Here’s my personal story explaining why I decided to finally cut off my curly (relaxed) tresses and go natural.
Growing up in a white majority province in British Columbia, I was the only black person in all of my classes growing up. I felt different from my peers and did not like the fact that my hair made me feel like more of an alien. People would often make comments about afro’s being dirty or gross, and because of this I barely ever let my natural hair down and resorted to wearing it up in buns and ponytails. When I was young, I used to cry all the time because I felt ugly. I felt ugly because of my curly hair. Ugly because I was different than everyone else. I never saw anyone else with curly hair like mine, and even in the media and on tv- it was a rare site to see as most black women wore weaves and relaxed their curls (and this still happens today).
I also never heard praise surrounding hair like mine. There was no celebration of the beauty in being different. I never heard curls being referred to as….beautiful. And so skip a few years and I’m 12 years old, with a white mother that doesn’t know how to style my hair. (God Bless her heart! She tried) I would try doing my hair myself and booooy, it would frizz like a madman, so again I would resort to buns and ponytails until that fateful day my aunt came down to visit from Nova Scotia. She knew how to do hair like mine…..she relaxed it! LOL. I loved my hair after it was relaxed, so much so, that I kept relaxing my hair when my roots would grow out in order to remove my nappy/frizzy hair. When I got older, I was introduced to my Paul Brown straighter, that bad boy went up to 450 degrees and straightened my hair like no other. In my teens I noticed that I started getting compliments on my hair when it was straight. People would say I looked really pretty, or “You look so good with straight hair”….as if my curly hair made me look like shrek or something. I also started getting compliments from the male species. I finally felt like I fit in with everyone, I was no longer an alien.
When I was 19 I got my last relaxer at a salon. I say “last” because my hair started falling out shortly after that.
I didn’t realize that I was damaging my hair from all the chemicals and heat I was putting in my hair.
Around this time, I began to wonder what my natural hair was like, because I hadn’t seen it in such a long time. I would occasionally see women with curly hair at the mall and realize…hey, she’s pretty and her hair is curly. I started noticing that curly hair was beautiful, and it was beautiful because it was different. It wasen’t the same thing everyone else had, it was unique. I started complimenting others whenever I would see nice pretty coils and really started missing my curly hair. I stopped relaxers all together but still used straighteners LOTS. I figured I wasn’t doing any damage this way….wrong! My hair still fell out, and I started reducing the amount of times a week I would straighten my hair.
When I was 20, I began transitioning my hair to allow my natural hair to grow out, and slowly cut off the relaxed ends as my hair grew. Unfortunately for me, my hair takes a millennium to grow and I got fed up with how crazy my hair looked with the two different textures in my hair. Poofy hair at the top, and thin hair at the bottom. Hot hey? To combat this, I used my straightener again…..a lot. When I was 22, I was still transitioning and my hair finally came past my shoulders. I was so happy, but at the same time still so frustrated about the relaxer still in my hair. I also watched a movie by Chris Rock called “Good Hair”. He made the documentary because his daughter asked him the question: “Daddy, why don’t I have good hair?”. That movie opened up my eyes and made me quite sad knowing that children are growing up thinking there is something wrong with them. That’s how I used to feel.
So a year and a half later, I decided what the hay…and chopped my hair off. I didn’t even go to a salon! I wanted to feel my curls again, and see how they grow without a relaxer in them. I wanted to fully embrace my curls, without the use of heat at all. I wanted to embrace the beauty in how God made me and not change my hair to impress anyone. My self worth growing up came from others, but finally I realized none of that matters, because my worth and value comes from God. He made me in his image.
So here I am with short curly hair for the first time in my life.
I love it, and I love how it’s encouraging other people out there. I love how now, there is a movement of women who are embracing their natural hair and their natural beauty. It’s so nice to see. I’m so grateful for youtube and the internet, because I’m learning how to take care of my hair with help from women all over the world. And we’re all able to encourage each other and build one another up. It’s great.
For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
my soul knows it very well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there was none of them.
17 How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!
18 If I would count them, they are more than the sand.
I awake, and I am still with you. Psalm 139 13-18