Natural Hair Don't Care

Recently, I've been thinking a lot about natural hair. For the first time in my life, I am one of the few girls with weaves. Back home, everyone has a weave. Seeing a girl with natural hair or with an afro is less common than seeing someone with 26-inch “Indian Wavy." However, since I've been in DC, I’ve seen so many black girls rocking their natural hair, forcing me to confront my own relationship with my natural hair, or lack thereof. I’ve been wearing weaves on and off since I was 11 years old. For the past seven years of my life, my weave has become a security blanket, and enabled me to fit in with my peers. I have attended PWIs (predominantly white institutions) all my life. There were only six other black girls in my grade; four of us wore weaves, one girl straightened her natural hair, and another one wore her hair in the style we would consider “natural” today. In high school, I was afraid to wear my natural hair in the fear of being perceived as even more of an “other” than I already was because of my skin, nor did I want my hair to define me. A large part of me regrets this. I regret letting other people impact my self esteem and keep me from showing my authentic self. Going natural is more than just a physical journey; it's also a mental journey of self love and discovery —a journey of learning to love what society has deemed unacceptable. Society has categorized the hair that comes out of my head as “unruly” and “unprofessional." This is one of the many reasons why black women have covered their natural hair or altered it with chemicals. Granted, in recent years, the surge of the natural hair movement has made it easier and normalized black woman wearing their hair in it’s natural state. Many black women still face texture discrimination: the favor of one hair texture over another. Colorism is also a factor in the natural hair movement. Why are we more accepting of light skinned girls with coarse hair but have deemed it unacceptable on dark skinned girls? Why do we assume dark skinned girls with a looser curl pattern are mixed? Ultimately, the natural hair journey is more than just about hair; it reflects a multitude of complex issues within the black community.

 

I still struggle with whether or not I want to go natural, and have battled internalized racism and pressure to succumb to eurocentric beauty standards. In the end, the natural hair journey, for me, is a journey of self discovery, love, and saying “F you” to anyone who downplays or invalidates our beauty.

So if you're like me, and struggling with coming to terms with your natural hair, play some Solange and say F the haters.