It was March 2012, and I just returned home from Riga, a small winter Latvian city located in the Balkan region of Europe. My fiancé and myself left just seven months prior with a 4-week-old newborn and no experience whatsoever with small infants. However, when we returned we felt like seasoned pros. I mean having a newborn COMPLETELY solo does something to you. NO grandmothers, aunts, or even the occasional cousin to lean on for help made us a stronger unit, a team. We had cared for this little human and returned her just the way she was before we left, a healthy but much bigger baby. Prior to having my daughter, I use to live in the salon. When I couldn’t make it to my stylist I made sure I was going to fulfill my bi-weekly dosage of heat even if I had to do it myself. I could manage this quite well even overseas. I always came prepared with all my tools and tricks of the trade. I hadn’t put an actual relaxer in my hair since my second year of college and even did the big chopped to get rid of the damaged ends. At the time, I had no notation of what being natural was or how to care for natural hair while transitioning. I simply didn’t like the way my newly grown hair differed in texture and thickness to my ends so away with it I said. Initially, I was just making a decision as a college student who couldn’t afford to pay $85 anymore to relax my hair.
Having a child makes you look at the world in a different light. As my baby girl grew, so did the length and definition of her pitch-black curls. As I looked down at her sleeping peacefully on my chest, now back in our basement apartment, I realized that once upon a time I had this same hair. However, instead of looking at my hair in awe as I did hers, I looked at it with disapproval. I used all types of relaxers, pressing combs, flat irons to whip it into submission. Until it looked like what I saw on TV and magazines. Now looking at my daughter’s hair I imagined her sitting in the salon chair fighting the urge to scratch her head while a creamy concoction was spread through her locks. Thinking to herself, “just sit a little bit longer, just a little longer and it’ll be straight.” Or even getting up at the wee hours to get to the salon and staying there long after the sun went down to be fried and dyed with a part on the side. I touched her small little soft curls and realized that I didn’t want this reality for her. If she decided to do this when she was a fully aware adult, then so be it. I didn’t, however, want her to do it because of the reasons I did. The main one being insecurity. I wanted to ensure that she grew up loving what God gave her. That she would look at herself with pride and feel freedom when her mirror- image looked back at her in the future. That was the day I realized that I would become Natural. As a mother I would have to set the example and I was determined to do just that. I believe that very day I became much more confident in myself.
Following that day, I did as most people do… I researched crazy online. I asked my stylist for advice. She herself was a natural so I wrote down everything she said, bought the products and packed them as if they were my prized possessions as we ventured abroad again. This time to South Korea. Now several years later Corey is five years old and wears a uniquely both curly, and wavy, humongous fro that spans most of her lower back. Every day she looks on TV and says, “Look Mommy that girl has curly hair like me!” She loves every curl, wave, or kink in her head and I couldn’t be happier. My journey into the world of natural hair, on the other hand, hasn’t been as easy as people think. I think when most people decide to go natural they see someone on social media or in person and they say, “I want my hair exactly like hers.” I was no different. After a year of thinking like this to no avail I realized that my hair wasn’t going to be anything but what it was meant to be. You have to fully embrace your true self, your true identity to succeed in being natural. Not to say that being natural is some kind of box you lock yourself in. There’s so much versatility that comes with hair being in its natural state. I found out I could still dye my hair, style it in so many different ways, even get hair sewn in. I even still straighten my hair once every blue moon, however, I prefer it curly.
I like to believe that every naturalistas journey is different whether your hair is curly, kinky, wavy, or straight. Just like in life itself we have to find out through trial and error what works best for our perspective hair types, lifestyles, and preferences. I’m still learning new things daily and look forward to sharing with all my readers these tricks and tips.