Monday, May 4, 2009


Take a look in the mirror. Look at your eyes, nose, lips and ears. Where do they come from? Your mother, your you look just like your child? Are you representative of generations of trademark chins, fingers and dimples? Your heritage is nothing if not your very blue print, and as humans, and specifically women, we are taught by society to feel lessened in some small way if our face, body or hair doesn't fit into one of the molds put down before us.

Ok, so aside from the already heavy burden of having society-approved "beauty", having grasp of a made-for-you, made-by-Vogue sense of style, a sleek and healthy figure and smooth skin regardless of your age. Set aside from this practically unreachable standard is the one that exists for black woman. The hair issue...
I've heard it said a thousand differant ways. From, "Why is your hair so thick?" to "What are you mixed with?" My hair has never quite been straight OR nappy enough for anyone to accept. I spent hours staring at my hair in the mirror, watching it's limp, frizzy waves as the water began to evaporate from it. Every so often I'd shake my head out, if I had no where to go. Let the water fly off, my hair fly out. I'd stare at my face, my hair and I'd see it as beautiful. Then reality would settle in..."Naw, I can't wear my hair like that." Before I knew it I was blowing away the remaining moisture, pressing it flat and wrapping up for my desired smoothness.

Let me be clear. There is nothing wrong with having straight hair. Curly girls of all races have been straightening their locks for HUNDREDS of years. It's a matter of preference how you wear your hair. Having sleek, smooth hair fall over your shoulders is appealing and there's nothing wrong with preferring that look. However, because this tends to be the standard look for most women, and one achieved best by heat or chemicals...many woman don't even have time to understand how to care for their OWN hair texture. Which leaves them little choices when it comes to styling their hair. Some women have baldness around their temples from pulling their hair back or braiding it, but because they don't know how else to deal with their hair, they are stuck in the endless pattern. Some women's scalp or hair types is damaged excessively by chemical perms, but because they just don't feel they have many other options, they risk eventual alopecia (baldness) and continue in a vicious cycle as well. Aside from the health issues, a lot of woman out there would actually prefer at least the OPTION of being able to rock their natural tresses on occasion, but don't know where to begin. To me, this is a travesty.

There are hundreds of reasons why going natural is considered to be a Lord of the Rings size mission. From not being sure your mate will like it to now being sure your boss will like it. It's a commitment, no doubt and one that usually involves some scissor action. You have to educate yourself, readjust your thinking and learn to get used to hearing things that might make you want to cringe at first. Like; "Why did you do that?" or, "You look better with straight hair." You'll also have to get used to hearing things like, "Wow, you look so much better like that!" and "Your hair looks so healthy."

The decision of course is yours. It's not for everyone. I think, however, that it's important for black women find an understanding of their natural hair... so they can make in the very least an informed decision.