When I finally up and chopped off my hair and said farewell to relaxer, I knew there would be some internal changes as a result of my external change. I didn’t know what to expect. There is no way to anticipate the evolution of thought that natural hair can take you through. It’s different for everyone. Here’s how it was for me.
When I first cut off my hair, I was scared but felt that I had no choice. The damage was that bad. I knew I had nothing to lose, but chopping off those longer straight ends was an intimidating process.
When my hair was super short, I remember caring a lot about what people thought and worrying about my looks. I went the extra mile to wear makeup and I was very conscious of dressing femininely. I was still insecure and unsure of my beauty. I definitely went through a vulnerable stage where I needed reassurance.
I became a bit rigid in my thinking and judgmental of others for a brief time, and I see that when I look at some of the early posts on my blog. I definitely got into a divisive us-versus-them, holier-than-thou mentality, regarding relaxers. My views changed after a few good back and forths with my mother, who “will never go natural,” in her own words. We had to come to an understanding of each other’s hair choices.
Over time, I learned how to care for my hair and I gained an unshakable confidence in myself. I was able to relax into an acceptance of myself and understanding of others. I no longer lecture my relatives about their hair, and they don’t lecture me about mine. We’ve gotten to a healthy space and it took maturity and growth. Now I realize, we’re all on a journey. Some of us are just at different stages of it.
Afrobella was the natural hair blogger at AOL’s Black Voices and a writer for Vogue Italia’s Vogue Black website. She has also presented keynotes at several major media expos and seminars.