Thursday, September 20, 2012

Repost: What Being Natural Has Really Taught Me

Up until a couple of years ago, I was that young girl who felt so ugly if my hair wasn't done. My hair was either in box braids or twists, and during the in-between I hid my attempts at wearing my hair loose under a hat or scarf and headed to class. On those days my moods were off and I had to struggle to keep from crying because I thought I was so damn ugly. Whether I was in an exciting production class or taking notes on a lecture, the way my hair looked under my hat or scarf was always taking over a big part of my concentration. I just wanted to have pretty hair and look good, like the actresses and random women my guy friends drooled after.

And so began the natural hair journey, which included learning to be comfortable in my own skin. Sure, I've never been relaxed and I was that girl who "had the Indian in her, with the good hair" but that didn't spare me from comments that it needed fixing. I had too much hair, it was big and poofy, and needed to be tamed somehow. A relaxer was suggested to make me "look prettier" and to "enhance" my so-called exotic (read: non-black) side which was both confusing and irritating for me--it played into my identity issues as kid that I'm still processing. Learning about natural hair connected me to my ethnicities, my culture, and how I started seeing myself as a proud woman of color.

For me bad hair days no longer exist, and it's not because I always know what to do with my hair. It's because I no longer view myself and my hair the same way I used to. Yes, there are days when my hair didn't come out the way I may have wanted but it does not have a heavy impact on my mood like it used to; because now I am satisfied with my looks and embrace what I've got. I no longer measure myself against others because I too am great in my own way. I wear make-up sometimes because I want to, not because I need it. I wear my hair straight, in fluffy, undefined styles, and sometimes in twists and braids and I'm comfortable in all of it.

Whether you've done the "Big Chop" and sporting short hair, transitioning, or just learning how to work with your "crown and glory" know that this journey is FOR YOU and BY YOU. Hair won't make you a better person and instantly prettier if you don't already feel that way. As a young person of color it can be hard but you're not alone and you have support, including (I hope) this blog =)

PS: Listening to TLC's "Unpretty" is what inspired this post. Their video/lyrics are timeless truths of what goes on today.

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