au naturale part III (finding the beauty)

“I took off my wig because I wanted to step into who I was…… I felt like every time I put on a wig I was apologising for who I was, a dark skinned woman with very curly hair, like I was hiding it” Viola Davis

The first time I had my hair natural was in 2011, when Solange did her big chop, I was here for it, I thought I was going to feel as cool as her and be super cute but once I cut my hair I didn’t feel cute – I actually I felt ugly despite everyone saying it suited me and that I looked good. Anyway, my fix was a badly styled wig and then braiding my hair as soon as I could. And that was the end of that chapter. Then there was the second time I had my hair in an afro-mohawk, which I quickly relaxed. 

Over the last couple years I have dabbled with short hair with chemical treatment, it looked good but with all the running the styling never stayed.My hair did not like the constant heat so I went back to braids.

I have now been natural hair out since Feb 4. two barber trips later and I am LOVING it. The first few weeks I was very self-conscious and almost apologetic, like there had to be a specific reason to have my hair like that – “just for February” “ maybe I am having a Britney moment” “it’s for the marathon” 

Over the last few weeks I have been learning to feel beautiful as I am, something I wrestle with regularly. I like to change things up so I will probably dabble in braids or wigs in the future but it was important to me that my hair styling range includes my natural state. I have never felt so free.

Wakanda (are there words?), this wave of unashamedly celebrating blackness and starting to follow people who have hair like me (and living in the beauty of it), I realised I had been feeding into an idea of beauty that didn’t include me. I remember once my niece was upset about going to school with her natural hair instead of braids because she wanted to look like a princess, just like I used to feel (and still felt) – what I should have said to her is honey you are a queen already.

So, what if you woke up tomorrow and decided to love that thing you don’t like about yourself as it is. I dare you, what’s the best that could happen?



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