Thursday, February 28, 2008

An Additional Journey

Anyone who knows me knows that I am going through several transitions in life at the of them my hair. It's not necessarily been a hard challenge or transition, but not an easy one either. I thought for years (and I do mean years) about going natural (stop using relaxers). Well, I finally took the plunge about 4 months ago. Although I have not gotten a relaxer in 4 months, I am a bit skeptical about cutting off the portion of my hair that is still relaxed. Why?

* I've never had really short hair (not sure that I would look right)
* It's taken a long time for it to get to the length it is (lower-back)
* Social acceptance
* Deep down (I don't want to believe this really), what if the fellas don't like it.

Okay, so there is the list (somewhat partial). However, I think that the main reason is social acceptance. At the young age of 7 my family moved from Philadelphia to the suburbs of South Jersey. One being extremely predominately black and the other extremely predominately white. South Jersey was so much so that I was the only black student in my classes until I reached the 7th grade, and out of a graduating high school class of 700, there were at the most about 45 blacks (including those that were mixed, latino and other). Let's do the math...that is less than one percent. On one end I was getting comments like, "Why do you always wear your hair in braids.", "Your hair is so thick and it doesn't lay straight." Those were just the hair comments. Nevermind the other comments like, "Oh my don't shave your legs?" Now, I don't know about women in other areas, but in Philly, the women I knew (black women) were oh natural. I even knew/know men that think that hairy legs are sexy, but perhaps that is a Philly thing (or just some of the people I knew/know thing). Anyhow, on the other end (Philly side) I would get, "You talk like a white girl.", "You act like a white girl."... whatever those statements are supposed to mean. I got comments like that for years and still do for the most part; although now it is just stated and then overlooked. I have come into my own (with the "You sound/act white) statements and know how to handle them now.

But, I am not so sure about the hair. I am choosing to go natural becuase natural is the way that God made me, and the curls (as tight as they are) are quite adorable. I don't all will be on the journey with me, hearing me rant about it every now and again. For now, I have come to the conclusion that I will transition until I am moved to cut off the relaxed portion.

(pre-natural days)

(2 months natural)
(4 month ponytail)

Pearls of Wisdom:
Everyone has the obligation to ponder well his own specific traits of character. He must also regulate them adequately and not wonder whether someone else's traits might suit him better. The more definitely his own a man's character is, the better it fits him. -Cicero

Who's character traits are you trying on besides your own?


Lovebabz said...

I made the decision many many years ago to stop perming my hair. I wore it short---back in the days of high top fades...yes I had one! Then I let my hair grow out for twists to turn into locs. My hair is to my butt now and I am contemplating cutting it all off. I turn 45 in May and I am thinking a fresh start! I am seriously thinking fresh start!

Indie Airie sang it best...I am not my hair!

Anonymous said...

Girl, I've been here before.

I say do you...if you don't like it you can always go back to the chemicals. I did find that many black men were not as into me with natural hair as they were with a relaxed coif. I also found that men of other races and nationalities were more so into me with the tight do.

That's why it is not the best idea to base such decisions on others. We can never please everyone all of the time - ourselves included.

The Artist In Me said...

lovebabz: absolutely, I am not my hair. However, I wish that others and sometimes me myself would take a good hold to that statement.

cocoa girl: not pleasing everyone at all times...what does that mean? LOL! I am a people pleaser at heart, but learning quickly that I can't please everyone all the time...not even myself.