I've been natural for 13 months! It's amazing to see how much growth I've seen in my hair and myself. Upon transition chopping, I'll admit, my self-esteem did suffer. Before cutting of the relaxed ends, I watched a ton of videos on big chops. The people in the videos always offered these two pieces of advice: do it for yourself and don't let negativity bother you. I would often repeat these mantras during and after my transition chop. Did it work? Not at first.
The first time I walked out of my house with short natural hair, I felt so naked. It felt as if the whole world were looking at me. When I saw a woman sashay down the street with her long hair, I felt somehow inadequate. I would tell myself, I did this for myself and I shouldn't worry about what others think. Easier said than done. I was constantly observing others "observing me", looking for little signs. A glance here a gaze there, made me feel as if that person were judging me and my hair. To make up for this feeling, I'd go shopping to make myself feel better. However, this only made me feel worse. I found clothes I once would buy instantly after trying them on, didn't look the same with my cropped hair. Yes, I did feel feminine and womanly, however, I didn't feel sexy. As I looked around at the H&M ads of women of different ethnicities they all had long hair (straight or curly), I just felt awkward.
I'd turn to my hair online communities for inspiration. There were my Youtubers that I follow religiously. They documented their journey from TWA to beyond shoulder length hair. This reminded me that I too would make it there... someday. That one day, I too would step out of the house with feisty, long, curly hair and the world would all stop and stare. Then there were my hair blog bibles, there were representations of long- and short-haired naturals. I found myself coveting all of the images of long curly hair on those blogs. I noticed that most long-haired featured curlies generally received more comments and compliments than short haired curlies. I also noticed, no matter what length of the hair, they all seemed to have this swag or confidence that I didn't have. I felt like there was something wrong with me.
One day it dawned on me that my obsession with being at a certain phase and neglecting to enjoy where I am, was a harmful cycle. I decided to get to the root of the problem (pun intended). I went back to my mantra: do it for you and let the haters hate. I wrote down a list of why I went natural and negative events that I experienced after I went natural.
- Healthier hair
- Freedom to enjoy water sports
- Chemical-free/organic lifestyle
- Kinky/curly hair is beautiful
- Wash my hair as much as I want
- Save money
- Embrace my natural hair
- For my future curly children
- Want my hair to smell good and not like relaxers
- One friend said they preferred my hair long.
I hope sharing my experience helps someone else out there going through a tough phase with their natural hair. Remember, your hair is beautiful and so are you (really!!). If, I could give you two pieces of advice to live by that would be:
1.Go natural for you and never forget why you went natural
2.Handle your hair with love and positivity and the world around you will likely reflect how you feel.
That's not only for your hair, but also life advice as well. Now go on with your gorgeous self!