I just realized that I never did a natural hair post on here. Could be because everyone and their momma has a natural hair post or a whole blog dedicated to natural hair transitions, hairstyles, products, personal stories, how-to vids, etc. It’s really too much yet, here I am, adding my 10cents.
I went natural in 2001 over Thanksgiving break during my junior year of college. After thinking about it for about a year and one prior attempt to abandon my relaxed strands (I grew my hair out then succumbed to a perm last minute) I found myself alone in my apartment with nothing to do… nothing to do except cut off my hair. I hopped in the car and headed to the salon. Closed. I had the option of waiting a couple of days for them to open but I knew that I had to get my hair cut right then or I wouldn’t do it at all. I drove around and found a new salon, walked in and asked to get my hair cut. The stylist asked if I was sure. At the time, my hair was pretty good looking and just grazed my shoulders. Black women don’t go around cutting off hair like that, so this stylist just wanted to make sure I didn’t wild out on her later. “Yes, cut it off,” I told her. She did. She cut my hair down to about two inches. When it was all said and done, I liked it. It was new and my head felt so light. I was a little bit nervous about how people would take it but there was no turning back.
Good or bad, everyone had an opinion about my hair. One guy friend stopped me on campus and asked me why I didn’t tell him first so that he could have stopped me. He said guys didn’t like women with hair that short and he could’ve saved me from that mistake. Ugh. He was halfway right. Some people were obviously turned off by my short, kinky ‘do but others who wouldn’t have looked twice were now attracted to me. One guy I met at a party told me he came to talk to me because of my haircut. He figured that I had to be quite a confident person to do it, plus it showed off my features. Sweet. While I haven’t relaxed my hair since ’01, I have gone through quite a few styling changes and constantly fight the urge to just slop some of that creamy white goo on my head.
Over time, it’s become very popular to wear natural hair. My campus and the surrounding area was just starting to catch up to the more cosmopolitan and urban cities who already had lots of women wearing curly styles. I remember when my goal was to just get a rockin’ afro puff. The journey there was hard, wearing twists, experimenting with head wraps and scarves, getting braided extensions every now and then for variety. One positive is that I learned how to do my own hair almost exclusively because no one in Chapel Hill was doing natural hair. I bought all kinds of products that I’d mix to see what worked. Who really knew how to take care of their natural hair texture when most of us hadn’t seen that texture since we were in elementary school. I personally hadn’t had my hair chemical-free since before the second grade! It was odd learning how to do your hair when you’re a college student and very aware of your appearance. Some days were great, others were hat days for sure!
When I went to law school, I got my Freddy from A Different World on and started blowing my hair straight on a regular basis. I would say wearing my hair primarily straight was 40% the ease of straightened hair (less time consuming, various styling options), 40% the availability of a good stylist (I found several good Dominican salons and one neighborhood Black salon that produced a NICE blowout for cheap!), and 20% the acceptability of straight styles over natural ones. I was loathe to mention that last reason but it’s true. There were some occasions and functions in law school where I felt I looked more professional or palatable if my hair was straight than when it was curly. After a while, that became more of an issue because my hair didn’t even look as good curly as it used to. Why? I had straightened it too much!
If there’s anything I regret, it’s been getting my hair pressed too often and losing my natural curl pattern. While I occasionally wear my hair curly now, it’s rare. Most of the time when I do not straighten it, I curl it on rods so that it will look alright. Otherwise, you can tell that the left side of my hair is straighter than the right and there are a couple of straight pieces in the back. SO ANNOYING!!!! I get so jealous when I’m walking around the city and I see all of these women with beautiful natural hairstyles that I can no longer wear. Don’t get me wrong, I love the way my hair looks most of the time and I still don’t want to relax it, I’d just like to wear the styles I cut my hair off for in the first place! eventually, i think i’ll cut my hair short again and just sort of start all over. Maybe in the long run I’ll loc it up. Who knows?
4 responses to “straight natural”
I just came across your blog and let me give you some encouragement. I am natural too and have been natural since 1997 right after college for me (I’m a little bit older than you). In fact, I went natural during college and cut my hair off in stages ( a hot mess!) then…I went back to natural. So all-in-all…it’s been over 12 years (wow!). I was natural BEFORE the trend! One of the reasons I went natural is b/c I felt like I was UNcomfortable with my natural hair. I KNEW that was definitely wrong. I still get uncomfortable sometimes when I’m not feeling my best. But, mostly I’m past that phase. I used to press my hair a lot (this old lady about 80 years old would press it the old school way for 10 dolla’s–you can’t beat that!). I found that my curl pattern was interrupted only when folks at the beauty salon would use those HOT flat irons. Today, I still find people protesting “when you g’on get a perm?” that’s when I know I’m doing the right thing, even when I’m angry with my hair. I’m thinking about locin’ after all these years! Now that it’s a fad…I almost don’t wanna’. I still may lol. If you need to cut it and you’re having issues…just cut a little at a time. What I’ve really learned…is that it’s just hair. What I’ve also learned…is when you’re single …sometimes you can’t see that it’s just hair!
you know, i kick myself everyday for pulling my hair back so often once i started wearing my hair curly after i cut it. is so weird; while i was growing it out i flat ironed it every 2-3 weeks cause i didnt have the guts to just cut out all my perm at once. my curl pattern pretty much survived though; i at least had a pretty good curl to it. i even kept straightening it once i cut the perm out and it hung in there okay.
BUT. when i started to wear it curly i wasnt confident enough to just wash and go. i always always always pulled it back, either with headbands or pantyhose, and now my curl pattern is waaay way lax in the front. it stresses me out so much :( darn hindsight for being so clear! now im strictly wash and go because im so afraid to manipulate it in any way in the front. im super bored with it as a result.
id love to chop it all off and start over but i dont think i could really carry super short hair well. my face is too big and my head is misshapen. i think.
I’d love to go short, short, short. But that little voice tells me I shouldn’t — who’s going to want to date a rotund black woman with short hair? And then I curse that little voice.
It’s a vicious cycle.