Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Born to be WILD

June 11, 2010. The first day of World Cup South Africa 2010.

But more importantly (in a self centered sort of way), June 11 marks the day that I did the BIG CHOP. The short version of that is that I decided to cut off the chemically straighten part of my hair- which i have been doing since the single digits- and letting my natural curly/kinky hair grow out freely. so basically I went from this:

to this:

yea. pretty exciting. I wanted to make an update on my new look but i don't see why it's necessary to make an entirely new blog for it (after all, i already have 2 blogs to keep up with). Plus i don't have enough time to dedicate my free time to being a full time 'naturalist' and trying out/ reviewing/ researching all these different products and recipes for my hair...

Now. I hope you are wondering why i decided to go natural. Honestly it started by watching this history of Soul Train on Vh1 during black history month. specifically an episode where they were explaining how Soul Train was the first African American owned, ran, and hosted tv show in the US which had a lot of commericals that focused on making black beautiful- including black natural hair. It was then that i realized the connection between being natural and being comfortable with my african 'heritage'. From there came two other moments that pushed me over the natural hair edge- my last hairdresser appointment (where i realized just how badly my hair breakage was) and watching Good Hair by Chris Rock.

Good Hair made me really look at the idea of how much my hair means to me and how much a black women that lives in America sees straight hair as being related to 'pretty'. I'll let you in on a secret: I feel the prettiest right after i get a relaxer (or chemically straighten my hair); when my hair is so straight that i can feel my scalp, not puff. All i want is long black hair that is straight and falls down to the middle of my back. I feel beautiful with that hair, not with the hair that i already have- i'm ugly with this hair on my head.

To make an already long story short, i decided that I need to know what my hair is and what it looks like. I want to know what my hair likes to do, what it does in different circumstances, and what products it reacts to. The process of straightening basically strips the protein from your hair to make it fall straight and limp. no, my hair should be free to grow and curl and shrink and absorb and do whatever it wants- AND I SHOULD LOVE IT.

There are also some other reasons for this decision, like recognizing that permanently altering my hair on a regular basis originated from black ppl trying desperately to disown their black characteristics and look more white. On a certain level straightening my hair is literally like living oppression on your head- a daily reminder that i do not feel comfortable in my own skin, in the body God has given me to cherish and love, that all i want to do is look like someone else. I used to make the argument that straightening black hair was now a part of the African-American culture, but you can't always just forget where you came from. The emotional connection between beauty and straight hair for black women shouldn't be ignored.

There's also an environmental side to my decision that i didn't really catch on to until i chopped it all off. To go natural tends to apply to a lot of parts of your daily routine- it's a lifestyle change. The more natural the ingredients, the better for your hair. For natural black hair, a lot of chemicals and alcohols strip your hair of moisture that it desperately needs (natural hair thirsts for moisture like crazy). This allows me to start becoming sustainable in my hair routine. I even have the option now of making my own recipes for conditioners or moisturizers or whatever! Also, being natural frees me from having to go to the hair dresser ever month to use harmful and toxic chemicals that burn my forehead and cause breakage. Not to mention being responsible for all of the crap that must be in the water system thanks to those chemical relaxers.

so there. now you know.

For peace and liberation,

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