I Am Not My Hair

Today I’m starting my loc journey. After almost 10 years of being natural, I’m trying something new. And I’m terrified.

Nowadays it isn’t uncommon to see Black women with various natural and protective styles. Fros, locs, twist, braids—we rock them all. For my wedding, I wore crochet braids and never felt more beautiful!

But still, I worry.

I worry my coworkers will treat me like an animal in a petting zoo when they see it. I dread the questions I’ll have to answer from my in-laws. My stomach turns when I think about showing my grandmother (who was very vocal about her dislike of my cousin’s locs).

But I can’t worry about them. I need to focus on me.

That’s part of the reason I wanted to loc my hair in the first place. Growing up, I was a “creamy crack” girl through and through. My hair was constantly in a some kind of ponytail—straight back, low with a side part, maybe some bangs if I was feeling fancy—because I didn’t know what else to do with it. I’ve been in a battle with my hair since I went natural.

For so long, I tried to force my hair into shapes I found “acceptable” and cursed how “difficult” it was to maintain my kinky coils. I called my hair texture “4Z” (‘cause 4C just didn’t seem descriptive enough) and lamented on how the lord didn’t give me the patience to deal with all this hair. I bought every natural hair product out there, thinking some magical elixir would give me the Traces Ellis Ross curls I craved.

Spoiler alert—it didn’t work.

No combination of products, techniques, or gadgets gave me the “right” natural hair. Because there is no such thing as “right” natural hair. It’s called natural for Pete’s sake—that should have clued me in right there!

But society has a lot of expectations for Black women. If we’re going to have natural hair, it needs to be the “professional” kind. Not too kinky, or coily, or wild. My natural hair is all those things, so I never felt like I could let my hair just be.

That changes today.

Today, I’m making a choice for myself. Today, I’m embracing the “4Z” and allowing my hair to transform into what it wants to be (not what I want it to be). Today, I’m taking the first step in what will *hopefully* be a long, beautiful journey.

For me.

Naturally Made

Naturally Made

Everywhere I go, I see more and more Black women who’ve embraced their natural hair texture and stopped chemically straightening their hair. I’ve been natural for a few years now and I love it! When I look in the mirror, I finally see me. But I haven’t always felt this way.

I can remember sitting in our kitchen getting my hair hot combed–and my ears burned–until I was able to “graduate” to a Just for Me relaxer when I turned five. The relaxers left me with scalp burns, limp strands, and sometimes even hair loss. But straight hair was “pretty” and what girl doesn’t want to feel pretty? As a little black girl in a mostly white town, all I wanted was the long, straight hair my classmates had. When I moved to Wisconsin, my biggest priority wasn’t finding an apartment but finding a hair salon so I wouldn’t miss a relaxer.

But that was then, and this is now. Now I know that beautiful comes in all hair textures, and I’ve embraced mine. Natural hair definitely takes work and I respect that some women choose to continue relaxing. But God makes no mistakes; all of His children are beautifully and wonderfully made–hair included.

This curly ‘do was achieved after a couple of weeks of flat ironing (which loosened my naturally curl pattern quite a bit) and two-strand twisting. More details on my naturally hair routine coming in a future post, so stay tuned!