I’m not certain who’s been penning the invisible natural hair rule book these past few years, but it’s growing more and more apparent that it’s reaching a peak. Lately I’ve been coming across advice pieces, articles & forum rants devoted to tearing down instead of building up & supporting those who embark on this ‘journey’ and at the very least, it’s stifling.
Should I make penance for my past sins? It’s only fair. Granted, a few years ago I was an avid beauty salon go-er, frequenting my stylist at all hours on the weekend in order to get the hair primped proper for work, usually flat ironed and blow dried because at the time this is what suited my lifestyle. But alas, according to a certain populas, this made me ‘un-natural,’ because of the heat alterations & unfit to carry the ‘I’m Natural‘ badge of honor.
I might’ve missed the memo on who’s actually in charge of handing out such privileges, but I’m also starting to believe that we truly limit ourselves, our growth potential each time we finger point, and dissect another natural woman’s reasoning for expressing themselves (including her desire to relax her strands, wear wigs…the list goes on). And at what cost? I’m a strong believer that our words, the way in which we communicate our best selves verbally, carries more weight & influence than any of us realize.
We are all enough. Whether we classify our hair as curls, waves, kinks, straight, pressed, dyed, loced up etc., at any given moment & during each of our respective journey’s in life, I’m certain that we are enough because the learning process never ceases, our lessons on life, love & hair are constantly evolving, dissolving and recreating themselves due in large part to our experiences. Why aren’t we willing to perpetuate the good from what we learn rather than focus on the negative & inconsequential?
I hardly considered my character flawed during the time I was relaxed, which makes it even harder to accept the increasing status quo surrounding what it means to be ‘natural’ today. We have rules now. Why? Ages ago I wore my hair relaxed because I wanted to. For years I walked through the doors of a mid-priced salon and laid down $40-60 of my hard saved monies & walked out 4 hours later happier than a peach.
That was then, this is now.
My going natural did not instantaneously make me any better than the woman sitting next to me on the train, nor did I instinctively place my mindset into another trapped box, limiting my expectations on what natural could be (or is?). If that isn’t the perfect example of counterproductive, I’m not sure what is.
When is ‘going natural’ enough?
If I’m not admonished for buying too many products during a given month, I’m criticized for wanting or liking the idea of straight hair, choosing to add color during the summer months to match my mood, or these days….even ‘not natural’ because of my propensity to wear twist-outs, bantu-knots, and any other style that uses ‘manipualtion’ or styling products to achieve the look.
Chile, I’m tired….
We all have the capacity to draw from inspiration, as well as create & add to the flow, and I’m certain this has been what’s fueled and sustained the still growing natural hair community. Let it be. Love & Respect are a good pair…let’s give them space to work. After going natural many years ago, I found my mind & heart clear….easy. Yes, I faced backlash and ignorance from close friends and loved ones, but at my core…I’d already found peace. I went natural for no other person than the one facing me in the mirror each day, the one person that mattered. Why draw anyone else’s reasoning & perceptions into my own journey?
All our journeys, as imperfect as they might seem, present an opportunity to learn & teach. Let’s do it right, with an open heart & mind. This goes most certainly for all who embark on this road, past… present & future. We are no one person, one ideal…one monolith trying to achieve the same goal & aspire towards a redudnant perception of what’s “perfect.”
Screw what’s comfortable, and choose to be enough. For yourself, & no one else.