The Choice to Stay Natural

Joey with short hair

Dear Dumplin,

I did not always maintain my natural hair. I’m not sure when I received my first relaxer but I believe it was in the 2nd or 3rd grade. Many girls my age loved getting their hair done. I hated it. I was tender headed and would always get burned by the relaxer. I dreaded it. As I got older, I had more freedom with how I styled my hair. Braids, doobies, and short haircuts were in regular rotation. Then my hair fell out. My hair fell out BADLY. I had my hair relaxed by a new beautician and he kept smoothing and smoothing and smoothing.

I remember saying, “My scalp is hot!

He said, “Oh no honey your hair isn’t straight yet.”

I waited five minutes. Then I said, “It really hurts!”

He responded, “I gotta make sure it sticks!”

He finally rinsed it out and I had scabs for days. A week later I went in for a deep conditioning and my hair came right out in the sink along with the beautiful finger waves he had sculpted.

After that, I had my hair braided. When it was time to take the braids out, I wondered why I kept torturing myself. I had all of the straight ends cut off and I felt FREE. There is something so liberating about cutting one’s hair off and I think every woman should do it at least once in her life. I let my hair grow after that and had various natural hairstyles. As it got longer, I became more impatient. I began to dread wash days. Who wanted to detangle? I wanted to be free!! Instead of cut it, I relaxed it again and regretted it immediately. Now I was trapped again. I was at the mercy of my beautician. I had to get that touch up and trim. I couldn’t let my edges get too fuzzy and don’t even look at my kitchen!!!!  On July 7, 2007, I had my last chemical treatment. I had a fresh relaxer, wash and condition, beautifully trimmed ends, and I hated it. I wanted to be myself. I went home and promised myself that I would not relax my hair again and I’ve been natural ever since.

However, I must be honest with you. I don’t think your mama is a hair person. I’d much rather sit somewhere and read a book with a nice cup of coffee than do my hair. I’d rather flip through a glossy magazine than sit and get my hair braided. And the result? I have more bad hair days then good ones and I often go without moisturizing for longer than I should. I have started a pinterest board with motivation to do my third big chop. Whatever I do, I’ve decided to stay natural. It’s more than a style preference for me. Not only do I love a beautiful head of kinky curly hair, it’s important that you know you are beautiful just the way God made you. No mistakes were made. Your hair is art. It can speak volumes although your mouth is closed. You can wear it straight without chemically altering its structure. You have options. But your mama… Well.. Your mama is itching for another haircut. Let’s see what happens.

What I want you know? Your hair is perfect just the way it is. And should you be a hair person and love to change your hair often?  I will support that. Just know that you don’t have to change a thing.



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