Few of my friends have asked me why I stopped relaxing my hair back in 2012. There seems to be a general idea that this is what should have been happening all along. My transitioning began by accident. It wasn’t a researched, well-informed, or fully documented decision. I simply couldn’t find my relaxer of choice at the drugstore near me, and I honestly dreaded having to go to hairdresser to have it done. That meant I would be spending my whole Saturday there, instead of at the park enjoying the summer heat. It was then that one of my cousins casually said, “don’t relax it, go natural” and that was it, the choice was made.
I had been relaxing my hair since I was 10 years old, my first shock came when half of my hair was coily and half straight. That was the first glimpse of what my natural coily hair would look and feel like. True, I’ve always been open to try new and different things with my hair, like perms, coloring, letting it grow or cutting it short. But this was a whole new ball game.
Letting go of those monthly encounters with hair chemicals ended up being a deep and reflective personal journey, most certainly a crash course on self-love. First, there is the never-ending learning curve. When you think you have mastered how to treat and manage your hair, it grows; or the season changes; and you must begin all over again. It’s the ever-present change that is part of being alive. And I don’t mean only big changes, like moving away or getting married. I mean the subtle changes, like going from night to day or noticing your breathing minute by minute. Life is about change and so is this journey.
Changes over time
Then, there is this understanding that your hair is unique and will never look like the hair you see on so many on the internet. My hair is made up of three different textures and that is what makes it unique. The beauty of this journey is to discover what your hair likes, what it doesn’t like, what is best for it. If the best for you is to keep it short, or long. If you like braids or twists. Every inch of the way is a discovery of how to make it work for you. And believe me, whether your hair is natural or not, making it look like you want takes patience and effort.
Last, but not least, I’ve learned that my hair is a part of me but it doesn’t define who I am. This process helped me build confidence and become aware of how to take better care of myself. It has been a deep and reflective journey that has everything to do with loving and accepting all of who I am, including my hair. My hair has never looked as beautiful as it does today and I’ve never been so proud of wearing my crown.
The Lulo Project Family