A little over a year ago I had a conversation with a friend about his daughter and her hair. She was 3 years old with a thick, healthy, curly afro. On multiple occasions, he had watched her pretending that instead of the curls on her head, she had a long, straight tresses flowing down her back. He was worried that she was beginning to hate her hair…to think of it as not being as beautiful as other types of hair. With great passion, I told him that he needed to nip this in the bud, to constantly tell his little girl that she was perfect and beautiful from top to bottom. I told him that he had to encourage her to love her curls.
A few days later I went to the salon for my routine chemical relaxer and when asked what style I wanted, I told her “The usual. Bone-straight”. Me. Mother of one daughter with a head full of kinks and curls.
And so it bothered me month after month, until 4 months ago, in a spur-of-the-moment decision, I instructed my hairdresser to cut all of my hair off. She was flabbergasted. So flabbergasted infact, that she flat out refused. In the end, we compromised and she agreed to cut all but a few inches. When she was done, I took one look at myself, had a massive panic attack and told her to cover it up with cornrows IMMEDIATELY.
For the first few weeks, I didn’t tell anybody that I had cut my hair. I was too shocked and confused by my own spontaneity. I still felt strongly about why I did it but was not ready to deal with the reality of it being…well…done. Eventually, I came out of the closet with my news but was still not ready to unveil my natural hair. I was content to continue hiding under the cover of cornrows and braids until a little encouragement from a couple of curlfriends also on the natural hair journey (@misswretched and @nanciemwai) made me change my mind.
So this is my coming out party.
Before I had a baby, I never thought seriously about going natural. I respected all the ladies that did it but quite honestly, it just never mattered that much to me. And then I had Ella. And she changed everything.