In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Change.”
About a year ago I decided to stop relaxing my hair. Relaxing my hair meant going to the hair salon every 6 – 8 weeks to get my hair chemically straightened. If you’ve read my previous post Hair Story: Good Hair Takes Some Time, you’ll know that the hours spent at the hair salon, although sometimes entertaining, was oftentimes excessive.
Long hours at the salon aside, what really drove me to decide it was time for a change? Well, a couple years ago, I had a bad relaxer experience that left me with some minor damage – there was a patch of hair that was substantially shorter than the rest of my hair and didn’t seem to be growing back. It was time to give my hair a break. I thought perhaps for only for a few months so that I could focus on getting it healthy again. That was last spring.
I will admit, I was pretty nervous about what going natural could mean and sat on the fence for a little while without committing. After all, I didn’t have the sassy flair and uber funky fashion sense of the big-hair-don’t-care trendsetter Solange Knowles, or close-cropped ‘do of Tamu McPherson of All the Pretty Birds or the untamed fabulous main of Frédérique Tietcheu of I Go By Frankie (if only!).
Nor do I work in the fashion industry or a creative field where embracing my natural hair might be a little easier, if not even more fun, transition. How was this new natural me going to jive with the rather corporate (ahem, yet still stylish) self ? Did I need to wear braids or get a weave to make the transition? Would my hair fall out once I stop relaxing it? Was I really ready to make this of big change? Could I pull it off?
This wasn’t like getting a new haircut or dying my hair red. It would require years of allowing my naturally curly roots to get reacquainted with a very unfamiliar terrain, my scalp. That relationship would require some serious nurturing and a long, likely difficult, period of adjustment while I figured out how to manage things.
In the end I decided I would give it a try because what I learned from watching those beautiful naturlistas do their thang is that they do it with such confidence and style that is bigger than their hair. They embrace it, love it and make it work for them in their own unique ways. I admire and found strength in this.
So, I had a rather nervous chat with my hairstylist who repeatedly reassured me that things would be fine. Turns out I didn’t have to undergo much of change at all. No weaves, braids, wigs or drastic cuts as I know some women have done.I am managing to transition by simply going for regular deep conditioning treatments and trims while flat ironing my hair as usual.
I also didn’t have to redefine my style and start wearing red lipsticks in an attempt to embrace my potential new Fro and Flygirl fierceness that I imagine would magically result. And yes, I realize that none of this is a prerequisite for going natural but as the saying goes, go big or go home! I was prepared to embrace the look completely, whatever that look happened to be for me, because that’s another lesson I learned, there are so many options available to me, just look three women I’ve mentioned above and there are so many others to find inspiration from.
Although my change has not been transformative in the physical sense, it has made me keenly aware that change, whether it’s adapting a new hair style, landing a new job or making a career change, can be very scary but as the popular self-help book says, you simply have to feel the fear and do it anyways! Add a healthy dose of confidence and a dash of style to the mix and you may just have the recipe for success.
I did buy some red lipstick and I’m always working on finding my Flygirl fierceness (sans Fro)!