We’ve all read stories and hair-tales of women who decided to grow their hair natural (meaning no chemical relaxers). I am
one of them. And currently going strong, two years in my natural-ness to be exact.
Though I have to admit, my initial reason to embark in this “journey” wasn’t entirely for deep and profound self-enlightenment. Yes, I wanted to embrace my natural beauty and appreciate the attributes I was born with. But in essence my main reasons for going natural were cost and the Afro-Centric social awareness which was happening around 2009; awareness such as, Chris Rock’s movie “Good Hair”.
Don’t get me wrong, I had a genuine desire to express myself as GOD has created me. But to “keep it real”, without the economical incentive, I may have never gotten over the hump from a thought to actually doing.
Nevertheless, regardless of how I got here the fact is that I am here. And I couldn’t be prouder for making the decision. The experience has been surprisingly empowering. My smile is a little bigger and my head is raised a bit higher. And yes, I know it’s not my natural hair giving me special powers. Lol can you imagine (Natural Woman!!). I think it’s simply being able to step out of my comfort zone that gave me the ability to say “hey I accept myself as I am” and THAT had a reflective effect on my self-image.
But I wouldn’t be telling the whole truth if I didn’t share how loving my kinkiness has come with its own set of challenges along the way. What challenges you ask, well…
–Like many young girls of color, my mother started straightening my hair when I was young. The idea of caring for my natural hair was foreign to me and I had to get reacquainted with my hair texture
–Although, natural hair care is suppose to be more cost effective, when you’re not knowledgeable of taking care of your hair you still end up spending money on services and products. And depending on where you go, natural hair services can cost more than regular services.
–Textured hair comes in many different curl patterns, I learned the hard way. Oh yea, I’m a mix of 4B and 4C texture
–Contrary to popular belief, kinkier hair is more prone to tangling and breakage. Making it more sensitive than any other hair texture
–Last but not least, HAIR SHRINKAGE!!!! (this is when moisture comes into contact and hair retracts from its elongated state to a tighter curl pattern.)
All in all, it took some trial and error. But ultimately after lots of patience I learned to care and LOVE my hair. I adore my curl pattern, my thickness and the styling versatility.
This is a decision I’m glad I made. One thing that has become abundantly clear to me is that everyone has an opinion about hair. Whether natural, chemically treated, weaved-up or whatever — do what makes YOU happy.
I’m proud to be an Afro-Latina. This is who I am – every kinky, thick, curly part of me.
Written by: Paola Gonzalez
Under Her Brim extends special Thanks to Black Latina Movement for permission to share this with our readers!