The LWC strikes again:
I found this post and comments on Naturally Sophia's Blog very interesting.
I've been natural for almost 20 years now, since the age of 15. I relapsed into relaxing twice.
Once around the age of 19, I experimented with texturizers in an attempt to bring uniformity to my curl pattern, not realizing then that my hair was just going to do what it was going to do.
It grows how it grows and chemicals won't change that. Not in a way that I like.
And again about 2 years later, I had a job that was very important to me at the time (actually, a volunteer assignment, a cause) where my immediate superiors decided that my look did not properly represent the cause.
With tears and trauma, I relaxed my hair to straight. I hated it SO much. It wasn't worth the price. I quit the cause. I cut my hair. I started over fresh and never looked back.
It was terrible at the time, but I am glad I had the experience, because there were times when I was struggling with this Deep South humidity and I thought that a relaxer might be the way to go, but only Fleetingly.
Because then I would remember how awful that final relaxer experience was. How it sucked the life and vibrance from my hair. How I felt so oppressed.
Most men and people of other races - and truly a lot of black women - don't understand what a connection to naturalness you develop.
It becomes a part of your identity. Like your skin color or eye color. When you look in the mirror and see something else, you feel like someone else. I felt like I was bleaching my skin or getting a nose job or some other drastic cosmetic alteration to minimize my ethnicity.
I don’t judge others harshly for choosing to do so, but it really went against my personal grain in a way that I did not realize it would.
Being locked or not is different from being curly or straight for sure.
It is more permanent, but in a way that is good and comforting to me, not in a way that feels limiting or restrictive.
I get angry now when people suggest that I'll get tired of my locks one day and take them out.
And the funny thing is: I know maybe I will cut them and start over with something else SOME day, but not because I am tired of them. Not because I no longer love them. Not because I prefer straight hair or curly hair.
I really don't know what would make me give them up.
I get lots more compliments on my locks now that they are past my shoulders. Enough people seem to realize that if your locks are that long, your straight hair would be 6 - 10 inches longer. And they are fascinated with that.
So I get more comments that say: You should take those out and straighten it. Then it would be REALLY pretty. Or, Don't you want to see how long it REALLY is? Or, Sisterlocks. I've thought about getting those. You can take them out when you want, right?
I am SUPREMELY annoyed.
Each and every time.
I'm not saying that locks or SLs have to be a lifetime commitment for everyone. When I got mine, I didn't know if I would really keep them. I was kind of afraid that I wouldn't like them from the start and might be ready to give them up in the first 6 months. And after the money I invested (while unemployed at the time) I figured at the very least I should keep them for a year to get my money's worth.
But I was in love with them from DAY ONE. So taking them out never seemed like a viable option.
Natural hair was never a fad for me. I do agree that going natural, staying natural, and being natural requires much more of a commitment than 'looking' natural.
But seeing so many more people with a natural look is a very good thing. Natural weaves and wigs are high-maintenance and expensive.
I wore kinky twist extensions for years before I got tired of the fakeness - they were always bulky and the texture was much coarser than my own hair, far inferior to the soft thickness of the natural locks I rock today - and decided to see what my own hair would do. They were a good bridge to where I am now.
If wearing and seeing fake natural hair leads more of us to a place where we are comfortable experimenting with the hair that grows from our heads, then I cannot see that the current fad will be a bad thing. Many fads become trends. I think natural hair is here to stay.
Simply because so many people are getting fed up with the expense and maintenance other styles require. Not that natural hair is cheap or easy to maintain, but I'd rather spend time and money to be proud of my heritage and make the most of who I am than to try to cover that up and look like someone else.
And I believe more and more of us are coming to that realization with each passing day.