January 22, 2011

How Far Have You Come In Your Natural Journey…

Here’s to kicking off this chilly weekend on a positive note! My recent Guest Post from BGLH:

{how GORGEOUS is this}

Do you ever give yourself a pat on the back in light of how far you’ve come in your natural journey? Truthfully, some may sneer and balk at the idea of a natural femme spending several hours dotting on her tresses, taking the extra care to detangle, twist & style…but this simple act, over time adds up to such a greater accomplishment. Thinking back to when I was younger, growing up with a mother who brushed, combed and greased my hair regularly…I rarely if ever saw a grown woman care for her natural hair. This perhaps wasn’t the norm back in the early 80’s, but it was such a rarity that another person had to convince me it was true.

The dolls I carried around as a child were similar to me in likeness…but to a fault. Thanks to PJ sparkles I understood that in order to be/feel pretty, I had to dress in pink, rock a pink bow cocked to one side and grow long silky black hair.

And I did. Until I dared for something more and sought change where even my own mum felt uncomfortable in exploring. It starts off slow…and progressively, the anticipation grows when you realize that natural hair does not have to be banned from anyone’s life. It does not have to be shammed for what it is, what it can nurture and grow into as we get older. There is in fact life after pigtails and ribbons adorned in perfect symmetry.

And while I sometimes wish these lessons were taught to me at an earlier age…it’s more than fine to explore and learn these lessons today. I’m thankful, grateful and encouraged each day that the natural hair community gets stronger, bolder and thrives! This is not about showing pride per say…but more so acknowledging a job well done. I started from bare bones…no support system. A mother and father who, rather than understand, relegated my decisions to fits of crazy. Close friends nicknamed me Chia Pet, laughed behind my back and often to my face saying…”you’re too old to be wearing your hair that way.”

When you’ve come to hear it all, ironically you don’t care at all…anymore. Perseverance is a strong alliance in this journey and without it I’d be lost. When I mention to other newly naturals that my first Big Chop was over 10 years ago, rarely do I mention the void that existed back then. It’s where I was…how it all started. And yet, often this is how the most inspiring, sustainable journeys begin. From nothing but inspiration & determination we’re able to witness a growing movement so strong, I’m often taken aback at how far we’ve all come in this journey. As a collective, it’s humbling to see how much we’re willing to learn daily, weekly in order to care for our tresses…to help persevere that knowledge for our now future generations.

Of course this is more than just about hair. It’s about respect, and saying I acknowledge all that you do in order to persist in this journey each day. It’s also, more than anything…encouragement, so rather than look at how far you’ve yet to go, instead be thankful and appreciate all that you’ve already accomplished.

4 Responses to “How Far Have You Come In Your Natural Journey…”

  1. Shannon

    Good afternoon Chai, how far have I come?? Hmmm dunno . . . .I have not permed since early September so I had to find something in the meantime to gain a coupl of inches for my now kinky twists. I sported the shaved off/close cut with a long side bang through the later part of the summer. And decided “for real this time” to go au natural. I have spent today on blog after blog, on people’s regimines, products, and stories. And am soaking it allll up (this hair stuff is addictively serious).

    I now ask any suggestions? On the easiest/best way through this process. I know patience is a virture but, besides that.

    Thanks in advance.

    Going Back to the Days When Mommy Gave Me Vigorols for Maintainence . . . . .

    • chai

      Hi, Shannon!
      You couldn’t be more right on the ‘addicting’aspect of jumping from blog to blog…to youtube and sometimes back again, lol. It took me months to soak up all the info and to sort of reach a plateau where all of it finally became useful. I’m not sure when it happed, inevitably it does…thanks to that whole patience thing:). As far as suggestions….I’d advise you to begin by taking it slow so as not to get overwhelmed as well as discouraged during the whole process.
      Do you have an idea of what styles you’d want to try during your transition/or after?
      Also, if you can find a reputable Hair Salon that caters to natural hair, all the better…some do great consultations and offer advice as far as what products to use. Nothing beats having someone actually feel and look at your hair to assess it’s needs. If this isn’t possible….do it yourself! It took me months of staying in front of the mirror, trying different styles, methods of applying certain products, detangling…etc., to reach a level I felt comfortable with & that also produced great results. I guess my overall advice is to keep trying, not matter how many times you might ‘fail’ at a particular style, or dislike a certain product….many naturals…new AND old, can vouch for this. You’ll face more setbacks (in the beginning) before getting to the place where it’s all gravy….it happens tho….stick with it!


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