I decided to go natural little over two years ago.
It was an impulse decision on my part because I wanted to try something new. Also, I noticed it wasn’t getting past a particular length anymore, so wanted to see its full potential. At that point, I’d had my hair chemically straightened since I was 7-years-old—so, 20 years.
At first, I began my natural hair journey by transitioning and letting my roots grow out for several months, which wasn’t too bad. I decided that come my 28th birthday, I’d do the big chop and learn to really manipulate my hair in its natural state. This is when things got a little tricky. I’ve always styled my own hair and I’m pretty good at it—but managing textured hair, that was a completely different ball game.
Not to mention, my hair had never been that short before. Though I was excited to try something new, my growing insecurity overpowered that. Wash Day became a dreaded experience because I felt lost. Here I was, exploring a whole new world of products, styling techniques, and lingo. Also, I just didn’t feel comfortable with my new look.
I quickly realized I had been hiding behind my hair all these years and the compliments it garnered. To the point in which I felt it was what made me beautiful. And now that I had let go of this hair to bring forth a healthier, but less easy to manage look, I no longer felt like myself. Stepping out of my comfort zone looks-wise made me understand that the inside is what really needed fixing. The way I felt about myself, is what would emanate on the outside—so each Wash Day for me was like soul searching.
“Stepping out of my comfort zone looks-wise made me understand that the inside is what really needed fixing.”
Nevertheless, I stuck with it. I was determined to continue learning about my hair and loving myself more in the process. At the time I was navigating a new job, a year into a new relationship, fresh off of ending a long friendship and trying to figure out how I really wanted to make an impact in my life and that of others. I was undergoing so much change and growth in my life outside of just my appearance. So, Wash Day actually became another aspect of my journey to self-love.
Now looking back, I realize how much Wash Day paralleled my practice of self-care as a whole. It doesn’t always start off easily and can be difficult to manage. It brought up insecurities, doubts, fears, and emotions that I didn’t even know were in me, to begin with. Yet, eventually, I began to see the benefit of taking my time and being patient with myself and the journey. Ultimately, I started to find solace in the process and became proud of myself for really focusing on my well-being.
It may not be smooth sailing each time, but the simple fact that I didn’t give up and am now in a better space then when I began is so satisfying. I’m still learning about my hair—and myself, but wouldn’t change the road it’s taken me down for anything. What started out as something I dreaded, became something that helps bring me comfort. I’ve learned that the coils, curls, and kinks on my head should be cherished and handled with love and care. Just like me.
“I’ve learned that the coils, curls, and kinks on my head should be cherished and handled with love and care. Just like me.”
A version of this story is featured on Shine.