This is a question I get asked all the time. Some people chose to go natural because its just the popular thing to do. Others, because they had unhealthy hair. My reasons weren’t really any of those. I’ve been natural for 5 years and I’d like to think I went natural before it was a fad and EVERYBODY was doing it. I wasn’t the first out of my circle. My roommate started going natural our freshman year, and thought it was nice for her, but not for me. I was bound to the creamy crack. Fast forward to the summer of my senior year. I was well into my healthy living when I decided to make my whole self healthy.
I decided to transition from a relaxer to natural hair the summer before my senior year. One day while I was on a trip in Costa Rica, it just clicked. That school year I had to take swimming, as it was required for Physical Education majors. I was stressing that whole semester about my hair. I did not get relaxers the whole time. My mom kept it braided and my hair GREW. Once I was done with the swimming class, I headed straight to my hair dresser to get a relaxer for all that unruly new growth. My friends that did not know me before that semester marveled at how long my hair was that had been in braids all semester. I began to question why people but so much into a woman’s hair? And why is it established that straight, flowy hair is more attractive than curly, kinky hair? While I was in Costa Rica, I once again had braids, so I would not have to deal with the humidity and my straight hair. I took the braids out at the end of the trip and enjoyed my curly crop. I thought to myself, I could do this all the time.
After that trip to Costa Rica, I did not return to my hairdresser to get another relaxer. I started spending hours on the internet searching for the best products, I was well on my way to becoming a product junky. I asked other naturals what they did and imagined what my hair texture would be like, since I had not been chemical free since 4th grade. My original intention was to transition slowly without doing a big chop, because I treasured my long thick hair. I don’t know when or how it happened, but I realized I was going about this all wrong. I was hoping and praying for loose bouncy curls or “good hair” and hanging on to my length as long as I could. During Christmas break of my senior year, December 2010, decided to leave it all behind and did the big chop. I left behind the idea of “good hair” and the thought that long hair is beautiful hair. I went to my hairdresser, who said, “I can’t believe your cutting off all that hair.” But I didn’t care, my mind was made up. I had my TWA (tiny weenie afro).
I loved and embraced my natural hair. I was also very thankful that my husband loved and embraced it just as I did. I feel like I was lucky, because not every man understands why women have natural hair and many prefer that typical standard of beauty. I straighten my hair once a year to see my growth. I went threw a period when I dyed my natural hair. I decided that too was contradictory to the idea of natural hair. So I grew that out cutting it off slowly each month. 5 years after my original big chop, and growing out color my hair is close to the length it was when I went natural. Sometimes I get comments when I straighten my hair like, “why don’t you keep it straight” or “I bet your husbands happy.” But they don’t phase me. I went natural because I felt it was the healthiest, most practical choice for me. Natural hair to me means freedom. Freedom from being chained to a salon chair for an entire Saturday every 6-8 weeks, freedom from that $60+ bill, freedom from fear of humidity and water, and freedom from other peoples thoughts of what beauty is and should be. Now I am free to be naturally me!