Where are you from and how is the natural scene there?
I live in Durham, NC. There are several colleges in the area, but there are still not very many women that I see wearing their hair natural. The women in college often have braids or extensions of some sort.
How long did you transition and how long have you been natural?
I wore braids for about 2 years and then cut all of my hair off. I wore it in a short afro for about 3 years and then I decided I would start to let it grow. To that end, I wore kinky twists for a while, and in July 2007 I decided to quit the kinky twists and go completely natural. I’ve been in love with my hair ever since!
How you feel about your natural hair in the beginning?
Ok, honestly, when I cut ALL my hair off I felt devastated – I did! I remember looking at myself in the mirror and crying thinking what have I done. I thought that I looked like a little boy. I cried the whole night. Even though it was something I wanted to do, I wasn’t prepared to see myself with no hair. I went in to work reluctantly the next day and people actually complimented me. I couldn’t believe it! But, it took me a few weeks to get used to it completely.
How much support did you receive when you decided to go natural?
My mom has always been supportive. My sisters have always just wondered why I did it. I continued to receive ignorant comments from family members about why I was “walking around with nappy hair”. Those comments really illustrated the extent to which they had internalized white standards of what was beautiful and what was not. In fact, in the beginning, I mainly received compliments from white people. Imagine that! My husband is fantastic though he also had to get used to me with really short hair.
Has there been any differences in your life from going natural?
Yes, I feel like I’m finally being my authentic self now. I felt so phony, so fake when I wore weave even though they were braids and kinky twists. I often felt as though I was hiding my hair and the truth is that I WAS hiding it. There was a certain amount of shame that I believe that I had.
Of course this was created and exacerbated by the negative comments made by family members and the images of beauty that were in the media and magazines…all of which did not often portray natural hair as beautiful.
But now, I’m more confident, I feel beautiful, my hair is gorgeous and I’m happy. My husband is constantly telling me how much he loves my hair. My life, per se, isn’t much different but my perspective on life, black identity, and beauty has changed.
How do you maintain your hair?
I’m very low maintenance. I love twist outs. I usually wash, condition, deep condition, let dry about 75% and then twist. I wear my twists for about 2-3 weeks before wearing a twist out that can last about 10 days before it starts looking crazy!
If you were stranded on a deserted island and had to choose 3 things for your hair, what are three things you would have to have for your hair and why?
If I were stranded on a desert island, I would not be worried about my hair, I would be trying to get home! But ok, to play along with the hypothetical situation, I would take shea butter, cream of nature shampoo, and a wide tooth comb.
What advice would you give someone who was thinking of going natural?
Going natural is not just about hair, it requires a psychological change. You have to be able to see beauty in your hair even when external messages tell you otherwise. Be patient with your hair and try to meet other women with natural hair so that you can learn how to maintain your hair. Visit Motowngirl, Fotki, and Nappturality often! They are lifesavers!
Any final words?
Thanks Motowngirl for creating this site! It is exciting to know that so many of us all over the country…all over the globe are embracing our heritage and our natural beauty. God bless!
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