I wasn’t born with this type of curl, it was much tighter and had more bounce to it. You could pull on it’s spiral and it’d slinky right back into it’s thick curly wonder. I never had to worry about straight pieces in the mix, or loose curls found throughout, it was always all a curly perfection. There was so much volume I could loose things in it…
This is what I find myself saying every time someone compliments my hair, or asks me a question on my curls. Yet every time they are equally amazed that I’m still not in love with my curls. With their straight hair they stare in awe at what lays on my head, they ask to touch, to pull, and to feel. It’s all so familiar but yet I still feel so detached from it. It’s apart of me but I’m just still not happy with it. How can you be in love with something that might not return to it’s natural state? I’m learning to love it as it slowly starts to get back to what it once was, but I’m still not there yet. Will it ever get back to it’s true state? Why did I ever try to make it something it wasn’t?
I know my hair is my hair,and mine only. Not everyone will have the type of curl that I have, and I’m still learning to embrace that too. I’m still learning to not long after one woman’s curls, or the other’s. But to embrace mine. My curls that come from my African American father and my Mexican mother. They are long, strong and full of life. But they still aren’t mine. I still don’t recognize the new curl pattern I have, I still reminisce on what it used to be. Because I once didn’t appreciate the curly locks I actually had. I damaged them, I burned them, and I put them through all the chemicals in the world ensuring they’d be something different, something-anything as far away from curly as I could get. No, I can’t love my hair now because I’m still angry with myself for not loving my hair then. And that’s okay.
This natural hair journey is hard and awkward. After years of loving and pursuing silky-straight hair, and being taught that bigger isn’t always better, and that curls equal frizz ,and that frizz equals ugly, and that ugly equals your hair; it’s going to take some time to embrace the many different ways to love your hair. From presses to blowouts, from damaging chemicals and texture altering products, to hair on our heads that came from an Indian woman. How do we arrive at the spot where we love our hair again?
It’s definitely not something that will happen over night, we won’t wake up loving the life that grows from our head, but it’ll happen in steps. Doing the big chop is a huge step towards healthy hair growth, but it doesn’t chop the beauty ideals out of your mind too. At times you’ll still long for that long sleek hair, that hair that rain doesn’t affect or alter, or that you can just let down when you sleep. You’ll want it mentally, but you’ll start to see that what you have is beautiful too. As you start to take care of the life on your head, and give it what it needs, you’ll start to see that beauty was there all along.
It’s okay to find yourself reflecting on all the damage you may have caused, but you need to know that the damage wasn’t caused on its own. You were not in it alone. There were many factors and small life moments, that actually created this hair self- hating wave you were stuck in. It was that first trip to the beauty salon at seven to get your first perm, it was that time your mom told you to fix your nappy hair before you left the house, it was being told by your peers that you looked better with 18inches of hair from a woman you’d never met. You didn’t create this damage on your own, so don’t feel alone. We were all left damaged. We are all now struggling to embrace what is actually ours. We are all now learning to do it together.
There is a beautiful new community forming of learning to love what is ours and to make sure our daughters know that what they have is beautiful. I’m still learning to love my natural hair, and it’s okay if you still are too. We are in this together, we are sharing stories and tips, and we are teaching and cultivating the younger generations to do the same.
To all my natural hair women out there we will get there one day, and it will be breathtakingly beautiful. Your natural is beautiful, you’re beautiful and your journey is beautiful.
From One Natural Hair Journey Woman To Another.
Cross-posted from Lone Star in the City.
Alexis Kristiana is a twenty five year old freelance fashion assistant and stylist living in Brooklyn NY. She currently styles flat product shoots and visual merchandising shoots for Nautica and is in the process of starting her own fashion blog and YouTube channel. She's a texan transplant deeply missing real BBQ and wide open fields. Her passions are fashion, beauty and all things health related.