before. One black woman in my English class, when asked to tell us one interesting thing about herself on the first day, said that she had chosen to go natural some time ago and had never looked back; she was just got tired of the relaxers. Inside I was giving her a metaphorical fist bump, like the one the media always catches First Lady Michelle giving her husband.
Black women have such gorgeous hair, whether it is naturally straight, kinky, curly or a mix of every hair type in the rainbow.
I easily could have turned into one of those black women with natural hair who is forever taking every opportunity to tell her straight-haired sisters that they need to let the creamy crack go. Just let it go! But I didn’t turn into that, because I think that we black women already have enough on our shoulders–to maintain some sort of cold war between the natural hair wearers and those with relaxers just seems to be a waste of energy. I’m even trying to give up using the phrase “creamy crack” when referring to relaxers–although the stuff is creamy and you do have to use it consistently in order to stop your “kitchen” from showing your hair’s true colors.
Instead I’m going to continue to rock my natural hair without saying a word to try to cajole my friends with relaxers to chuck their hair maintenance routine. And besides, as long as they have relaxers I know that I can always count on them to have an umbrella when we go out, just in case it’s raining.