Why I feel judged by Naturalistas
Growing up, I was introduced to the relaxer very early. My mom prided herself in always having my hair done for any occasion and any given day. I had more hair than most of my friends at school and they usually wanted to play in it. However, the golden rule was not to let anyone play in my hair. I remember girls saying my cousin and I were stuck up because of it. We’d be at recess playing and as soon as a hand would even lift to touch my ponytail, I’d flip out. “Don’t touch my hair!” I didn’t really know why I was so aggressive about it. I just knew that my mom said not to let anyone touch it so that was what I was going to do.
I was deemed a mean girl before mean girls were popular. It didn’t help that I am light skinned, because no matter how much the black community wants to say that all shades are beautiful and we don’t discriminate on our own, we all know that’s not true. The dark skin vs. light skin (field slaves vs. house slaves) war has been around.
However, as the years passed, I became less afraid of my mother’s repercussions and stopped worrying about people touching my hair. It was me I had to worry about. I begin to think I could do my own hair. My mom would still relax it, but I was now in charge of the upkeep.
I failed miserably.
Around the time I turned 17, I was allowed to dye my hair. I was, and still am, infatuated with different colors. I was blonde, black, red, brown, blonde and black at the same time, you name it. After a while, I began to notice that my healthy, long hair became dull and began to break off a lot. Pretty soon, my hair decided it was done with me.
I never truly lost a lot, but it was lifeless. Very damaged ends, broken edges, and very thin. I hid it well but I knew I’d have to give up something soon in order to keep my hair on my head. While doing my graduate program, I began to see a lot of people going natural and doing the big chop and how it would be so much better for my hair. Four years ago this past October, I got my last relaxer right before my cousin’s wedding.
Most days I have no clue what I am doing. Now that all of my relaxed hair is gone, my curl pattern is more defined, but I have a hard time getting it tamed.
When I voice this concern with some fellow naturalistas, I get the “but you have good curls” speech.
“Your curls are like white girl curls.”
“You don’t have REAL natural hair.”
“I wish I had curls like yours.”
Before these, I got the “you aren’t really natural because you dye your hair and wear extensions” speech.
When will it end?
Division: even among those whose main mantra is to embrace how God made you…yet some of them have so much to say about the way God made me?
It never ceases to amaze me how prejudice we are against each other. And we wonder why other races don’t value us?
No one was asked to be born the way they were, but we have got to stop treating respect as if its a luxury. It is everyone’s birth right.
So to those natural sisters whose hair may be a little more “kinky” than mine, I just want you to know that sometimes I envy your curls. I envy your versatility among other things. I would never take away your shine. So, let my curls live!
I’ve decided to talk my natural hair care more seriously this year, along with my health and journey to recovering physically. So I’ll begin to post my regimes and even try my hand at some tutorials. Below are my favorite curly girls on Youtube. Share if you have others.
A few moments in my curly hair journey.