MG Spotlight – Jalissa

.....Category: MG Spotlights
MG Spotlight – Jalissa

MotownGirl Sporlight - Jalissa
Where are you from and how is the natural scene there?

My hometown is West Palm Beach, Florida, but I currently attend Florida State University in Tallahassee. Back home it was not that common to see a woman wearing her natural hair. About a year and a half after I had moved to Tallahassee, I began to take notice that more and more women in the city decided to go natural as well.

How long have you worn your hair natural? Did you transition? If so for how how were your experiences?

I received my first relaxer in 2003 because I wanted my hair to look like the majority of people in my classroom in high school. I continued to get relaxers for about four years, right before I moved away for college. At first, I simply was overdue for a relaxer, and I kept putting my appointment off. I wore weaves a lot so it distracted me from the fact that I felt like it was time for me to get another relaxer. One day after washing my hair, I had an epiphany. I looked in the mirror at my emerging curls and instantly became intrigued. There was nothing wrong with my natural hair and I was never too fond of the relaxer anyway. I was repeatedly getting relaxers because I felt like I had to.

From that point on, I decided that I was going to begin my hair journey and “go natural.” I was not comfortable with the big chop, so I transitioned with hair weaves. It was very frustrating because I didn’t know what to do with my hair, especially since I was used to other people doing my hair for me. For the most part, wearing hair weaves was always my way of putting off the fact that I needed to care for my real hair. After my hair began breaking off due to my lack of care, I knew I needed to do something about it. At the end of 2008, I cut my relaxed hair off and was left with my beautiful natural curly afro.

How much support did you receive when you decided to go natural?

I honestly felt completely on my own when I made my decision to go natural. My father’s side of the family was completely against it and my mother, although supportive, simply felt as if it was a phase.. None of my friends were going natural, so they couldn’t relate to my natural hair experiences. Eventually, I convinced one of my close friends to go natural. We supported each other and both cut our hair together.

What has been some positives things about being natural?

Overall I love being natural, since I feel like I am not following anyone’s trend but my own. There are so many different things I can do with my hair depending on my mood and I absolutely love it! I have received many compliments on my hair and other women who are deciding to go natural often ask me for tips. I’m not perfect and by no means know everything about being natural, but I just like to share my story and journey with the hopes of possibly inspiring someone. I have nothing against relaxers or people with them — – they are just not for me. I was that person years ago who tried to fit in, but this fits me and I’m completely happy with my decision.

MotownGirl Sporlight - JalissaHave you had any negative experiences while wearing natural hair?

My negative experiences do not outweigh my positive ones by any means. If I were to pick any it would have to be the occasional stares and dealing with my father’s side of the family. Also combing my hair does take quite a bit of time as well, but nothing drastic.

What has been some positives things about being natural?

I love that I don’t have to spend so much time obsessing over my hair. When I was relaxed, I had to constantly worry about whether every hair was in place, to what would happen  to my hair if it was raining outside, or if I was sweating too much when I was working out. When you get rid of these types of stresses, you’ll start to notice a huge difference in your personality and find that you’re a lot more easy going. I also love how my hair feels and looks like real hair (soft like cotton candy.) Finally, I think it’s one of my greatest accessories. It’s so big, wild and sexy. It just fits my personality.

How do you take care of and maintain your hair?

I wash my hair every two weeks and deep condition every other week. I try not to use hair products with mineral oil, because I have researched that it clogs up your pores and prevents your hair from growing as quickly and healthy. I was recommended to use Garnier Fructis as my shampoo and I have not switched from that in a very long time. After washing my hair, it shrinks a great deal and since I love my hair to be big, I comb, moisturize, and twist my hair and leave it for hours at a time.

By me combing and twisting my hair, it allows my curls to be more defined. Another benefit is it allows my hair to be more controlled before heading out into the Floridian heat. I also try not to pull my hair back too much in the same places because it can break off from doing that.

I use a light oil to moisturize my hair and try and do so before my hair dries off. At night I sleep with a satin cap on my head as well.

What advice would you give someone who was thinking of going natural?

My advice is to make sure it is something you want to do, along with being committed to making the change through the whole process. Everyone should love every aspect of themselves and if you feel as if going natural is for you, then by all means do it. Since there are so many more women embracing their natural side nowadays, it is easier to find a support system while you are embarking on your hair journey.

Any final thoughts?

Seek happiness within yourself before you seek it within others. I believe in working on yourself and doing what makes you happy even if it goes against the “norm.”  Whatever you choose to do, be confident! Nothing shines brighter or makes a bigger statement than a beautiful black woman with her head held high. If you ever need help, don’t be afraid to use your resources and ask. Discover what works for you and make it happen!

MotownGirl Sporlight - Jalissa

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