Welcome to the first of a series of blog posts chronicling my natural hair journey!
July 28th marked a year since I decided to cut off all of my chemically treated hair and make the commitment to embrace my natural hair. It’s something that I don’t often talk about on the blog, but it is a big part of who I am now and how The Lipstick Giraffe even came to be. If anyone asks me about it, I usually reply with something short like, “I just wanted chemical free hair.” It has turned to be so much more than that.
I grew up thinking my natural hair was ugly. That I needed straight hair to be pretty. My friends had straight hair, why couldn’t I have it? Most of my dolls (even the ethnic ones) had it, so why was I and so many other little girls CURSED with that hair? Just the thought of a seven-year old. My mother and grandmother always told me it was gorgeous and “you can never cut your hair” but after much of a fight, I was able to talk my mother into letting me get a relaxer and a haircut as a 6th grade graduation present. I’ll never forget the day that I first got my hair relaxed. It was so straight and smooth and lightweight, I couldn’t stop running my fingers through it or looking at myself in the mirror. At last!
So I dyed, fried, blow dried, weaved, crimped, all of that for over 10 years. My hair got weaker and weaker. It broke off. It was lifeless and dull and I had a cabinet full of products that were ineffective. Sigh…
I often thought of going natural, and then would get frustrated after attempting to grow out my relaxer, and becoming frightened of how I would be perceived. I didn’t think natural hair would look good on me. I didn’t think men would find me attractive. And yes, that did matter.
In 2011 after getting inspired by Curly Nikki, my cousin Kelly and reading old posts of The Moptop Maven, I decided to stick with it. I began by doing transitional styles – twist outs, braid outs, bantu knots…whatever I could to keep heat and chemicals off of it. I started reading Curly Nikki’s spotlights on those who Big Chopped and was really inspired by everyone’s story. One evening while at my boyfriend’s house, I went in the bathroom, took a pair of shears and started cutting at my hair. Before you knew it, I was rockin’ my TWA (teeny-weeny afro) and my boyfriend loved it!
It’s been the best thing that ever happened to me. Since going natural, I’ve become more confident, outspoken and more of a risk taker. I’ve also become more creative and more conscious. I do notice that I get treated differently by some with my hair like this. While we’re on the topic of men: It’s interesting that a lot of men of my same race in the region in which I live do not like my hair, and will even be bold enough to ask why I wear it this way, whereas others outside of my race find it very attractive and exotic. What’s up with that? The Kachet a few years ago would have been ashamed, but the Kachet today is proud and could care less. And the journey continues on. With the blogosphere and services like CurlBox, I am a part of a movement and it feels good.
Stay tuned for more stories. There may even be a surprise for you at the end!