As I mentioned in my last post I faced a few challenges during my transitioning period that helped me become more confident in my choice to remain Natural. The challenge that required the most personal/emotional strength was when it came to what other people said.
Mommy & Daddy Dearest,
My mother did not understand my choice mainly because of my workplace. My mother has been around the block and back when it came to her hair. I’m talking fades to braids, perms and weaves, hair down her back and now lovely dreads. She is very liberal with her hair but since I worked at a “nice, professional” place it wouldn’t look right or I wouldn’t fit in. “Fitting in” has never really been a concern of mine but I did take her words to heart about what “they” might think. I work in a suit-tie-pencil skirt environment…..and here I come with my mini fro! I guess my mother’s warning helped me choose more conservative styles while transitioning, such a bantu-knot and twist-outs. They mainly had the look of a curly up-do.
My father (who is far from vain) just kept repeating-it won’t grow back….do you know what you are doing? Why don’t you just leave your hair alone? To this I said “I am, I’m leaving it alone and not adding chemicals anymore.” He didn’t really say much after that…except don’t cut it!
My female cousins asked why, they didn’t think I would stick with it and were pleasantly surprised when I did.
My husband tried to hold back his comments to spare my feelings but he knows I’m a big girl and words are just words. Let’s just say that after a long talk about what I was trying to achieve, what he wanted to see aesthetically and what the alternative was and the cost….he understood my choice and supported 100%. He is too honest at times and I like that….I need it.
The persons above, my family, said things that mattered and that hurt at times but it came from love. I heard them out….and gave them a piece of my mind-out of love of course ;).
It may not be that easy for some of you transitioning and I do not want to take that for granted. You may not find constructive criticism or positive advice…but I’m here for ya!
With my acquaintances, co-workers and strangers I didn’t hear too many negative comments….mainly curiosity. The non-blacks that I worked with were as kind as they could be, asked some simple questions and were in awe at my answers. They didn’t know, so they asked. This type of conversation or question/answer period was fun to me and welcome. They may have said some politically incorrect things but it was funny! The vibe that I got from the non-blacks I encountered was positive, appreciative and inquisitive. The question I was asked the most was “why do you hide this?”! This natural, kinky, coily, nappy-at-times fluff is what they were talking about…..all 3-4 inches of it (at the time). My mane, that I had been stripping and hiding, was being appreciated by the same people I used to want MY hair to be like!
This boosted my confidence in me. I am different and that’s just too damn fine.
Compliments galore from non-black men like whoa! It showed me just how attractive acceptance is. It allows you to just be….your negative energy about yourself gets placed somewhere else…mostly in noticing and maintaining how fly you are.
It is sad to say the non-remarks or negative remarks mostly came from my people (my people = the limited black people that I see in public at work).
while rocking a curly ‘fro.
(btw I dislike very much the word relax as if my hair is going crazy or something).
when I clearly had some twists in my hair.
The stares and looks and some back-handed remarks such as:
my hair was in the best braid out SON! (à la Dave Chappelle) and really…”naps fixed”.
So I started to see what “my people’s” message was towards my hair and the message I was getting from the majority of society….which was that I’m fly!
I accepted the latter…and ran with it. I am fly because I am me.
YOU WILL NEED THICK SKIN
Not just for the negative but for the positive as well. You can’t let the compliments get to you….all you are doing is accepting your hair. So while it is a great achievement in our North American society it’s just hair.
If you realize why you are making the choice to remain natural and it is for a positive reason founded in self-love or self-growth or self-acceptance then you can handle ANYTHING that comes your way. All you have to do is repeat what the alternative would be and see if that fits in with your personal choice.
For example- If you hear comments like,
all I would say is “Nope, its just dry…I’ll moisturize it later or I’ll go to the sink and wet my hands and work my magic”
The fact is that it may be true…. in the eyes of someone who prefers their hair to be straight or silky.
if I am wearing a ‘fro and someone asks
I may just say “yes I didn’t”. When I don’t do much with it-it’s in the ‘fro state.
to each their own. I don’t think every hair style and person is cute, so not everyone will think I am. If I have likes and dislikes….so will they. Just respect my ish and we’ll be good to go!
my only response would be “you haven’t touched black hair before?”
Ask something basic it might come right back at ya……once my question is answered I know where to go with the rest of the convo.
(Booyakah! I may need that description for an ad….kinda proud of that description)
All jokes aside (I hope you get the joke)…..your confidence starts with you. It may get a boost from outside sources but will also be challenged by them as well, so be prepared. Have faith that your decision to go natural is done with positive and good intentions. Do not allow the negativity of others to bring you down or sway your course. The negative energy is theirs to keep…and the body can only hold so much so they may choose to pass it on. Recognize it, be prepared by knowing your reasons and enjoy the ride.
Its only hair…..and a box of perm is only 20-30 minutes away (or a good weave maybe 3-4 hours away)… Please, I’m not saying give up on your journey but don’t sweat it either….cuz y’all know that you can’t apply perm to a sweaty scalp. The rules…the rules…..OK, let me stop!