I have been natural for 1 year (Sept 29th, 2011), but the journey has almost reached 2 years. My friends (who all have chemically treated hair) have seen me throughout my stages. I am at the point in my journey where I AM confident about my appearance-it all makes sense now. I feel as though the outside reflects the inside-not too high-maintenance, easily converts from casual to tomboy-sexy, fun, care-free and very unique. She (my hair) is strong, independent, shies away at times on rainy days (shrinkage)-but loves to give an understated WOW!
With the acceptance that I now have for self-I am noticing that those around me are at times defensive or offended.
I am proud of my hair and its progress, but I hate being in a situation where my hair is the source of someone else’s self-consciousness or lack of esteem in the moment.
I would never want to bring those negative feelings to anyone’s door…..but at times, my hair seems to do that all on her own!
Here are a few scenarios that I have dealt with in the recent past that make me tense……
#1 Have you ever started speaking about your hair with your girls, who happen to have permed hair, in a positive light and noticed that they want to defend their hair or make an excuse as to why they chemically treat their hair?
I am not the type to speak of myself too often; at times I believe speaking can be a distraction from who you really are. But there are precious moments when something great has happened and I want to share with my girls. I may go out with a friend and speak of my efforts to create an amazing hair style. Sometimes I’ll get a compliment, but most of the time all they are focussed on is telling me why they “can’t do it (go natural)”, they “can’t handle it”, it “won’t look good” on them etc.
They also mention how much “easier” it is for them to have chemically treated hair. I try not to re-tort and talk about healthy hair practises and pride in not assimilating to European standards because I do not want to offend…..but when I am rejoicing in my glory-it seems that I am offending others effortlessly.
#2 Have you ever been out with your girls and YOU (being the only natural) are getting attention from men and seem to feel those around you become offended….even if you didn’t say a word in response?
I HATE when this happens because most of the time I don’t even notice the men or want the attention from them (I’m an introvert) but my girls do. Most men that approach me are so uplifting. They compliment my hair, some tell me their views on natural hair, some stare and some want more.
I take these compliments as flattery, that’s all it is in the end. But at times, my girls make comments that I hate-“so you didn’t notice us standing here” or “thanx, so my hair isn’t great”.
At a house party maybe 6 months ago, I was standing in between 2 of my friends who have chemically treated their hair; both ladies looked gorgeous that night!
3 men were standing around us and 1 decided to compliment me on my hair. He said “I really like your hair, is it natural?” I replied “yes, thank you”. He and his friend went on to say that it looks really good, they love natural hair and wish more women would go natural. To this I said “thank you very much.” Before these gentlemen had the chance to continue, change the topic or just hang with us, home girl on my right says “THANKS!” and home girl on my left adds “ I KNOW RIGHT, LIKE WE’RE NOT STANDING RIGHT HERE”. I looked at them both thinking they’re not trying to bring attention to themselves like this, are they? I could not believe they were offended-when nothing happened to them or was said about them. The guys, who were now hella uncomfortable, said “I didn’t say anything bad about your hair I just like natural hair.” Home girl on the right chimes in “Well you saw us standing here and only spoke of natural hair, what about ours!”
I have no idea what was said after that cuz I removed myself from the situation. Like I said, I do not want to make anyone feel “less-than” but my hair speaks for itself. Whatever message is received by the “listener” is out of my control.
Needless to say, I do not speak of my hair with any of my home girls. There are a few friends and acquaintances who are natural and we share stories and tips…..but for the most part when it comes to sharing about my hair I write on ManeAttention.com and enjoy this community-which I see as an extended community for me!