Updated: Mar 15
There is a certain strength a woman has to have while carrying the weight of being black and embracing her natural God-given crown. The odds have already been stacked against us from the day we are born so adding coily/kinky hair with oppressive Euro-centric beauty standards will take a toll on a person’s psyche.
In the early years of my life, all I knew was black people. I never encountered or acknowledged another race until I was in the first grade. I realized while looking around the classroom, myself and another girl were the only black students out of 20 or more others including the teachers. It was weird and I felt out of place just being in the class but that was my first taste of what the world was like outside of my black bubble. From that moment on I learned what being black means; standing out, yet having to fit into other’s inferior ideas of who you are based on the color of your skin. Even being black, I have had to deal with my own community judging the choices I have made especially with my hair.
At twenty years old, I decided to cut all my hair off and go natural. I remember like it was yesterday, my mother drove me to SuperCuts up the street, surprisingly there was a black stylist. I walked straight to her chair and I told her to cut it all off. Before she picked up the scissors, she asked to make sure that I was committed to this drastic change. I was more than ready. I watched with anticipation as she cut each section of my already short hair, about 30 minutes later I only had a snap worth of hair and I felt amazing. I left that salon feeling more confident than before. I was a woman, a grown bald woman and I was in love with it.
After showing off my new cut and spending the whole day gushing over myself, I got home to show my grandma what I had done. I walked into the kitchen, excited to see her reaction and the first sentence to fly out of her mouth was “What in God’s name have you done to your damn head?!” My spirit was crushed.
For the first time, my grandma made me feel ugly.
Moments later, my aunt came into the house and my new look turned into the family spectacle. They both had to give their opinions, “you should have never cut your hair” “you know we have nappy hair” and “how do you plan on combing it”. Every comment thrown chipped at my confidence even more, but I never said a word. Instead, I internalized it and used their ignorance as the fuel to prove them wrong.
I watched every Youtube video about natural hair and bought every product I could find. I was determined to master this new challenge, my thick coiled hair. After months of trial and error, I finally started to become comfortable with the hair growing from the follicles in my head. I had mastered the twist out and even learned a couple of protective styles. I got so good with my hair that both my aunt and grandma began to compliment me. They even decided to go back natural, as well, and at that moment I knew I could educate and influence others. When I decided to loc my hair six years later, I had to repeat the cycle. They criticized me, then admired me standing out against the norm.
Learning to love my hair helped me love who I am completely. There was nothing anyone could tell me about my skin or my hair that I hadn’t already told myself. If I had not been nurtured and supported by my mother, I would not have been mentally prepared to take on the risk of going back natural. I would not have been emotionally secure in my decision to fight multiple wars; being natural, black, and a woman. It is still an everyday struggle but I continue to preserve through it all. Even now with the current racial state of the world, we are forced to deal with reality. The reality of it all is, we (Black people) are the blueprint to life. Unfortunately, we were stripped of our importance so now we have to fight, not only for our rights but for our self-confidence and self-love.