My Decision to “Go Natural” Was a Decision to Love Myself

I put “go natural” in quotes because it is such an ironic statement to me. It’s so interesting that many black women have to make a decision as to whether or not they want to return to what they were given at birth. For years, straight hair was the only acceptable way for black girls and women to wear their hair. I love that recently there has been a huge natural hair movement, because going natural had a profound effect on my life. When I cut off my permed hair and decided to grow out my hair without heat and without chemicals, I made a deliberate decision to love who I was, naturally.

The Lie 

Before I went natural, I was getting relaxers regularly. For those who don’t know, relaxers or perms are methods of chemically straightening hair, typically used by black women. I put those chemicals in my hair so that I could look good, according to the standards of beauty I had internalized since my childhood. My justifications were that my hair was more manageable with a relaxer, my hair would look like an ugly fro all the time if I didn’t perm it, or I would be going against the norm (and standing out is something I never wanted to do). I was constantly searching for ways to look beautiful based on other people’s ideas of beauty. So I kept my hair permed, I wore colored contacts, and I would conform to the the trends and styles of the moment. Meanwhile, I wasn’t happy, I was never comfortable, and I didn't like myself.

The Love

Once I cut my hair and became fully natural I felt a sense of love and belonging that I never knew existed! I was finally free to love myself for who I am. Going natural was a decision to love myself because it literally took me back to my roots. I had to look at myself for who I truly was and who I was born to be and I love that person! I always tried to change her and cover her up and fit her into society’s tiny box but in doing that I always felt like a fraud and I truly did not like who I was.    

The Freedom

In my case, when I was relaxing my hair it was a sign that I was not happy with who I was. It was only when I went natural that I felt I could be real.  For me, natural hair symbolizes freedom. Natural Black hair is wonderfully versatile. It grows and changes shape as the hours of the day pass by. I can twist, braid, pin, or style my hair in a million different ways and I can even straighten it from time to time. My hair can be as low maintenance or as intricate as I want it to be. It is truly wonderful and exciting to be natural! Working on having healthy hair also helped push me to be healthy in all other aspects of my life. One of my main missions in life is to inspire others to lead holistically healthy lives. Even though I believed in holistic health, I didn't practice what I preached, until now. Going natural was the catalyst that sparked an entire lifestyle change for the better. Ever since I went natural I have truly made an effort to become healthy mentally, physically, and spiritually. I can honestly say that going natural was one of the best decisions I could have made for my life!

Action Steps: I challenge you all to identify all of the things you love about yourself. If it is difficult to come up with a good list, it doesn't mean you are not worth loving. What it might indicate is that there is something in the way of you realizing your inherent value. Figure out what might be blocking you from realizing your worth and take steps to remove it from your life. Make an intentional effort to love the real you, for all that you are. Remember you are fearfully and wonderfully made by God!

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