Vibes

A Hair Journey

Hair…is an interesting thing. For so many years, I feel like my hair was just…a thing in the background. You know, like, aside from maintaining it, I never put too much thought into it. It just…was. Like many black women, I grew up with hot combs and a Just for Me perm by the time I was out of elementary school. The type of “hair maintenance” that I was taught, was to get my kinks as straight and slick as possible. The hotter the flat iron, the stronger the relaxer, the better. And through childhood, adolescence, and young adulthood, I never even questioned this.

I got introduced to my first real weave in college (can we not talk about the infamous fake ponytail? Thanks). You mean, I could braid up these naps and wear this {insert euro-ethnic hair type} that was straighter and sleeker than I could ever make my own? Yes, please! I spent my early 20’s full of sew-in’s and thousands of dollars spent on covering my own hair…so that I could rock this other hair that didn’t belong to me. And I mean that, now, in the deepest sense you can take it sis.

But back then, I didn’t think any of it. It just…was.

I wonder though, what would I have thought, if I had the mindset then, that I have now. Would I have been super woke? Would I have been the sister with the bullhorn at the very beginnings of the natural hair movement talking about self hate and eurocentric beauty standards? Or would I have had the same lax, but solid, opinion that I have now? Would I have cared? Would I have had the confidence to change? Would I have even wanted to?

I can’t pinpoint when things changed. I can tell you though, that it was no dramatic moment where I discovered I had this deep rooted self hatred thing going on. I assure you, it was wayyy less woke than that. It had more to do with the fact that I was losing my hair due to postpartum hair loss and I was ready and willing to try anything to get my edges back. That search for “anything” led to me to the natural hair community. This was around the time where it was really starting to get popping and the 3c curly girls were all over youtube. I figured, why not? And so, my transition to natural hair began.

FOUR YEARS NATURAL

A Hair Journey

I spent the next four years desperately twisting my hair into submission (see photo above). The first three, I dove deep into the natural hair community. I began blogging about it, contributing to magazines about it (which I still do), I even spoke on a panel about it in 2015. I appreciate that time I had to learn more about my hair, how to take care of it, and slowly started to reflect back on the years of relaxing, straightening, and spending the equivalent of car notes on weaves.

After the novelty wore off and the realization that my hair would never look like {insert popular 3c youtuber}, I began to feel indifferent about it. The next year or so was interesting. I wasn’t taking care of my hair, rarely wore it out, and had begun to protective style constantly…not out of a need for protection but out of disdain for not knowing how to get my natural hair to look how I wanted without spending a million and one hours I didn’t have. I was in a cycle that was familiar; attempting to suppress my hair and hiding it whenever I could. But, unlike those earlier years…I had thoughts about this. It wasn’t…just hair anymore to me.

MY LOCS

A Hair Journey

I just finished washing and deep conditioning my hair. My energy was gone as I had given pretty much all I had to chasing children, tackling laundry, and cooking for my family–who eats more like a small sports team to be honest. Nothing in me felt like detangling, moisturizing, oiling and retwisting my hair just to be irritated that my fro didn’t come out the way I’d hoped or had shrunken from resting on my shoulders to barely grazing my ear lobes. I was exhausted, tired, frustrated…I was over it.

What was this all even for?

I don’t even want to think about the time I spent on my hair in the four years that I was a loose natural. It’s scary. Wash day was a legit day long experience for me. And maintaining some semblance of a curl pattern meant I was taking hours each week to retwist, untwist, pick and repeat. At this point, I had decided, maybe it really was just hair and if so? Taking all this time out my life to make it look, once again, like something that didn’t belong to me? Pointless. I was done.

I twisted my hair and decided, that was that. I’d let it do it’s own thing.

Five months in and I finally feel like, I’m truly embracing my naturalΒ hair. And let me real, it’s a struggle every day. My hair is my alter ego. She’s wild, I’m chill. She’s bold, I’m laid back. I’m quiet observing the scene and she is the scene. She’s grows up and out making herself known.Β She’s not afraid to be her. And as locs, no matter how I’ve tried to tame her in my moments of exasperation, she’s absolutely determined to be free. She’s helping me to understand and peel back the layers of myself. And doing that, is always tough work.

I have come to learn that…yea, maybe it is just hair. But, I can’t deny that my hair journey has paralleled my life journey so very perfectly. So…I guess I’ll let you be the judge. Just hair or nah?


Once a month I share a letter from my journey with those on my email list. WELL SPENT is part things I’ve come across that inspire me and things I think might resonate with you. It’s also part lesson learned for good measure. And a few extra tidbits along the way. Mostly stuff that didn’t make it here or that I’m too nervous to share on the blog. You know, things I keep for the people who are in this with me ;).



You Might Also Like

No Comments

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: