The Shrinkage is Real! My Natural Hair Journey

Natural Hair

I remember the day I walked inside the house and caught my little brother telling this joke he heard from school explaining Afro textured hair:

“… so when God was putting the finishing touches on humans in the people factory, he called to each one so he could give them their hair. He called to the Asian person, “Hey Child, come on over here and let me give you your hair!” So they came and received their hair. He called to the Scottish person, “Hey Child, come on over here and let me give you your hair!” So they came and received their hair. He called to the African person, “Hey Child, come on over here and let me give you your hair!” But the African person didn’t come, so the Lord called a second time, “I said hey Child, come on over here and let me give you your hair!” Yet still no answer. The Lord called a third time, “My Child, My Child, come on over here and let me put some hair on your head!” But the African person still didn’t come, so the Lord balled up his hair and threw it at him…”

I was a preteen wearing my hair straight when I heard that silly, tawdry joke. Hearing it quite unintentionally planted a seed of devaluing the beauty of Afro textured hair. It wasn’t until I began my own health journey as an adult that I encountered the challenging misconceptions surrounding my entire concept of hair all over again. But this time instead of playing down the issue, I decided to face it head on. After all, I had come too far in detoxing my body to turn back now.

The documentary Good Hair changed my life. It was the first time that I seriously considered the cultural perceptions surrounding Afro textured hair that had crept into my own mind frame shaping what I was doing to my own hair, which was chemically being straightened at the time. I started contemplating. Should I give up perming my hair and embrace my natural curls? Apart from baby pictures, I had never seen my natural curl pattern, and after seeing Chris Rock’s documentary, I became curious. Perhaps embracing my own curls could shed some light onto the myths and misconceptions  I carried surrounding Afro textured hair…

I remember the decision being so scary at first, but I realized that I had to do it if I wanted to enhance my detox experience, an experience that was already influencing my health so much for the better. It’s not like I had nothing to lose; I had everything to lose! Going natural would mean that I would have to start from scratch, that I would have to cut off all of my hair and start from the beginning. What would people say? What would my friends think? What if it made me look ugly? What if I chopped all my hair off just to discover I’d made a mistake and didn’t like it? A whirlwind of questions plagued my mind. No one close to me at the time was going natural that I knew of, and the idea of going it alone was even more frightening.

But I didn’t let that stop me. I figured that if I had connected to one documentary on Afro textured hair, I could connect to others. So I searched the Internet and was amazed to find it teaming with information! I was able to plug in to an entire movement of women embracing their natural hair and chronicling their journeys with online videos, blogs, and websites! I had found my tribe! I started binge watching natural hair videos like crazy. I started following channels like Kimmatube, Taren916, Simplyounique, Ambrosia Malbrough, Naptural85, Kinks N’ All, TheChicNatural, Chime (Hair Crush), and KashTV. Their natural hair journeys gave me the courage I needed to go all in and do… The B C, The Big Chop! I planned everything out into steps:

  • Step One: Stop getting monthly chemical straighteners
  • Step Two: Wear braids as a protective transition style to grow out the chemically processed hair
  • Step Three: Gradually cut off all the chemically processed hair until gone
  • Step Four: Continue wearing braids as a transition style until a desired length has been reached
  • Step Five: Remove the braids, find a barber to shape and style
  • Step Six: Enjoy the new you!

Letting go of chemically straightening my hair was so freeing, but embracing my curls was harder than I thought. I quickly began to realize that my hair texture and curl pattern was quite different from what I had seen and desired online. I had fallen into the trap of thinking that the hair everyone else had was better than my own. But I remained diligent and stayed the course.

Some days it would take hours for me to do a single hairstyle. That’s what it takes. I was married and committed to my own hair. I realized that it just needed me to learn it, tend it, and give it what it needed. The more I learned about my own hair texture, the more I started to appreciate my God given head full of curls!

My hair journey is far from over. Through the years, I’ve learned so much, and now my new normal is appreciating my hair and caring for it with pure, natural products. I am committed to sharing my natural go-tos for toxic-free natural hair care with you! Embrace the hair that God has blessed you with! He wanted one of His children to be a One-Of-A-Kind You. So be brave being you!

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