Embracing My Natural

I’ve been natural for nearly two years, but I’ve never worn it that way.

For the past few years, in the black community there has been a surge of women ‘going natural.’ For those of who are unaware, for decades, black women put relaxers, or perms, in their hair to make it straight – arguably to adhere to the European standard of beauty. So the ‘natural’ trend outlines black women no longer relaxing their hair and embracing their kinks & curls.

Personally, I love straight hair. I like sleek looks, and think it frames my face better. However sometime in sophomore year I simply stopped going to get a relaxer and protecting my hair more consistently with weave, braids, or twists. Whenever I would take my hair out, I realized my hair was growing so much faster than when I was getting a relaxer. Inspired by my curly-haired friends, I told myself I was officially ‘going natural.’

From then until now, as a second-semester senior, I never wore my hair out naturally. It was just so far out of my comfort zone that I never showed it to the world. I’d take a picture of it & send it to my friends – only to keep the image locked away in my phone. Also, being natural requires a significant amount of effort to maintain. It is not for the lazy, and I’m not ashamed to say that was me.

As my hair got longer and I felt more comfortable with it, something in my heart kept telling me to go a week without straightening it or with some kind of protective style. I even told my friends to hold me to my word. However friends, sometimes life gets the best of you. I ended up only wearing it natural for a solid 36 hours.

Somehow those 36 hours though were liberating. I almost cringe writing that because its so utterly cliche. Although it was weird getting used to seeing myself that way (& I must admit that I put on a face of makeup that morning), I felt free to play in  my hair all day as if I were embracing my true self.

I’m taking 2017 by the reigns, doing things I normally wouldn’t and everything I should. I’m loving every part of me, even the parts I hide under protective styles – overall becoming my best self. Yesterday was a major milestone for me. I hope you do something liberating today.

*Next time I’ll go a full week, I promise.*

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