Tuesday, December 28, 2010

A Natural Hair Journey: A Wonderful Destination for the New Year!

As we enter the New Year, many of us reflect on our journeys and experiences and ponder decisions that we have made.  For some, self-discovery and self-empowerment is the result.  This story emphasizes that Natural Is Cool Enough, which is a wonderful decision for the New Year.  How about you?  Will N.I.C.E. be your destination for the New Year? Check out the story below for inspiration.

Sharonda’s Natural Hair Story: A Journey to Discover Me

Twist Braids: A N.I.C.E. Destination for an on-going journey into the New Year
     I come from a family of hairstylist. I mean, it’s not what they do for a living, but from my mother on down and my three older sisters; all of them can do hair. I never had to touch my hair. Anything I ever wanted, braids, twist, weaves, perms, hair dye, they did it all! The perms must have started early on in my life like around age 6. I mean my mother had 4 girls, plus her own head; that was a lot of hair to do! As I grew older I continued to perm and process my hair. In my teenage years I got brave. I dyed it a few times, red, gold, you name it. Of course it fell out. With the perms and the hair color my hair had had enough. So I chopped it off and started over. Every week it seemed like, (maybe I’m exaggerating a little) I was doing something different to my hair. I was suffering from an acute case of HADHD or Hair Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. I noticed the perms had thinned out parts of my mother’s hair. And I also notice how my hair would never grow past my shoulders. For some reason it would break off or get cut off long before then. I was fed-up!
     The weaves started when I was 14 and just entering High School. I no longer could tolerate looking so young, with short hair, so I called my weave-ologist. If I wasw going to look mature I needed a new look!
 The weaves got more extravagant as I got braver. Curly weave, straight weave, water waves and spiracle curls.I spent a lot of time planning out my hair, and what I would do next. And the beauty supply store was my favorite place to brainstorm. As I entered into college and had to get used to being away from home, I didn’t have a stylist on call 24/7. So I had to take care of my hair myself. I ended up getting it braided that first year.
 The next year I took the braids out and I flat ironed my hair to death, literally. Almost everyday I was putting heat on it. Of course the healthy mane of hair  broke off after some blonde dye and months of perms on top of that.
My Hair With Color
     Finally it was my senior year of College and I was taking one of the classes for my minor in Africana studies. I guess if I had to name the source of my inspiration it would have had to have been Dr. Rose’s classes. I knew all these things about my hair, about the history, about the slaves and “passing” but I had not realized how it affected me. I wanted to be me. My hair was dying to be in it’s natural state. It was my own discovery of me. If any guy or job, or anyone else in society wanted me, I wanted them to accept the real me. My next biggest enemy was my family of stylist. Step 1 of this phase was no more perms! I started to wear hairnets in different colors to cover up the obvious contrast between my permed and nappy hair. I remember the first time I went back home. My mother told me “I hate your hair.” She attempted to help me by offering to do anything to my hair that would get me to perm it. I simply said to her in a respectful manner of course, “You hate my hair because you hate your hair.” These words liberated me and she never bothered me again.  I was right, We had be taught to hate something that was natural to us, and we’d forgotten how to be ourselves, basically how to do our own natural hair! I let my mother put braids in my hair, and I kept it that way about a year. That was phase 2,  letting my hair grow out and chopping the permed hair off. I wasn’t as brave as some of my other sistas who just chopped everything off. So I took a subtler approach and of course gave everyone around me time to get used to this cultural shock. After that time was up, I felt like I had enough time get used to my natural hair. I didn’t have hair on my head until I was 3, and at age 6 it was hidden from me.  One day I asked God, what did you intend for us to do with this hair? My hair style of choice for now is the fro. I’d rock the fro 7 days a week, to church, to work, out on the town. I love my fro. I have tried other styles like braids, twist, and I will continue to discover the possibilities. I will never grow bored with my natural hair. The answer he gave me was that the possibilities are endless. We can take care of it, or we can straighten it with heat or other chemicals that causes it to thin and fall out. The point is he gave us the choice! I’d love to know, what’s your choice and why?

My Fro

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