Thursday, July 10, 2014

TRUTHFUL Thursday: Confessions of a Naturalista


Background:
I received my first relaxer (a chemical process that straightens one’s natural hair pattern) when I was four years old. My hair was long and thick. Having my hair combed was quite a dreaded ordeal for myself and for my mom. My mom figured that relaxing my hair would be a good alternative. I can still remember sitting at the kitchen table: My mom relaxed her own hair for the very first time, and then she relaxed my mine. As the years passed I looked forward to receiving ‘touch-ups’ and when I started going to the salon I would even request a ‘Super’ process.

Next I began getting highlights. As I frequently cut my hair, I didn’t notice any damage. However, as time went on, I decided that I wanted to achieve a lighter color. My colorist advised me that it would not be best to go that route. My natural hair color is extremely dark, and resistant to permanent dyes, we would have to bleach it. She was validly concerned about the amount of damage that would be incurred to my hair since I had a relaxer in it. Being a woman that loved to try new styles, I decided to let my relaxer grow out so that I could bleach my hair and incur less damage. To be clear, damage is always incurred when you bleach your hair. Moving on, not having a relaxer was not a foreign concept to me, my mom had let her relaxer grow out in the early 90s. She wore her hair in twist outs, long before it was in style. Any who, my hair tends to grow at a good speed. I discovered that my natural hair was quite curly and I liked it so much that I decided to remain relaxer free long after I grew tired of coloring my hair.



Straightening:
 I frequently wore/wear my hair straightened (by means of pressing or flat ironing) for significant periods of time. It was never my intention to wear my hair curly 100% of the time for the rest of my life. Although I think my natural curls are beautiful, I thrive in diversity and I do not appreciate wearing my hair in it’s natural textured state 24/7.

The Natural Hair Movement:
As the years have passed, a #naturalhair movement has come about. More and more Black women have grown out of their Relaxers and or performed what is termed ‘The Big Chop’. A wealth of knowledge is readily available, and wearing one’s natural hair straight is deemed somewhat taboo! Yes, the #naturalhairpolice are in full effect! ‘Don’t do this’, ‘Only do that’, ‘You must use this product’, and so on and on…The focus appears to be centered around  protecting your hair so that it can maintain optimal health, and grow to new lengths.

Where I Stand:
Since I’ve been wearing my hair in it’s natural state for over a decade, I am all too aware of the need to keep it moisturized and to maintain a proper protein balance. I know my hair, and it knows me-LOL!  But seriously, it is at it’s healthiest and longest when I simply leave it alone. Clean, condition, moisturize, and wear in a protective style. What’s the problem? The problem is: I am sick and tired that! LOL!

I went from a woman who changed her hair so frequently (cuts/wigs/weaves/braids/color, etc.,.) at times my own husband did not recognize me, to a woman that wore a low bun 9 times out of 10. I don’t like that woman, she is not “Me”!  Common advice received? ‘Get a weave’ ‘Wear a wig’ ‘Get braids’ - yep those are all available options. However, truthfully speaking: I simply don’t want to go any of those routes at this point (not to say that I won’t change my mind in coming years)! I feel like I’ve already been there and done that! I SIMPLY WANT TO WEAR AND ENJOY MY OWN HAIR! Is that a crime?!

My current #naturalhair motto: “Hair is meant to be worn, enjoyed, and styled – not revered and held sacred!” Yes, although I highly doubt that I will return to wearing a relaxer, I am determined to enjoy and embrace the diversity and beauty that is to be had in styling my OWN hair!

In an effort to break the chronic cycle of hair boredom that I felt hopelessly in, I threw caution to the wind! Tuesday’s post (here) showcases my new ‘do’ =)  To be clear, I will always work to combat damage incurred to my hair, but I refuse to revere my hair.  I will not be afraid to style it in the manner that I want to wear it because it will incur damage. I will not spend inordinate amounts of time ‘protecting’ my hair. I will dye it, straighten it, and cut it. Hair is simply hair. Mine tends to grow back, and even if it doesn’t – there are a host of options available!

Thanks for joining me for this installment of TRUTHFUL Thursdays until next time lovelies =)

I’d love to hear your thoughts surrounding natural hair, please sound out below and follow me on social media! 

Joi

4 comments:

  1. I love your Hair straight or curly and have hair Envy! So, I have wearing my hair natural with the exception of color to keep the grays at bay for more than 3 years and I love it. I keep it precision cut (my last cut was too short even for me) because I suck at styling and my hair is getting thin due to age and my mom's genes. At first I was a product junkie buying all I saw on you tube and I put the brakes on when they all seem to give the same results. Now I use less and live for a good leave in conditioner. I have been looking for a wig and have not found one to fit my style and think that a woman's hair like her clothing is her Prerogative!! Keep writing these posts Joi.

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    1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts Neti! I love your short cut, it looks FAB on you :) Agreed, our hair is our prerogative!

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  2. I too wear my hair in it's natural state. However, because my coarse, very long, very thick, slightly wavy hair does not have definite curl pattern, I usually straighten and curl it with a curling iron or do a roller set. I became a product junkie too and finally decided to stick to what works for me. All of the expensive conditioners, shampoos, and leave ins did nothing extra than the products I was already using. Updo's are my favorite go to hairstyles because it keeps my cooler. I love your hair--it's beautiful--keep doing what you like. After all, who knows your hair better than you?

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    1. Thanks for sharing Robin! My mom has a similar texture to the one that you describe. Finding the products that work well for your objective is key, and then resisting the urge to try the newest flavors of the month :) Have a great weekend!

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