Many people who meet me, don't believe me and it almost becomes a contest to determine who has 'harder' hair. I can forgive them because before I went natural, I believed that my hair was the so called 'ugly' kind of natural hair that no one wants....praying that what sprouts from my scalp will be curly and springy strands only for them to... not be.
I watched a video by a reader of mine and she said something very interesting. To paraphrase, she said that before she went natural, many people discouraged her because apparently "only certain people should go natural" and she wasn't one of those people who should because of her hair texture. (NB dear My Fro & I reader, please re-send me the link to your vid so everyone can watch!)
And a lil while later, read this article: Making My Natural Hair Look Acceptable Takes Up an Obscene Amount of My Time
OMG! I had to laugh at the part 'Even at 5.a.m., my vanity gave me the strength to stand in that bathroom and twist my hair for an hour before going back to bed'. That was something I'd do!! As soon as I read that article, I had a montage of flashbacks to when I'd rock up to work or a social gathering with my shrunken, unstyled fro and how people would look at me quizzically and ask (in secret or aloud) "What happened to your hair?", "Did you cut it?" "You look...different". From the increased compliments when I wear a twist out, or when my hair outgrew the TWA stage, it seems that we think certain textures are more attractive than others and if our hair doesn't naturally look like that texture, we break our backs to conform to it - which is quite the contradiction considering many naturals go natural so as not to conform to another beauty ideal. Hmm.
If I wash my hair and do nothing to it, my hair looks like this:
|Approx. 6 months after the BC|
...and feels like crap. It's dry, it's hard and an absolute nightmare to pull a comb through. Tell me that's not 'hard-looking' hair. But here's the thing: so what if it is? Why can't I love my hair as it is? Why did I think only one kind of natural was beautiful, funky, sexy? Many people didn't used to see me with my hair as is. And many of you are used to seeing Fro like this:
|6 months post BC|
Tseli mailed me her hair story and her the end of her long search for the prefect curls:
"What I didn't realise was that their hair is not my hair - nor will it ever be. 'Natural' is not an all-encompassing type or texture, it's a state of being. Like being happy: what works for some, won't work for others. I thought maybe it was because I couldn't get the same products here in SA that those US chicks used - but after discovering you (and a 4C youtuber called Jouelzy) I realised that it was far simpler than that - their hair is just not my hair, that's all."
I responded: And yes, African hair, as 'stubborn' as it some of it can be is beyond beautiful. I'm glad you've let go of the search for the 'perfect' curls and accepted your hair for what it is. It's a battle many of us don't ever win.
I'm glad to say that I now no longer think there's such a thing as only people with a certain hair type or curl type should go natural. If it's loved, it's beautiful. Now, I think that the only people who should go natural are those willing to learn how to care for it.
Behold, my hair in all its shrunken, hard, unmanageable and not-as-funky-as-the-streched-out-fro glory!
This is for all the women who believe their hair isn't 'beautiful' enough or isn't the 'right' curl pattern to go natural.