So it seems like my journey to going ‘natural’ came to a silent hiatus. A part of me feels like I sold out to Team Natural, TeamRealHair, and TeamShorthairdontcare. The natural movement is a growing community that I discovered knowledge and pride in Black Hair textures, something that was missing in my life. So that’s why I find it terribly awkward inside that I have returned to the weave. I thought to myself..this must be how a vegetarian feels when eating meat for the first time in a while. Weave used to be a staple in my hair style diet, and yet returning to it feels different.
I’m not sure, but in my quest I might have thrown the baby out with the bath water. It all started with a few YouTube videos here and there. Then it was people I knew around me sporting hair dos with natural hair texture accompanied with a glow of liberation. Maybe there was too much weave and bone straight hair in the atmosphere and a lot of people were just tired of it (including partners who didn’t want to risk their hands getting stuck in a track, or that awkward pat when you really need a ballpoint pen to get in there and scratch).
All the drama of having weave came from what I thought was because it was not mine. There is a shame I believe that has always been out there and still is present in adorning oneself (although society promotes the idea that you are not ever enough and need more). I think the criticism of bad weaves, and clips in addition to the introduction of an economic downturn, left people with less money to spend on adorning themselves. This I believe assisted the growth of the all-natural hair texture movement.
In my case, my tight budget meant I could no longer go bi-weekly or monthly to get my roots relaxed or for a new hairstyle or hair treatment. It all had to be DIY. Going natural meant I wouldn’t deal with failed attempts at twisting, braiding, and relaxing. In addition, as I had just moved my friends with talent for hair would not be around to hook a sister up with braids as we chatted away over good wine and cheesy TV. Natural seemed the solution as most hair ingredients could be found in your kitchen!
The whole journey was a big learning process. From having to assess the ingredients in the hair products I use (as the advertising can be a bit misleading) to understanding how your hair is alive just as much as your other body parts (and therefore appreciates nourishment). I have made friends over exchanging hair advice in person, which has lead me to be more open with sharing compliments.
On the journey, I was confronted with all the different types of curls there are and how many shared their struggles with not getting a particular curl. For me, this experience highlighted my unknown prejudice against 4C and how in my mind as someone I believe is open to all definitions of beauty…I really wasn’t. I started to notice my mood and self-esteem change as I struggled to do something ‘nice’ with my natural hair texture. What was my definition of ‘nice’, and that’s when I really figured I had to fight my thoughts and change what I felt about my hair.
It was combat! From learning not to rely on others compliments…. (Usually all my hairstyles get a compliment…from braids to cornrows to clip-ons), and understanding that when I did, I questioned what exactly the person liked about it and was it genuine. I mean ‘Do you think my hair is so nice you would go buy packs of it if you could…or as in its different and making you feel uncomfortable and you want to be politically correct ….or is it a fascination with novelty….
I decided that I was asking the wrong questions in my head about the intentions of others comments on my hair. I had to ask myself it I genuinely like my natural hair texture, was this just the next in thing to do with my hair, and did I understand how deep the politics of hair was beyond my cute tight fluffy locks.
I started thinking about all hair, hair on my armpits, and textured hair on men, hair that was covered in a cloth for traditional or religious reasons. I found out I would have to do more research to figure out how I felt about all of those topics. However, with so much social networking, it was great to find the support in discovering my natural texture, and support for those that choose to wear weave. I would like to believe it helped me love my natural hair and therefore self deeper. However, surprisingly it has also made me feel confident (with the background knowledge of the popular western standard of beauty) that as an individual I enjoy fashions, all different types and if I want to wear a weave then I should. This I believe extends to males, in the sense that all beauty is constructed and males also have the right to escape the shackles of having short hair and can too enjoy afro or European textured weaves.
Whatever floats your boat is what one should do, as long as to one’s knowledge no one is hurt in the process. So naturally I enjoy weaving my hair and having a whole lot of range of options and I don’t think I’m the only one. For now, I’m team Weave for everyone that wants one and team no judging
Growing my hair without relaxing, has given me an image of what my ancestors hair was like, and also taught be to appreciate how beautifully different I am to everyone and how I like changing hairstyles. I will continue to do what I have found comes naturally which is changing up my hairstyles A LOT. With that, I decided for now I miss having length, I miss changing my hair all the time, and that I would still continue to follow and support Team Natural.
I guess I made it out bigger than it had to be…but then again it only seems like it wasn’t a big deal now that I’m at a current peace with it.